Doug Fleming (top), Peter Kamerman (middle), Merlyn Kinrade (bottom, w/blue beret), July 12/09. Photo by Jim Smith.

Doug Fleming (top), Peter Kamerman (middle), Merlyn Kinrade (bottom, w/blue beret), July 12/09. Photo by Jim Smith.

“The Germans have received back again that measure of fire and steel which they have so often meted out to others. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  

— Winston Churchill at Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House following the victory at El Alamein in North Africa, London, 10 November 1942.                    


UPDATED – The two and a half year battle to force the OPP to respect the rights of non-natives to walk down a public road and place a Canadian flag on a public utility pole across the street from the Douglas Creek Estates is over!    

Randy Fleming poster (arrested May 24/09 for walking down road w/Canadian flag)On July 12/09, thirty-one months after Bo Chausse was arrested in Caledonia on Dec 02/06 – followed by Mark Vandermaas & Gary McHale on Dec 16/06,  and Randy Fleming on May 24/09 – a group of approximately 25 people led by Merlyn Kinrade walked down Argyle Street to a hydro pole across from the Douglas Creek Estates where Doug Fleming, brother of Randy Fleming, affixed a large flag with help from Peter Kamerman and Merlyn.                      

DSC_0039 500pxWe do not negotiate our rights!                      

The OPP asked us, on behalf of the occupiers, prior to leaving Lions Park,  if we would ask their permission to put up our flag. We refused, saying that we do not negotiate our rights with the OPP or native occupiers or any other group.

I explained that we do not expect them to ask our permission to exercise their lawful rights, they should not expect us to ask their permission to do the same.                    


We were grateful to see that there was no interference from the occupiers, and I asked Sgt Michaud to pass on my thanks to them for respecting our rights despite the fact that we disagreed on whether we had an obligation to seek their permission to raise our flag. In fact, there were no occupiers visible on the Douglas Creek Estates.                       

CANACE flag raising marches are finished                      

090712 Flag DCE 3We have given our word to the OPP (to Sgt. Michaud, photo R by Jim Smith) that we will not organize any further flag raising events unless they make new arrests of people with Canadian flags in the future.                   


1. Arrests of Mark Vandermaas & Gary McHale 

Watch the OPP rip the Canadian flag out of Mark Vandermaas’s hands on Dec 16/06 before he and Gary McHale are arrested:  

  • CANACE video, Dec 16/06: Arrests of Gary McHale & Mark Vandermaas [VIDEO, 2:52]

2. The Final CANACE Flag Raising (by Jeff Parkinson)  

This short film by Jeff Parkinson tells the story of today’s success. You will see footage from various protests and photos of those arrested by the OPP: Quintin ‘Bo’ Chausse; Gary McHale; Mark Vandermaas (from behind); Mark Vandermaas (in police car); Randy Fleming. The footage includes film from our protest at the home of OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino (full video below).  

070120 DCE occupiers give finger to McHale, Vandermaas, ParkinsonThe final shot in the series is of Jeff Parkinson holding a Canadian flag on the property of Dave Brown/Dana Chatwell during our Jan 20/07 flag raising protest as we faced down – with complete silence as our only weapon  – approximately 100 occupiers on the nearby Douglas Creek Estates who tried to provoke us with 30-40 minutes of filthy insults.  

When they were unsucessful, they just drifted away in defeat. A nearly identical photo of the occupiers making obscene gestures to us on Jan 20/07 can be found in Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless which tells the story of the OPP’s determination to stop non-Natives from raising the Canadian flag:  

CLICK TO PLAY                    

3. Protest at the home of OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino (by Jeff Parkinson) 


Fantino was exceptionally annoyed by our March 02/08 protest at his home – where the York Regional Police willingly and professionally protected our right to raise a Canadian flag across the street from his house.       

