The former operator of a now-defunct Caledonia discussion board agreed, before a Small Claims Court judge in Hamilton yesterday, to pay CANACE co-founder/Executive Director Gary McHale a total of $3,750 in 25 monthly installments and to provide a written apology [image, right] for defamatory statements which he allowed to be posted on his board.
Mike Burgess was facing three separate Small Claims Court actions seeking a total of $30,000 for allowing false allegations to be published that claimed – among other things – that Mr. McHale and his associates were white supremacists and/or associated with white supremacist groups.
Sept, 10, 2009
I, Mike Burgess, past administrator of the Caledonia Cafe Message Board, issue this apology to Gary McHale for various posts on my board which defamed him.
I am unaware of any evidence that Gary McHale or members of his group have ever shouted out ‘White Power’ or similar types of words. I am unaware of any evidence that Gary McHale or members of his group are associated with any white supremacist groups or have ever invited any white supremacists to any rally.
Furthermore, various posts on my board that linked Mr. McHale to any crimes outside of the one he has been charged with are unfounded. I am unaware of any evidence that he had caused any violence to have occurred or desires to have any violence occur.
Finally, I wish to state that Mr. McHale has every right, like any other Canadian, to publicly take up any cause he wants. I apologize without any reservation for any harm caused by my board to Mr. McHale’s reputation.
[Signed] Mike Burgess
The settlement was arrived at the judge’s suggestion after he ruled the actions could proceed, thereby denying Mr. Burgess’s assertion that they had been abandoned by Mr. McHale. Mr. Burgess had failed to honour a previous tentative out-of-court agreement made with Mr. McHale in 2008 which is why the new agreement was signed before the judge. If Mr. Burgess does not pay as required under the settlement Mr. McHale can return to court and seek a default judgement and begin enforcment proceedings.
This is the second out-of-court settlement with Mr. McHale regarding legal actions for defamatory statements. The first was with the Caledonia-based Sachem newspaper in 2008.
Other legal actions for defamation against CANACE founders are pending.
CANACE position on racism and supremacist ideology
Unfortunately, making false accusations of belonging to and/or being supported by ‘white supremacist’ organizations is a common tactic used by native extremists and their supporters against those who speak out against the use of violence and crime against innocents during land claim disputes.
For the record, all founders and members of CANACE have renounced racism and supremacist ideology via a page on the ‘About Us’ section of the CANACE website (canace.ca) entitled, ‘We Believe…’
- CANACE Statement of Principles: ‘We Believe…’
This page was created on Aug 31/07 and has never been altered since publication. Much of the content was taken verbatim from a copy of ‘Ontario’s Policy on Race Relations’ signed by former premier David Peterson which still hangs on the wall of the Cayuga courthouse. A staff member was kind enough to photocopy it for us on Aug 27/07 – which we still have today.
Anyone who attempts to defame CANACE founders – of which I am one – should expect to face aggressive legal action.
- CANACE news, Sept 11/09: CANACE founder receives apology, compensation for Caledonia defamation
- CANACE Statement of Principles, Aug 31/07: We Believe…
- VoC, Aug 12/09: Legal notices re CUPE protest
- VoC feature: Caledonia Lawsuits (see ‘Vandermaas/McHale v. Fantino’ Amended Statement of Claim, Feb 02/09)