CUPE 3903 protests in support of organized crime

UPDATE July 27/10: On July 14/10 the Six Nations newspaper Tekawennake published the first of two ‘clarifications’ and an op-ed series which make it clear the paper had NO evidence that Mark Vandermaas (VoC), Gary McHale, Merlyn Kinrade and Doug Fleming were associated with white supremacist groups:

  • Tekawennake News op-ed series, July 14-21/10: Healing Two Communities [PDF, 7p] (complete series)

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by Jeff Parkinson

Admittedly when I first heard that Tom Keefer was bringing a bus load of people to protest against the Caledonia Peacekeepers in Cayuga last night, I wasn’t sure what to think. This is a union after all so I anticipated something different from the usual racist, bigoted, ignorant crowd that gathers in small numbers to protest against law & order in Caledonia. Fortunately I’m not afraid to admit it when I’m wrong and I was very wrong.

Tom Keefer brought with him a motley crew of crazies that made Forrest Gump look like a Rhodes Scholar. Listening to Keefer being interviewed on CFRB on the drive to Cayuga, I began to understand a bit about the level of delusion this guy has as he rambled about the need for Canada to stop trying to give Six Nations money as compensation and instead hand over our land to them.

Click here to read the rest of this story by Jeff Parkinson.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
VoiceofCanada
info@voiceofcanada.ca

References

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2 responses to “CUPE 3903 protests in support of organized crime

  1. First of all I want to express my concern for the youth who were outside the Lions hall that night. They were much like child soldiers, not really connected to what was going on inside but confused and alienated by the rally, which they also didn’t understand. It seemed cowardly for the organizers to leave them out there holding their Canadian flag facing 200 strangers. Then again, maybe the less they were “educated” by the militia organizers the better.

    It saddens me that these situations end up being so polarized, with no chance of dialogue. But it is hard to love enough to counter so much hate and fear. I feel ashamed that I felt unable to reach out to these children and feel much admiration for a couple of women who did manage to get across the street, past the police, and have some good conversation with them. I also would welcome conversation with you.

    You made some disparaging comments about the intellectual abilities of those present at the rally and obviously have a lot of scorn for those who think differently than yourself. This saddens me too. I do not claim to be exceptionally intelligent, but I don’t believe that means my perspective is not valid. I’m trying to walk the best way I can and live my faith in humankind and our Creator. I don’t believe any of us are beyond redemption.

    Over the past year I have been trying to learn more about the situation in Caledonia and by no means consider myself an expert. As an aquaintance once wrote about the situation in Palestine/Israel there are not two sides to the story, there are two stories. Have you listened to the other story in this situation? I realize it can be hard when you’re deeply engaged to draw back enough to listen to the other, but I think it would benefit you deeply.
    In peace,
    Christine

    VoC REPLY: You do sound like a caring person so let me try to respond in kind by addressing your points one by one and in detail. Before I do, I should point out that this story was not written by me, but I endorse it even if it is a little ‘edgy’ on the Forest Gump thing – clearly a fictional character who came out on top irrespective of his disability. Jeff Parkinson, the author, has some sympathy for Mr. Gump – he suffered a brain injury that still affects him today after being thrown to the ground when Gary McHale was swarmed by native smokeshack supporters on Dec 01/07 in an unprovoked attack. While he was on the ground unconscious, the natives were telling people tending to him to get out of the way so they could ‘finish him off’ while others were yelling ‘get him’ and ‘kill him’ while Gary was being swarmed. And on that cheery note, let’s begin:

    CHRISTINE: First of all I want to express my concern for the youth who were outside the Lions hall that night. They were much like child soldiers, not really connected to what was going on inside but confused and alienated by the rally, which they also didn’t understand. It seemed cowardly for the organizers to leave them out there holding their Canadian flag facing 200 strangers. Then again, maybe the less they were “educated” by the militia organizers the better.

