Pile of BS #1: A tale of two Hamilton Spectator stories
Here are links to two PDF versions of Spectator stories about the Caledonia Militia:
- Version 1, June 16/09: Caledonia residents create milita
- Version 2, June 16/09: Caledonia farmer caught between militia, natives
You might be forgiven for thinking these are two different stories with two different titles with two different links, and that Version 2 was a fresh, new story published after the Spec gathered more information.
In other words, you’d think you could go to the Spec today and read both stories and compare the differences in the two. And if you (i.e. VoiceofCanada) posted a link to Version 1, you’d think that your readers would be reading the same story you linked them to.
But you’d be wrong.
Spec pulls switcheroo on Milita story
I discovered yesterday that the Hamilton Spectator had changed the entire story about the Caledonia Militia and given it a new title without creating a separate story with a unique link. This means that if you clicked on the VoC link to the story I thought I was posting you actually got the new one without ever knowing that the entire story had been changed. It’s as if the original Spec story (Version 1) never existed at all. Instead of a fair, balanced story about the reasons for the creation of Doug’s militia, unsuspecting readers only read the dramatically altered version that makes it seem as though Doug was responsible for victimizing poor Ernie Palmer and smokeshack operator Steve Powless.
Now that you’ve read the PDF version of Version 1 (link above) so you know it actually did exist, click on this link to the html version of story on the Spec’s server and see what you get (assuming they haven’t changed it again). How about that?
Instead of ‘Caledonia residents create militia’ you get, ‘Caledonia farmer caught between militia, natives – Says goodwill deal to remove smokeshack destroyed.’ In other words, the Spectator wiped out the historically important story that focused on the very important issue of why Doug and others feel that a militia is necessary, and replaced it with one that paints Doug Fleming as the villain who rashly decided to form a militia unit solely because of Ernie’s predicament – as though Ernie was the only person in all of Haldimand who had ever been victimized by native criminals during the past three years.
Let’s look at some key differences between the two stories:
A. Version 1 contains these references to Toby Barrett’s letter to McGuinty regarding the smokeshack on Ernie’s property:
“MPP Toby Barrett has told Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty the occupation of a chunk of private farmland on Highway 6 south of the town is “without precedent.”
“In his letter to McGuinty [regarding the placement of an illegal smokeshack on Ernie’s property], Barrett said citizens have government for a reason. “We have law for a reason,” he said. “It is unacceptable and dangerous for government to abdicate responsibility and put this situation in the hands of private citizens.”
Version 2 omits the key references to the fact that an MPP was just as outraged as Doug was about the actions of Powless.
B. Version 1 contains this reference to OPP Inspector Dave McLean’s assurances to Council regarding the smokeshack on Ernie’s property:
“But police told Haldimand Council Monday night that there was no intimidation in the smoke shack move. The Grand River Sachem reports that OPP Inspector Dave McLean said the owner agreed to it going up.””
Version 2, however, makes it clear that Ernie did NOT agree to the smokeshack, but the Spec doesn’t think the apparent contradiction between the OPP’s statement and their new story was worth exploring:
“A Caledonia farmer upset that some natives have erected a smoke shack in his front yard is now furious that townsfolk have proposed a militia in part to protect him.”
“”Palmer is awaiting a letter from his insurance company that voids his policy and saddles him with dangerous liability, and plans to show it to smoke shack operators, he said. Palmer is hoping they will respect that McLean said, and if they don’t, then it will be placed in the hands of the county and the OPP.”
But, didn’t Version 1 report that the OPP told Council that Ernie ‘agreed’ to the smokeshack going up? Sure doesn’t sound like he did to me. I wonder why the Spec didn’t pick up on this obvious red flag while it was deleting Version 1 of its story?
Spectator has shown a lack of support for Caledonia’s victims
To the best of my knowledge, the Spectator has never once taken an editorial stand against the violence and crimes committed against the innocent people in Caledonia or against racial policing. The Toronto Star has. The St. Catharines Standard has. The National Post has. But not the Spectator.
It was the Spec that published Fantino’s bizzaro rantings about Gary McHale and his followers back in Nov 2007 while refusing to allow us to respond.
It was the Spec that refused several requests to meet with them to review our evidence regarding the Ipperwash cover-up.
More recently, it was the Spec that didn’t think it newsworthy to report Fantino’s testimony under oath that, prior to Dec 01/07 (the day natives attacked police and peaceful protesters at an illegal smokeshack), the OPP had NO evidence to support any criminal charge against Gary McHale.
And, it was the Spec who couldn’t even be bothered to send a reporter to hear the testimony of OPP officer Jeffrey Bird later that week when he acknowledged that racial policing does exist in Haldimand.
The Spectator has been fairly consistent in giving the true victims of Haldimand the cold shoulder while allowing themselves to be used by those who distribute nonsensical propaganda as was done in Version 2.
Pile of BS #2: The Caledonia Militia is coming to ‘lynch’ Steve Powless
Version 2: “When they started talking ‘Caledonia Militia’ it reminded me of lynching parties down South,” he said. They’re not different than the damned KKK (Klu Klux Klan). I’m not going to turn tail and run. ..if the militia is coming after me, then let’s see them.
