McGuinty appoints cop charged with Obstructing Justice as head of OPP

Gary & Christine McHale on courthouse steps after Crown dropped charge of Counselling Mischief Not Committed, April 21/10. Charges were dropped after McHale presented evidence before a Justice of the Peace resulting in Obstructing Justice charges against two senior OPP officials - including newly appointed Commissioner Chris Lewis.

Gary & Christine McHale on courthouse steps after Crown dropped charge of Counselling Mischief Not Committed, April 21/10. Charges were dropped after McHale presented evidence before a Justice of the Peace resulting in Obstructing Justice charges against two senior OPP officials - including newly appointed Commissioner Chris Lewis.

UPDATE: Hamilton Spectator editorial, July 09/10: New OPP boss, same old line [PDF]

UPDATE: Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer calls on new OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis to end two-tier justice in Caledonia. 

UPDATE: Copy of ‘Obstructing Justice’ charge order vs. now-OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis

““After a thorough search, it was clear that Commissioner Lewis is a great fit,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters.” Globe & Mail, July 07/10

UPDATED 1026 July 09/10 — Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has appointed Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis as the new head of the Ontario Provincial Police. Lewis is one of two senior Fantino underlings who faced Obstructing Justice charges for following his boss’s explicit orders to target Gary McHale for a criminal charge at the outset of an investigation, and not to “get bogged down with legal nuances” in order to do it.

The Ottawa Citizen’s story was the first to acknowledge the charge, followed by the Hamilton Spectator one day later:

Fantino faced criminal charges earlier this year, which were later dropped by the Crown, over allegations of attempting to influence a municipal official during the native occupation in Caledonia. Lewis, too, faced a charge of attempting to obstruct justice in the same matter. The charge was also dropped, he said.

The issue led to activist Gary McHale founding a movement –Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality — and, in some cases, saw him charging OPP officers for alleging overstepping their authority in the affair. This included Lewis, who was accused of obstruction of justice by McHale in regards to a 2007 rally. The charge was dropped in May.

Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer asks Lewis to end racial policing

“Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer is calling on new OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis to end what she terms was the practice of two-tier justice in Caledonia under outgoing Commissioner Julian Fantino.”

OPPA internal documents show Chris Lewis made DCE occupation a ‘homefree zone’ for native criminals

Unfortunately, Mayor Trainer’s call on Chris Lewis to end two-tier justice/racial policing will likely fall on deaf ears since he was one of its key architects and enforcers. 

Christie Blatchford, who is writing a book about Caledonia that should be ready later this year, reveals that internal documents from the Ontario Provincial Police Association (the very organization that falsely accused Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas of inciting violence and hatred in a 2007 press release, and is currently being sued for defamation by the two) show that Chris Lewis made it clear native criminals scampering back onto the Douglas Creek Estates occupation site bought by the province were absolutely untouchable by the OPP – unless, perhaps, they kidnapped somebody’s child (emphasis by VoC):

The Globe and Mail has obtained OPPA minutes of the spring, 2008, meeting, one of two that the force’s senior command have every year with the police union and where they answer questions.

The minutes show that Detective-Sergeant Roger Geysons, president of the branch encompassing Caledonia, prefaced a question by noting that there had been several recent occurrences “involving First Nations persons observed committing a criminal act and subsequently fleeing” onto DCE.

He demanded to know what written orders there were, and concluded, “Are OPP members allowed on DCE?”

Mr. Lewis, then deputy commissioner, with Commissioner Fantino at his side, replied that it was “news to me that this was still an issue” and said, “Short of somebody having a kid kidnapped and running onto the DCE, we’re not going to go onto that property. It’s just a recipe for disaster and it will set things back there.”

Gary McHale’s associate and fellow CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson has seen racial policing up close. He made legal history with McHale’s help after fighting a two year battle that culminated when the Crown withdrew charges of Mischief ordered by a Superior Court judge against two OPP officers he filmed assisting native protesters to build a barricade to keep the lawful owner out of his Hagersville property: 

[Lewis has] been working closely with Julian Fantino to make crucial decisions that have oppressed the rights of non Natives in Caledonia.

He was the architect of the ART team (now known as the provincial liaison team) who were responsible for pandering to the whims of Natives while turning a blind eye to criminal behaviour. It’s hard to imagine such a stupid idea as a “response” team within a police force that’s dedicated to one race of people, but that’s what happened under the leadership of the soon to be commissioner. […]

Lewis shows absolutely no remorse for the unreasonable manner in which he helped persecute an innocent man. When asked by the Globe & Mail if he had any regrets in the way that McHale was pursued, he said “none, absolutely none”.