    VoC: ‘Child Soldiers’? – come on Christine. A little over the top, don’t you think? The youth you refer to were not invited or brought by members of the organizers of the presentation or the attendees. They were neighbourhood kids curious to see what was going on. No, we aren’t ‘cowardly’ – we don’t use children as propaganda tools and instruments of violence the way native protesters do.

    References: McGuinty’s Ipperwash Cover-up: the Caledonia Legacy (see citation #4 re Ipperwash Inquiry description of 14 yr old Harley George driving a bus load of children through the main gate as a diversion for the main attack on the base)

    ‘Thanks to Six Nations women for helping to expose racial policing during highway protest.’ See link to Spec story about how 2 children were used by women to help block a lane of traffic on major highways between Hamilton and Brantford.

    Besides, were they in some danger from those nice people you say I have insulted?

    CHRISTINE: You made some disparaging comments about the intellectual abilities of those present at the rally and obviously have a lot of scorn for those who think differently than yourself.

    VoC: I have a lot of scorn, not for those whose intellectual abilities are different, or for those who think differently, but for those who use their intellect to deliberately spread disgusting lies, falsehoods and repugnant accusations against me and my associates who have only ever advocated a peaceful path to opposing the victimization of innocent people by native extremists; who have spoken out on behalf of the native victims of racial policing.

    Gary McHale speech: Media Fails Residential Schools & Caledonia: ’Remember Us’ March, Oct 08/07, VIDEO 29.40 mins

    Mark Vandermaas speech: Natives are victims of Two Tier Justice: given at Oct 08/07 ‘Remember Us’ protest, Caledonia Lions Park VIDEO 18.29 mins

    When such people deliberately smear my name and the names of other good people all in support of those who have used violence against innocents then I must truly wonder if they do suffer from some kind of delusions or warped agenda. Otherwise, how else to explain their contempt for the suffering of Caledonians?

    When people who have clearly sided with those who commit violence and extortion and intimidation show up with the flag of organized crime (Mohawk Warriors) and the logo of a terrorist group on a T-shirt (Tamil Tigers) to make ridiculous accusations that we are white supremacists/KKK despite all evidence to the contrary, then I think it’s legitimate to question their sanity, their motives and their critical thinking skills.

    Their thinking is so twisted as to be beyond belief. We haven’t made racist statements, therefore we must be racists?!? Some other hateful site comments on our message of equality and peaceful means of protest?!? This is what passes for evidence in your/their world?

    There were definitely racists in Cayuga on June 23rd. No doubt about it. 100% Guaranteed. They were those who believe that people born with white skin are incapable of learning and applying the lessons of Dr. King. They were those who openly spoke of violence, who openly support those who have used violence, who have adopted the dogma that one’s race determines one’s right to use violence and crime to dominate other human beings.

    I have listened to Dr. King’s associates talk about how utterly in despair to the point of exhaustion he was that violence had broken out at one of his protests in Memphis. If King had come to Caledonia and had been in Cayuga on June 23rd he would have been disgusted by what he saw, what he heard and by those who clearly supported everything he had worked his whole life to oppose. Perhaps Malcolm X would have been quite at home on the back of that pickup truck, but Dr. King? Never.

    I’ll send you an email with a copy of Gary’s Regional News column for this week. I think you’ll like it.

    CHRISTINE: It saddens me that these situations end up being so polarized, with no chance of dialogue. But it is hard to love enough to counter so much hate and fear.

    Have you listened to the other story in this situation? I realize it can be hard when you’re deeply engaged to draw back enough to listen to the other, but I think it would benefit you deeply.

    VoC: Dr. King said that only love can cure hate, that only light can cure darkness, so yes, I agree with you. I don’t have time to explain it all now, but we have reached out to people of Six Nations many times and our hands have been slapped every single time. One of those we have reached out to later committed acts of violence against us that sent two of us to hospital. The question you should be asking is, how many times have native people reached out to us? Zero. Our hand has been outstretched for 3 years.

    As for ‘listening’ Tom Keefer was invited to listen and understand but arrogantly decided he didn’t need to. Instead, he deliberately and wilfully organized a campaign designed to incite hate against us with accusations he knew were false.