We know this from his testimony during the preliminary hearing for Gary McHale’s charge of ‘Counselling Mischief Not Committed’ during which McHale questioned Fantino for 2 1/2 days under oath. I was there for the testimony, and reported it as follows:     

“During his testimony, Fantino whined several times about McHale’s protest at his home in Woodbridge. It seems the commissioner didn’t like having his neighbourhood disrupted for a couple of hours by peaceful, law abiding Caledonia protesters. Imagine that. Apparently, however, the protest didn’t teach him anything about how Haldimand residents feel about being held hostage by native protests while his officers stand guard for the lawbreakers who have tormented them.”     

See these VoC stories for more details, including an explanation of why we felt compelled to take our protest to Fantino’s home:     

Vindication for 4 Canadians arrested for wanting to raise Canadian flags        

Today, it was complete vindication for all four Canadians who have been arrested for wanting to exercise their right to raise a flag, and for all those whose right to do so was violated by the OPP.            DSC_0159 750px  

Today was especially satisfying for me and for Gary McHale, who was kept informed by phone throughout the day since he is not allowed to enter Caledonia due to bail restrictions for his charge of ‘Counselling Mischief Not Committed.’ Both of us were arrested on Dec 16/06 during a protest we organized to support Bo Chausse. Gary was held overnight even though the OPP knew they weren’t going to charge him with a crime, while I was released after a few hours.                    

090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 034
L to R: Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas, Christine McHale, Jeff Parkinson, on steps of McHale home in Binbrook following successful flagraising in Caledonia, July 12/09.

We both have outstanding lawsuits and Human Rights complaints arising out of our arrests and violation of our rights.     

It was also a proud day for Merlyn Kinrade who served, as did I, on a UN peacekeeping mission with the Canadian military in defence of the values represented by the Canadian flag. He has worked tirelessly to bring about this day, and he deserves so much credit for making it happen.     

Many thanks to CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson for being such a key part of this and helping us to record history in the making. You can read his perspective on today’s achievement here:       

Negotiations, Healing and Reconciliation                      

With the notable exceptions of Mayor Trainer and MPP Toby Barrett, fearful politicians with little sense of civil rights history and even less respect for the hundreds of years of Canadian/English jurisprudence and the magnificent document that is the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, have criticized us and our flag protests as being ‘unhelpful’ to the ongoing negotiations with Six Nations.                      

I believe, with all my heart, that fruitful negotiations, reconciliation and true healing can only be successful in an environment of mutual respect for the rights of all citizens, and not – as police and government have led us to believe – in one where one side dominates the other with contempt for the law and unrealistic expectations of control over the rights of other human beings.                      

Today’s victory sends a strong message that non-natives are stakeholders in land claim disputes whose rights to live in peace under the rule of law in accordance with the Charter cannot be ignored, and that message – if well received – can only serve to bring us closer to that wonderful day when the the OPP, the Ontario government and Six Nations apologize to the people of Haldimand for the crimes committed against them. On THAT day, the healing will truly begin.            

The end of the beginning!                    

We still have many thousands of steps, and years of struggle ahead of us but, given the combination of CANACE’s stunning legal wins in Superior Court regarding the right of citizens to bring private prosecutions against government officials – Parkinson v. R. and McHale v. R. – and today’s acknowledgement that the rights of Canadian citizens are not subject to the whims of police or pressure groups, I felt it appropriate to declare that we have reached the ‘end of the beginning’ of the struggle against racial policing in Ontario. But, just to make sure, I called Gary McHale to get his opinion since he is not given to over-optimism.                     

 He agreed.                     

 Thank you!                      

 Thank you to all Canadians – in and outside Caledonia – who helped make today’s victory possible! I don’t know all of your names, but you know who you are. You stood and marched while others made excuses, and I am so proud of you! (Readers – see photos of these great Canadians below.)                   

 Thank you to Sgt Michaud, the OPP and to the occupiers of DCE. I hope you will all come to understand that respecting the rights of non-natives does not diminish those of native people in any way – it enhances them. Today was a good day for all citizens of Canada – native and non-native.                     

