UPDATE Jan 07/10: Gary McHale now has transcripts of officers’ testimony – including from Commissioner Fantino – confirming/supporting various statements in this article. Journalists should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have questions, or contact me at email@example.com.
UPDATED 1415 EST Jan 20/09
On November 26/08 OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino testified under oath that Gary McHale had not been charged with any crime prior to Dec 01/07 because the OPP had no evidence to support such a charge. He also testified, after being shown a video of Clyde Powless attacking Gary McHale from behind on Dec 01/07, that he could not tell what Powless was doing.
Fantino blames innocent victim of assault by ‘peacemaker’ Powless
Less than two weeks later, on Dec 05/08, Fantino lied to a St. Catharines court when Clyde Powless’s lawyer presented to the court a character reference from the Commissioner dated Dec 04/08 that – unbelievably – praised Powless as a “peace-maker” while at the same time calling the innocent victim of Powless’s cowardly assault – Gary McHale – a ‘mischief maker,’ falsely blaming him not only for most of Caledonia’s troubles, but also for the assault that sent him to hospital. Here are some quotes from Fantino’s email:
“Much of the conflict, confrontation and provocation has occurred during the times that Mr. Gary McHale and his followers have converged on Caledonia that invariably resulted in hightened tensions and conflict…”
“Iam not making excuses or apologies for Mr. Powless’s actions…and with respect, the Honourable Court may wish to consider the volatility of the situation and provocation that simply could have been avoided but for the presence of Mr. McHale and his like minded followers.”
“…I wish to advise the Honourable Court that on a number of occasions Mr. Powless has been instrumental in diffusing serious conflict and confrontation during which times he has actually been the peace-maker.”
Fantino character reference for Clyde Powless, Dec 04/08: presented to court, Dec 05/08
Clyde ‘Peacemaker’ Powless?
Readers can judge for themselves who is the peacemaker and who is the mischief-maker via the links below.
In addition to video evidence clearly showing Powless leading a cowardly, vicious and unprovoked swarming attack on Gary McHale, OPP documents (see Section 1 of PSA complaint above) show that Powless was supposed to be charged for assaulting Const. Greg Moses, but someone made the charge go away.
Not only did Powless get a free pass for assaulting officers, the OPP refused to charge a single native for assaulting OPP officers on Dec 1/07. Even when other natives trying to get through an OPP roadblock deliberately hit an officer twice with a van and then pushed him and his partner out of the way when he threatened to pull his weapon, no charges were laid (see Section 1 of PSA complaint above). When I asked Sgt. Sloan to charge the natives who attacked me on Dec 1/07 I was told to ‘Get back!’ When McHale tried to lay charges for the attacks on OPP officers, the Crown argued against him (He is appealing via judicial review). Not a single native was arrested for any of the numerous assaults committed against peaceful non-native protesters as they were being committed; even the man who was charged (and later acquitted) for the first attack on McHale – Steve Powless – was pulled off McHale by an officer and then released.
To add insult to injury, 5 months after Powless’s assaults on Gary McHale and OPP officers Fantino was photographed sharing a joke with both Powless and Floyd Montour, leader of other illegal occupations in Haldimand County. According to his own testimony on Nov 26/08 however, Fantino has never met with (peaceful!) non-native protesters.
Crown misleads Court re Powless assault
McHale advises that the judge asked the Crown if he had any evidence to support Gary’s statement that Powless pushed his way through police officers to get at him to which the Crown said, ‘No.’ McHale says he was especially angry because this same Crown was the one who tried to keep him from laying charges against Clyde Powless for assaulting OPP officers. He was, therefore, well aware of the video evidence backing up McHale’s claim. During a break McHale confronted the Crown and asked to take the stand. His request was denied, but the Crown did hand over a copy of Fantino’s character reference for the man who attacked him.
McHale provides a more detailed account of the Crown’s inept handling of the case against Powless in his Dec 17/08 column in the Regional News This Week. The column is reprinted on his website since the Regional News is not online:
- Regional News This Week, Dec 17/08: Commissioner Fantino is character witness for Clyde Powless
Crown drops Mischief charge vs. Powless
Not only did the Commissioner of the OPP and other officers provide references for Powless at the expense of McHale, the Crown dropped the Mischief charge against Powless for his role in blocking Argyle Street on Dec 1/07 with a hydro tower. The reason – the time and expense of the trial would not be in the public interest. Apparently, however, the expense of persecuting McHale for merely suggesting (allegedly) that other residents help block an already-blocked road IS in the public interest.
- Voice of Canada, Nov 27/08: Fantino testimony at McHale trial: what the media didn’t report
- Voice of Canada category: Caledonia – Dec 01/07
This isn’t the first time the Crown has dropped charges against natives involved in illegal occupations. When Gary McHale had a total of 9 charges of Mischief, Extortion and Intimidation certified against Floyd and Ruby Montour (see link below) the Crown dropped the Extortion and Intimidation charges (under appeal by McHale).