These outrageous accusations are made by the very man who threatened a terror campaign of violence against the people of Brantford:
“They’re going to have one hell of a fight now,” said Steve Powless, who spoke on behalf of the protesters. “This is going to be Caledonia Part 2. They don’t understand what they’re in for.”
Brantford Expositor, July 14/08: ‘They don’t understand what they’re in for,’ native says [PDF]
“They [Brantford Police] just have a little rinky-dink force,” Powless said. “I don’t know how they’re going to stop us.”
Hamilton Spectator/Canadian Press, July 14/08: Aboriginal protesters in Brantford vow ‘one hell of a fight’ after arrest [PDF]
There is indeed a racist supremacist in this story, but it isn’t Doug Fleming and the residents of Caledonia. It’s a gangster named Steve Powless from whom innocent people need the full protection of the law due to his sociopathic disregard for the rights of other human beings who don’t belong to right race of people. After all, as we shall see later, not only does Brantford belong to him, but so does every other property in Haldimand.
Pile of BS #3: Ernie Palmer ‘agreed’ to allow an illegal smokeshop on his property
As noted above Version 2 makes it clear that Ernie did NOT agree to allow an illegal, criminal enterprise to be placed on his property nor does he want it there. The story contains this quote:
“About a week ago, Ohsweken resident Steve (Boots) Powless, 44, decided to set up a smoke shack on Palmer’s land to call attention to ongoing land claim disputes. He called up Palmer and let him know he was coming.”
Doesn’t sound like Ernie had much of a choice to me.
Furthermore, Doug spent several hours speaking with Ernie discussing the issue prior to announcing his militia idea – a fact that was either not reported by the Spec or not mentioned by Ernie during his interview with them. We can choose to believe Steve Powless (the guy who set up a criminal enterprise on Ernie’s land) and the OPP (who have made lying to the public and subverting the rights of non-native property owners an art form) or we can believe that Doug Fleming acted in an honourable way consistent with the truth as he understood it after speaking with Ernie.
I choose to believe Doug Fleming.
Pile of BS #4: Steve Powless was going to respect Ernie’s request to move his smoke shack until Doug screwed up the deal
According to Version 2 Ernie is now saying the guy who offered to help him (Doug Fleming) is the problem because the nice native man who illegally built a criminal enterprise on his property promised to remove it in a few days, and now he won’t because the KKK is coming after him to lynch him and he wasn’t about to run away from his illegal business. Sure. Right. One excuse is as good as another, I suppose, but I think the truth is clearly revealed in this Powless gem:
“”This here is stolen land,” Powless said today, sitting inside a car parked next to a little white trailer box where he sells discount cigarettes.”
After everything that has happened in Haldimand County, if anyone actually believes that Steve Powless was ever going to abandon a criminal enterprise located on land he thinks he reclaimed in honour of native people everywhere (so he can sell tax-free contaminated cigarettes to children at a profit) I’ve got some swamp land in Florida for you.
Besides, if Powless was going to remove the shack, why is there a new set of stairs attached to the front whereas before it used to stand on concrete blocks? Top photo was taken June 11/09, bottom photo on or before June 16/09.
Version 2: “Powless said he was ready to pack up and leave when Fleming put out his call to form the militia.”
Fleming’s announcement was only made late in the evening on June 14th, so Powless didn’t have much time to get the shack off the blocks and the stairs built. I would suggest that the was done before Doug ever made his announcement, and that Powless never intended to honour his agreement to remove it.
Doug was interviewed on CHTV today and pointed out to Lawrence Diskin and Donna Skelly that between the time he spoke with Ernie Palmer and the time he announced the Caledonia Militia Steve Powless had erected signs to announce his new ‘business.’ Obviously, the claim that Doug squirrelled the deal was just one big pile of steaming bullshit. Gee, who could have known!
The real question the Spec should have asked is why Fleming would be the bad guy because someone used him as an excuse to refuse to stop committing crimes on Palmer’s property? That’s like a bank robber saying, gee I was going to stop robbing the bank in a little while, but because Citizen Doug got involved I’m going to keep on breaking the law. People can believe that Ernie Palmer is complaining about Doug out of his own free will, or they can believe he has been intimidated. Which is more likely?
Version 1: “But police told Haldimand Council Monday night that there was no intimidation in the smoke shack move. The Grand River Sachem reports that OPP Inspector Dave McLean said the owner agreed to it going up.””
Version 2: “The OPP have not received any complaint from him of intimidation, extortion or threats in any way. In fact, he indicated he was not afraid for his safety and he wants to be left alone.”
The OPP say that there was no intimidation of Ernie Palmer. Let’s see now…you live in Caledonia and have seen three years of native aggression against property owners – aided and abetted by the OPP who illegally refuse to enforce the law against the criminals or remove them from occupied properties. You then get a call from the guy with a history of being involved in ugly, violent events whose main claim to fame is that he threatened to turn Brantford into another Caledonia.