 No mushroom cloud over Caledonia!                     

This is a great day. Best of all it was accomplished peacefully, legally and democratically by following in the footsteps of one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history. Thanks to him, and those who trusted in his wisdom, Caledonia did not disappear in a mushroom cloud because non-natives were allowed to exercise their rights. There were no race riots. No blood running in the streets. The sky did not fall in.                     

Caledonia is still alive and well, and democracy is a tiny bit stronger.     

UPDATE: Flag-raising protests inspire Caledonia artist    

'Caught in the Middle' - Caledonia artist Barb Patterson-Tuck's 2008 award winning depiction of the Caledonia dilemma. Click for explanation and high res image.The struggle to make Canadian flags legal again in Caledonia, and especially the protest at Fantino’s home, were the inspirations for Barb Patterson-Tuck’s 2008 award-winning depiction of the Caledonia crisis, ‘Caught in the Middle.’    

Click image for more info on those depicted, and a link to a high-res image.   

UPDATE: Flag-raising arrests recounted in Helpless & National Post excerpt   

HELPLESS: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, by Christie BlatchfordThe arrests of Bo Chausse, Mark Vandermaas, and Gary McHale are recorded in Christie Blatchford’s landmark book, released Oct 27/10: HELPLESS: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us.   

The National Post printed four excerpts from Helpless, the second of which is the section which recounts the arrests of Vandermaas and McHale at their first flag raising protest on Dec 16/06:   

Other CANACE photos:                     

090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 001 090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 008090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 011090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 012090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 017090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 020090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 022090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 024090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 028090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 029090712 Final flag victory Caledonia-DCE 032DSC_0077 500pxDSC_0120 500pxDSC_0121 500px                      

Other photos by Jim Smith:                      

090712 Flag DCE 4090712 Flag DCE 5                     


Mark Vandermaas, Editor

9 responses to “THE END OF THE BEGINNING!

  1. I congratulate you on a small but vital victory. I also note the new local OPP boss is making trespass and smoke shack arrests.

    No doubt it was pressure from CANACE that has turned the tide.

    VoC REPLY: You said it very well: “a small but vital victory.” We always knew the importance for Canada of helping the OPP and native extremists to understand that the rights of other people must be respected, but who knew it would be so hard! Still, I have to temper my joy with the realization that this is, after all, at best, only the end of the beginning.

    The core beliefs and attitudes that made racial possible against non-natives possible in the first place have not changed. We have not changed ‘hearts and minds’ – the ‘only’ thing we have changed is that we have convinced them that there will be too much pain by continuing to ignore those rights.

    As for the arrests, you probably know that Gary McHale sent a fax to McGuinty, Fantino, Bartolucci and the new Haldimand OPP Commander John Periversoff the day before advising them of our position that police discretion cannot be used as an excuse to tolerate threats to public safety. Perhaps that fax, coupled with our recent court wins in the area of private prosecutions, did have some impact on their decision to enforce the law.

    Thanks for writing, Serf. Regards, Mark

  2. Way to go everyone!! Sorry I couldn’t be there this time in person to witness the event. This struggle seems to be like teaching an infant to walk Mark, baby steps,baby steps. You have all done us proud once again. Thank you.

    VoC REPLY: Larry, you hit it right on the nose. It absolutely bewilders me that some ordinary schlubs like us have to teach police, politicians and lawyers about the Charter of Rights, etc. as if it just arrived special delivery on a spaceship from Mars yesterday. Baby steps, indeed! We’ll continue to teach them but man, this kid is a slow learner! Thanks for the support. Sorry you couldn’t be there for the big day, but hey, stuff happens. I certainly have seen your face at enough events. Thanks for writing, Mark P.S. Don’t miss Gary’s column in the Regional News tomorrow, you’re going to love it.

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