- VoC, July 08/08: July 08/08 – the day ordinary citizens took back Ontario
McHale fights back against Fantino slurs
Fantino and the OPP under his leadership have done their very best over the past two years to rewrite history to shift blame for Caledonia’s woes from violent native extremists to the peaceful non-natives who have stood against racially-based policing practiced by the force. Fantino’s attempt to shift blame from a violent criminal onto a man who has only ever advocated and used peaceful, democratic methods is the latest in a long list of smear attempts by Fantino on the character of Gary McHale and those who have stood with him:
- Police Services Act complaint, April 02/07: Vandermaas v Fantino
- Police Services Act complaint, May 30/08: Vandermaas-McHale-Parkinson v. Fantino (see Section 3)
- Police Services Act complaint, April 16/07: McHale v Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
- Vandermaas notice to Fantino (lawsuit filed, pre-trial conference scheduled for Feb 17/09)
- McHale notice to Fantino (lawsuit filed)
Despite every attempt we have made to hold the Commissioner accountable for his false statements about us, he has persisted in doing so, and the McGuinty government has allowed him to do so. Not one complaint against Fantino has ever been investigated, despite the serious nature of the allegations. It is this irrational persistence in misleading the public by Fantino and his government handlers that finally prompted Gary McHale to send a letter to Fantino yesterday (Jan 15/09) demanding that he agree to never again use the phrase ‘mischief maker’ in regards to him or CANACE. If Fantino refuses to agree McHale intends to use an Order of Mandamus to compel him to do so:
- McHale letter to Fantino, Jan 15/09: Request to cease use of phrase ‘mischief maker’
Note that it was an Order of Mandamus that Jeff Parkinson – with assistance from McHale – used to force a new hearing into his private prosecution of two OPP officers. The decision – a great read, by the way – was released by Judge Marshall on Jan 12/09:
- Voice of Canada, Jan 19/09: Victory in Cayuga Court for CANACE founders
- CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com feature: ‘Parkinson v. R. 2008’
Caledonia fights back at Fantino’s attempt to rewrite history
Caledonia resident and business person Ken Hewitt didn’t appreciate OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino’s attempt to portray as a ‘peacemaker’ the man who has played a key role in victimizing his town for the past 3 years, so he wrote an open letter to Fantino and, with the help of Dave Brown, launched a petition to force McGuinty to suspend the Commissioner and call an inquiry into the OPP’s handling of Caledonia due to its “following of the flawed results and recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry.”
On several occasions, to hear you comment on the ongoing costs of policing in Caledonia, and that it is not related to your inability as Commissioner to contain the criminal elements that still continue to exist, but to lay blame on those that choose to challenge you and the government of Ontario, how you have let the community of Caledonia down in what I would call an abysmal failure of leadership.
Most of all, however it is this most recent letter of support that you submitted in defense of Clyde Powless, that has finally brought me to this point in writing you, along with petitioning for your resignation as Commissioner of what was once known as an exceptional police force the OPP.
You were not there that day that Clyde Powless lead the protestors to block Argyle road for a month, you were not there when on his direction, the same road was dug up, you were not there when Clyde Powless and his associates specifically told me three days prior to the hydro station being destroyed, that should there be any resistance from the people of Caledonia, that the services such hydro or water could be targeted.
Instead, you allow your personal conflict with Gary McHale to cloud your judgement, and as such use your position of power to sway the courts in seeing Mr. Powless as a good man, a man who cares about his neighbors, and a man that would do everything to diffuse tense situations rather than the truth as already mentioned.
Ken Hewitt, Dec 26/08: exerpts from ‘Open Letter to the Commissioner Julian Fantino’
So far the petition has been signed by about 1,500 people so far including MPP Toby Barrett, MP Diane Finley and at least three members of Haldimand Council – Craig Grice, Buck Sloat and Leroy Bartlett.
- Ken Hewitt, Dec 26/08: Open Letter to Commissioner Julian Fantino
- CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com feature: Petition download page
- Dunnville Chronicle, Jan 17/08: Petition asks for inquiry into Fantino and OPP (4 paras quoting Mary-Lou LaPratte from Ipperwash)
- The Sachem, Jan 09/08: New petition calls for Fantino inquiry REPRINT
- Dunnville Chronicle, Dec 24/08: Caledonia residents launch petition for Fantino’s resignation
You can help the victims of OPP racial policing in Haldimand!
You can help restore justice to the victims of race-based policing in Haldimand County: download a PDF copy of the Hewitt/Brown petition, have your friends and family sign it and then send it to CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade at the address shown at the bottom of the form. There is on online version, but it has no legal effect for the purposes of presentation to the Ontario Legislature.
A Facebook page has also been started for the petition.
Voice of Canada would like to thank Ken Hewitt and Dave Brown for organizing the petition, as well as all the people and politicians who have signed their names to it. I especially appreciate the references to the Ipperwash Inquiry in the petition (and the quoting of Mary-Lou LaPratte by Karen Best in her Jan 17/09 article) because we have been trying to expose the dreadful link between the inquiry’s suppression of evidence and Caledonia’s misery ever since releasing our Ipperwash Papers project at Queen’s Park on March 14/07:
- Voice of Canada feature: The Ipperwash Papers
- The Ipperwash Papers: www.ipperwashpapers.ca
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Voice of Canada