    Our meetings are open to everyone, and we have had native people come and listen to us speak of equality and respect for all human beings.

    We’re ready to talk to any native people who are ready to acknowledge that what has happened to Caledonia was wrong and wants to help. Reconciliation can never occur until the crimes stop and apologies are made. Canada apologized for Residential Schools. Six Nations needs to apologize for the suffering of the innocent people of Caledonia. Unfortunately, they don’t seem ready to hear that message let alone share it.

    The only message I’ve heard so far is: We were victims. We have land claims. White people are bad. We own North America. You should go back to Europe. To all this I reply: I’m sorry, but that doesn’t give you the right to create new victims. Take your claims to the court like everyone else. The rule of law protects all Canadians, native and non.

    I would argue that when native protesters use crime and violence in support of their goals it is actually they who help racist/supremacist organizations, and undermine our work in encouraging citizens to remain within the law.

    I’m actually amazed at how forgiving non-natives really are towards those who have victimized them. As I just told a Deseronto resident whose wife and baby were threatened by Shawn Brant’s gang, yet still holds out hope for some reconciliation, check out the material from our presentation to Brantford Council called ‘Reconciliation: the CANACE Path.’ See #15, the diagram.

    There is no other path to healing or reconciliation except through the rule of law and respect for the rights of all people irregardless of race or grievance. When anyone from Six Nations is ready to acknowledge that and wishes our help in furthering some meaningful healing, we’ll be there to help in any way we can.

    CHRISTINE: As an aquaintance once wrote about the situation in Palestine/Israel there are not two sides to the story, there are two stories. Have you listened to the other story in this situation?

    VoC: How about you tell me which ‘story’ native protesters would be able to tell which makes it OK to victimize other human beings? I couldn’t care less what their reasons are for beating a man nearly to death or traumatizing children in their homes or swarming old people or burning bridges.

    And, if you actually do believe it’s OK (I’m hoping not) to attack innocent people and their property would you be willing to donate YOUR father’s brain function to appease the extremists? Would you be willing to sell everything you own and give it to violent people to appease a debt you didn’t incur? Would you sell YOUR sister’s business, or give up YOUR brother’s property to ‘settle the debt’? Would YOU trade places with a girl whose mother tried to commit suicide because of the stress of living with native extremism at the door every day?

    CHRISTINE: I feel ashamed that I felt unable to reach out to these children and feel much admiration for a couple of women who did manage to get across the street, past the police, and have some good conversation with them. I also would welcome conversation with you.

    VoC: First of all, the police weren’t stopping anyone from walking across the street, just from blocking it or access to the Lions Hall. Please don’t give the wrong impression. Besides, given the stupid statements by Tom Keefer about people wanting to stop the meeting from taking place in the first place (such unmitigated disrespect for the Charter rights of others!) and how it wouldn’t be allowed in Toronto the police were well within their rights to keep Keefer and crew on the other side of the road.

    Given your organization (Christian Peacemaker Teams) and that you must be claiming to be a Christian I’m going to share something I haven’t told anyone publicly before.

    When I first met Gary McHale, I was a committed atheist, well maybe more of a wishful agnostic, perhaps. In my whole life I don’t think I’ve ever met a single Christian who I could look at and admire for their willingness to truly pay a price for other people to their own serious detriment. I never knew anyone who was willing to give up everything they had for other people. Outside of the military I never knew people who were willing to stand up and risk their safety, their freedom, their reputation, and their financial security to defend other human beings they didn’t even know.

    I got involved in Caledonia because I saw the rule of law itself under attack. I swore an oath to defend Canada as a soldier and the foundation of any democracy is the rule of law. That is why it is supreme in the Charter over all other rights (including Aboriginal). I got involved because I saw innocent people being sacrificed to politically-correct racial policing which touched a nerve with me because my parents lived in Nazi-occupied Holland and saw Jews taken away with the stars of David on their arms. I remember reading Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous poem about ‘no one was left to speak for me’ in my teens and it always resonated with me, but I didn’t become a committed activist until I was in jail after trying to raise the symbol of my country’s values.