Other coverage of Chris Lewis appointment

Background to Obstructing Justice charge vs. Chris Lewis, OPP Deputy Commissioner

Lewis and Gentle follow Fantino’s instructions to get McHale

A Justice of the Peace certified charges of Obstructing Justice Chris Lewis and Superintendent Ron Gentle after Gary McHale supplied the court with an email exchange showing they agreed that, even though there was almost no evidence against him, McHale had to be charged with a crime in order to appease native radicals. The email was obtained through disclosure that took McHale two years to obtain from the Crown.

Minister ignores Obstructing Justice allegations

The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci was informed about the Obstructing Justice allegations against OPP officers in May 2008, but refused to act. He refused to even ask for supporting evidence to a detailed complaint on the issue:

Crown drops Obstructing Justice charges against Lewis and Gentle

The Crown dropped the charges against Lewis and Gentle after they were issued, just as they did for the charge of Influencing Municipal Official ordered against Fantino by the Superior Court.

Crown drops charge against McHale

The charge of Counselling Mischief Not Committed against McHale was dropped shortly after the charges against Lewis and Gentle were certified by the Court, and shortly before McHale was to ask the Superior Court to order disclosure of all emails between the Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.


The appointment of Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis as head of the Ontario Provincial Police proves that if there was any doubt the OPP was doing exactly what McGuinty wanted by enforcing racialized policing in Caledonia since 2006 there can be no doubt remaining. After the charge of Obstructing Justice and all the revelations of OPP racial bias in refusing to protect non-native victims this appointment is a slap in the face to every victim in Caledonia. It would seem, based on the last para from her article today, that Christie Blatchford might agree:

Thus, for both Caledonia residents and OPP front-line officers who might have been hoping for a return of the rule of law to that benighted town, the government’s answer in the Chris Lewis appointment is a decisive, if not derisive, no.

One can only imagine the howls of protest against the appointment of a cop involved in manufacturing a charge against a peaceful native leader on Fantino’s orders instead of non-native McHale.

The appointment of any Fantino crony, let alone this one, proves that the McGuinty government is utterly without respect for the public, for Caledonia’s suffering, and for our justice system.

The OPP didn’t need a ringing endorsement of its anti-Charter racist policing failures, it needed to have its head chopped off and then gutted like a fish until any officer above the rank of sergeant who ever served in Caledonia is gone – cost be damned.

Will Tim Hudak show some leadership on this issue – this repugnant appointment that brings the entire OPP organization and the administration of justice along with it into complete and utter disrepute?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Hudak.

I am, however, waiting with bated breath for Blatchford’s book. I’m guessing her revelations about Chris Lewis’s granting of ‘homefree zone’ status to DCE is just the tip of an enormous iceberg coming towards the McGuinty Titanic.  



Mark Vandermaas, Editor

DISCLOSURE: Mark Vandermaas was an original co-founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE). He left in Feb 2007 to found the Caledonia Victims Project.

8 responses to “McGuinty appoints cop charged with Obstructing Justice as head of OPP

  1. Pingback: McGuinty appoints cop charged with Obstructing Justice as head of OPP | Myblog's Blog

  2. Pingback: McGuinty insults Caledonia victims w/appointment of Chris Lewis | Caledonia Victims Project

  3. Pingback: Message for federal Conservatives: Fantino as candidate = slap in the face to Caledonia victims | Caledonia Victims Project

  4. Pingback: Christie Blatchford: Fantino blamed victim of assault; endorsed assailant in letter to judge « Conservatives Against Fantino

  5. Pingback: ‘Helpless’ excerpt #1: Caledonia: the town that law forgot | HELPLESS: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear & Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us

  6. Pingback: ‘Helpless’ excerpt 1 – ‘Caledonia: the town that law forgot’ | Caledonia Victims Project

  7. Upon hearing from relatives in the area about the turmoil, road closings and violence in Caledonia I could not understand why the police were so reluctant and/or unwilling to act.

    After reading Helpless it has become painfully clear that the the OPP commissioners, Boniface and Fantino, were both so afraid to lose their outrageous paycheck that they would rather submit to butt kissing then to support the rank and file. Some respected leader! Fantino’s career can be summed up in a few words. Coward is one.

    VoC REPLY: You said, George. Yes, and so are the federal Conservatives who made them their candidate. Politically greedy cowards! Thanks for writing, Mark

  8. Pingback: Political interference with Caledonia policing by McGuinty government | Caledonia Victims Project