The guy who has such little respect for the law and other people that he openly threatens to terrorize an entire town tells you he’s coming to put up a smoke shack on your property – and then does it.
Can anyone, including the OPP, actually say with a straight face that Ernie wasn’t intimidated and that he had the option to say no? This kind of nonsense is why people don’t trust the OPP anymore.
Pile of BS #6: The Caledonia Militia was formed to protect one person
The Caledonia Militia will take at least a month or so to be fully organized. Yes, after speaking with Ernie Palmer, he believed that the placement of the shack on private property was, as Toby Barrett said, “unprecedented,” and that it was done without permission. Nothing changes that. The land IS private property and clearly it WAS occupied without permission and the owner DOES want it gone. The occupation of private property for the purposes of criminal activity represents a clear and present danger to ALL landowners in Haldimand, Brantford and elsewhere in Ontario and must be opposed for the good of society as a whole – NOT just for Ernie Walker.
If Walker wants help if/when the OPP refuse to help him I’m sure Doug’s group will do so. If not, then Walker is on his own, and that, of course, is just what the thugs want. What they are truly frightened of though, is that their victims should unite and mobilize against them.
Pile of BS #7: Residents are doing something wrong by organizing to protect the rule of law in their community
I and the other of founders of CANACE have always supported the residents of Caledonia in whatever means they choose to oppose racial policing and native extremism so long as it is done within the law.
The Criminal Code gives property owners the right to protect themselves
A. The Criminal Code gives property owners the right to remove trespassers, and there is no reason why they must submit to being victimized if they choose not to remain so, as so carefully explained in 1536412 Ontario v. HDI in which the judge rebuked the OPP for threatening a property owner with arrest, and chastised the Ontario government for putting them into an impossible position in the first place:
- VoC feature: Caledonia Lawsuits (see 1536412 Ontario Ltd. v. HDI)
The Rule of Law is supreme over all other rights
B. As cited by the judge in John Voortman v. HMF, the Preamble to the Canadian Constitution declares that the Rule of Law takes precedence over all other rights – including those of Aboriginals:
84] Before I conclude I would like to emphasize the rule of law. All people in Canada are governed by the rule of law as confirmed in the preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 The rule of law means that the HMF will be required to obey any court order, just as any person in Canada would be required to obey a court order. The assertion of an aboriginal right does not permit any person, aboriginal or otherwise, to break the law.
The province and federal governments are violating the principles of the UN
C. The United Nations has taken a strong position regarding the rule of law, and the sad reality is that the OPP, Ontario and Canada are all in violation of that position:
It’s time for Canada and Ontario and the OPP to respect the Rule of Law.
What is the most reasonable explanation?
A. that an old man willingly allowed his property to become another blight on the Caledonia landscape of illegal tobacco when Powless told him he was coming to build his shack, but suddenly changed his mind and asked Powless to leave after it was built. And that Powless, reasonable man that he is, agreed to do so after drinking coffee, but it was Doug Fleming’s militia idea that made him decide to continue his illegal business of selling cigarettes despite the owner’s wishes.
B. that Ernie was threatened and intimidated by the same guy who threatened to destroy Brantford. By the same guy who punched Gary McHale in the head on Dec 01/07. By the same guy who participated in the illegal occupation at Stirling where Sam Gualtieri was almost murdered. That he had no intention of removing the shack. And that his actions were consistent with every other illegal act committed by native protesters during the past three years.
I choose to believe…
I choose to believe Doug Fleming, and I choose to believe that Ernie Palmer was bullied by a man with a track record of acting like a bully.
Proponents of native extremism have benefitted from the Spectator’s revision of history
As for the Spectator, I don’t have a problem with reporting the facts as they did in Version 2. I DO have a problem with them erasing/rewriting history in a way that has already benefited those who gleefully spread propaganda in support of the intimidation of Caledonia’s residents by native extremists. Finally, I also have a problem with the Spec’s lack of focus on the rights of victims.
Nothing has changed – the militia is needed more than ever
Nothing has changed – natives situated a criminal enterprise on private property without permission and refuse to move it despite the request of the owner. The OPP seems to have misled Council as to whether the owner consented. Meanwhile, Powless and his supporters trot out their sleazy ‘KKK/white supremacist/racists’ accusations against those who dare to stand up to their illegal behaviour. This whole stinking mess demonstrates, more than ever, why the militia is needed to protect other landowners.
Doug Fleming has proven himself a bonafide Caledonia hero, and I fully support him and anyone else who chooses to aid a fellow resident/property owner who chooses not to be a victim so long as they act within the law.
P.S. Don’t forget, Doug’s holding a meeting next Tuesday, June 23 at the Cayuga Lions Hall at 7pm. Be prepared to be surprised.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
- VoC feature: Our Struggle
- VoC, June 16/09: Revisionist BS piles up in Caledonia
- VoC, June 14/09: Caledonia Militia seeks volunteers to defend Haldimand property owners
- VoC, June 11/09: Native build smoke shack on private property in Caledonia