    (I had the incredible honour of meeting Pastor Niemoller’s wife at a Holocaust Remembrance Week event in Nov 2007.)

    So, I was motivated by a sense of duty, patriotism and history, and I just assumed that Gary had the same motives. I was only partially right.

    Gary told me that personally, he thought racism was stupid, but as a Christian, he thought racism was evil and against the word of God. It was then I discovered that his motives for speaking out for the people of Caledonia was motivated by a deeply held religious belief that as a Christian he had a duty to speak out against injustice where he saw it irrespective of the price he had to pay to do it.

    As I worked with Gary over the past three years, I discovered that he attended seminary (he won top marks), authored Christian textbooks and preached in various churches. And I gradually got more and more of my questions answered.

    I once asked Gary why God would work through a non-believer like me. He told me to read Numbers 22. I learned that God can work through anyone or anything no matter how ‘stubborn’ they might be.

    In all the time I’ve known Gary, he has never proseletyzed, yet I was drawn to his strength, his unwavering commitment to persevere even though he was so viciously and cruelly vilified by those who did not want the light of day shone into their dark evil corners.

    I watched him lose his home because he cared more for others than himself. I watched him stand silent as people screamed filthy insults at him. I watched him beaten, attacked, swarmed, bleeding yet never once respond with a hateful word or a fist to those in the crowd who shouted out to kill him. I’ve watched him force a police commissioner to answer his questions about racial policing because he made a conscious choice that he would rather risk 5 years in jail for a charge that should never have been laid than miss an opportunity to call witness after witness at his own trial to expose the disgusting evils of racial policing for all to see.

    I was shamed at times by my own weakness that has at times led me to occasionally consider abandoning the exhausting struggle to restore the law to my country for financial reasons. The only reason I did not quit is because he refused to give up.

    It was Gary McHale who inspired me to challenge my own beliefs about God and Christianity. Through him I met a Caledonia resident who loaned me Lee Strobel’s books, ‘The Case for Faith,’ and ‘The Case for Christ’ that put me into the frightening position of wondering how I can know the truth, but not act on it by committing myself to someone who could have walked away from the pain, but sacrificed so much for so many. I’m not ready to call myself a Christian just yet because I’m just not good enough, or maybe – if I was honest – I just don’t want to admit that being a believer means I need to be a better human being (so I can use kinder words to describe those who defame my name, for example). But, the fact that I’m even asking the question is an extraordinary turnaround for me and it was only possible because of Gary McHale.

    I don’t want to give you the impression that Gary McHale is perfect. Far from it. Sometimes he seems arrogant. Sometimes he’s impatient. But, and here’s the thing: he always, always tries to do what he believes is right.

    You said you were ashamed because you didn’t get to talk to the young people. I can’t speak for Gary, but I respectfully (truly!) suggest that he might ask you to consider the possibility that you be ashamed for not ministering to the children of Caledonia without policing who were traumatized because they needed ‘passes’ from masked native protesters with guns just to go to school; for not ministering to the family of Sam Gualtieri who was nearly murdered by Six Nations protesters; for not ministering to Dave and Dana next to DCE who have lived a life of terror and trauma for 3 years; for not speaking out against the terrible injustices of racial policing; for associating yourself with an organized crime group that has engaged in Extortion and Intimidation; for allowing yourself to be used as an instrument of others who made a wilful decision to organize a national smear campaign against good people despite knowing that the evidence pointed to a far different conclusion.

    I have repeatedly expressed my sadness over the past years to Gary that not a single so-called Christian church or organization has openly stood against the violence and trauma in Caledonia. It reminds me of a quote from Gary’s Regional News column for this week that I proofed for him. You may recognize the author:

    “…the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being ‘disturbers of the peace’ and ‘outside agitators’ – but the Christians pressed on… Small in number, they were big in commitment…”

    I understand the desire to help the ‘underdog,’ the ‘victim.’ The only thing is, sometimes the underdog just isn’t who you think it is!

    CHRISTINE: Over the past year I have been trying to learn more about the situation in Caledonia and by no means consider myself an expert.

    VoC: You have a unique opportunity to learn from some ‘reluctant experts’ on Caledonia and, perhaps, about Ipperwash from the residents’ POV. You also have a unique opportunity to use your influence and contacts to help people on Six Nations to understand that violence against innocents is not the answer. To help them understand that respecting the rights of non-natives does not diminish them or their grievances.

    We’ve been at this full time for 2.5 years and you can read my resume and see our reference material here:

    CANACE reference feature: Race-Based Policing

    You can either pretend that racial policing doesn’t exist and Caledonia’s victims don’t matter, or you can seek to understand. Look, you’re the Christian, not me. You have eyes, do you not see? You have ears, do you not hear?

    I challenge you to read our report, ‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations‘ and not be moved. The people who called us filthy names in Cayuga want to deny what has happened and seek to silence the voices of their victims. After you’ve read THEIR story, let me know and I’ll set up a meeting with you, me and Gary. You want to open a door? Here’s your chance.

    I’ll be waiting just as I’ve been waiting and hoping for nearly 3 years.

    Regards, Mark

  2. Thank you for accepting my invitation for dialogue, Mark. I appreciate the thought and personal reflection that went into this response. While there is much that I disagree with there is also much that gives me hope and even inspiration. I appreciate your courage and conviction but am still convinced that in many ways you are misguided. I appreciate your reference to Numbers 22, especially as I feel a little like the donkey trying to speak what’s on my heart. I hope a little bit of it is intelligible.

    Yes, I call myself a Christian, but only by grace–I know I do not live up to this name. Still I try to live from my heart and I trust the guidance I find there (since I was a child I was taught that Jesus lives in my heart). I was drawn into the way of peacemaking when I read Luke 19: 41,42 about Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Your observation: “I never knew anyone who was willing to give up everything they had for other people. Outside of the military I never knew people who were willing to stand up and risk their safety, their freedom, their reputation, and their financial security to defend other human beings they didn’t even know” really resonates with me and is very close to the founding principles of CPT. In the early 80s Ron Sider asked, “What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?” Part of joining Christian Peacemaker Teams was knowing I could be called to sacrifice my life for peace.

    I also agree with McHale that racism is evil and against the will of God. Much of my life and work is committed to undoing racism. But I think we are using different definitions of racism. I think there is a big difference between racial prejudice and racism. Anyone can be prejudiced (people of color or whites) but racism requires a mixture of racial prejudice and power that only comes with white privilege. I don’t like to point to individuals and call them racist (one part of the rally that didn’t feel good to me) but I think as white people we each need to examine ourselves for the ways we benefit from our privileges. I’ve heard white people complain that Native folks get stuff that they don’t, but when you ask them if they’d like to go and live on a reserve usually they’ll say “are you out of your mind?” It doesn’t take a lot of research to realize that the standard of living for Native people in Canada is a lot lower on the whole than for white folks. There are statistics such as life expectancy, infant mortality rate, suicide rates and disease that confirm this. So I don’t believe we can call Indigenous people racist whatever their level of prejudice. They simply don’t have the power and privilege.

    I also want to clarify that I do not have contempt for the suffering of the people in Caledonia, far from it. It is terrible to live in an area of conflict and I feel very badly for the folks caught in the middle. There is nothing I want more than peace for that area. My fear is that forming a militia will incite violence and that people would respond out of anger and use more force than necessary in citizen arrests.

    Another statement I feel the need to counter is that the rule of law serves all Canadians equally. I wish that were so but from my experience racism is alive and well in the court system. The fact that our prisons are full of First Nations persons tells a long story of structural racism and inequality. I have also witnessed violent arrests of peaceful First Nations demonstrators in my work and witnessed a case where a First Nations leader was sentenced to six months in prison and a heavy fine when white folks who broke the same injunction were let off completely. (You might find some of the articles and reflections at cpt.org interesting.)

    I’ve had the privilege of learning from folks like Pastor Adrian Jacobs, a Six Nations educator from Brantford, and many others in intensive seminars and workshops. From what I understand the conflict is really with the provincial and federal government (or even with the Queen) not the people of Caledonia. Nor can the courts properly deal with conflicts of this kind. So I can in part understand your frustration at the impotence of the police and the whole justice system in this. It’s not their battle. I think we need to put pressure on a disinterested government to settle this justly and rapidly for the sake of everyone involved.

    in peace
    Christine

    VoC REPLY: I haven’t forgotten you Christine, I’m just swamped right now posting info regarding our victory in Superior Court yesterday and cataloguing evidence to file legal actions against those responsible for CUPE’s KKK smear campaign against us. I have some questions for you based on the important issues you’ve raised, so I’m hoping to give you a response by midnight. If not, it will have to wait until next week because I owe my wife some undivided attention which requires turning the computer off this weekend. If I had to guess, I probably won’t get to it until next week. I’ll send you an email when I’ve posted a response. Thanks for your patience. Regards, Mark

    VoC REPLY: It is Tuesday at approx 4pm. I am working on my response and will be posting it in an article of its own. I will email you when it’s up.

    VoC REPLY: It is Wednesday at 11pm. I’ve got a response written in a new post, but I’m just having it proofed. Will email when it’s up, likley tomorrow.

    VoC REPLY: It is now Thursday at 2:47pm. I asked Gary McHale to review my draft which I have put many, many hours into. After reading it, he realizes, as do I, the significance of helping people understand the seminal role that ‘White Privilege’ doctrine plays in Caledonia, so I have asked him to add his own comments after I have made some additional changes. It is already at over 5,500 words and growing. Given its size and significance it may take a few more days until I/we are ready to release it. Again, I will email a link when it’s up. Sorry for the delay.

    VoC REPLY, July 13/09: After beginning the draft of my reply to you, I/we realized that your comments explained so very much about earlier encounters we have had with academics, NGO’s, lawyers and those responsible for instituting and supporting racial policing and violence by native extremists that we have decided to create a new, indepth, comprehensive analysis of ‘White Privilege’ as an explanation for the victimization of non-natives in Caledonia.

    I think it is fair to tell you that I/we are absolutely repulsed by ideology that purports to decide who is a victim and who is an oppressor based on one’s skin colour.

    The working title is ‘White Privilege’ in Caledonia.” Since it will take much more time than I originally anticipated, the work on it will begin after I have finished assisting Gary McHale in our preparations for legal actions against CUPE and others who spread lies that we are, or associate with, white supremacist groups. I will email you when it is ready but, given the time it will take, you may wish to subscribe to the VoC mailing list to be sure you get notified. Just click on ‘SUBSCRIBE’ in the top menu for instructions.

    I have already downloaded the ‘White Privilege’-related documents from the CPT website, but if CPT would like to submit an official statement that we can quote directly from regarding how it chooses victims to support, I will certainly read it and quote from it.

    Specifically, I would like CPT to answer these questions:

    1. Why is CPT downplaying the murderers [PDF] and genocidal maniacs of Hamas whose Charter has been condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Council [PDF] for its call to exterminate the Jews?

    2. The transcript of the CUPE protest video we (who have never used or threatened violence against anyone) recorded shows the CPT speaker mocking us for following the non-violent teachings of Dr. King:

    “So it’s particularly disturbing and sinister when the liberating words of one of the great Christian social justice leaders of the last century Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. get so twisted and perverted by white people claiming oppression by the government in favour of indigenous people. What a ridiculous claim.”

    If CPT has such respect for Dr. King’s teaching why is it consistently aligning itself with those who have used crime and violence against innocents instead of their victims – in Caledonia and the Middle East?

    3. Does CPT know who it was that ended slavery in the British Empire, and whether he/they were white or not?

    Mark