CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson recently spent a day with Ernie Palmer, the Caledonia man upon whose land was situated an illegal smokeshack by Steve ‘Boots’ Powless – the same guy who once threatened to turn Brantford into ‘Caledonia Part Two.’ Jeff has just released an 8-part video series of that interview which is now available on his website.
Here is an excerpt followed by a link to the article and some key references, including an article about the newly-launched $500M class action suit against the federal & provincial governments over illegal tobacco just announced today at Queen’s Park:
Video: The Ernie Palmer Story
by Jeff Parkinson
In my early days with CANACE in late 2006 and early 2007, I was on a very regular basis told stories that saddened and repulsed me. I sat and listened to each and every resident who was willing to share with me what they had endured and over the course of 4 years; I thought I had heard the worst of if not all of them.
One exceptionally disturbing story unfolded in the summer of 2009, and managed to fly under the radar of many including myself. Many of us heard that a smoke shack had gone up at the farm of Caledonia resident Ernie Palmer, but I didn’t know too much about it at the time. We had a particularly busy year, and by the time we slowed down to catch our breath, the shack was gone.
I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Palmer on October 13 2010 and he generously allowed me to record that meeting. The only things I knew for sure when I arrived were that the facts were largely unclear to me, and that an interview with him would be interesting. The media reports that I had read in 2009 painted him as a collaborator, and the County had charged him with bylaw infractions for hosting the smoke shack.
I explained a bit about myself to Mr. Palmer and made clear to him that my objective was simple. I wanted to leave that day with the necessary information to tell his story in his words. I wound up spending a day with him, and the things I learned were absolutely shocking even to a 4 year veteran of the Caledonia crisis.
Mr. Palmer is a 75 year old, old fashioned gentleman with values that are not seen often enough in our society anymore. His principles guided him in an astounding effort to remain calm and polite to the criminals who occupied his land, set up a smoke shack on it, and berated him on a regular basis for being “white”. The police were unwilling to assist him, the media portrayed him as a collaborator, and the County targeted him for bylaw charges for hosting the illegal shack that he didn’t want and could not get rid of.
As he explained it to me “I was raised by a noble woman to respect others and to respect myself. I never called him any names (occupier Steve Powless) I was humiliated, degraded in my home, by an Indian, a rapist. It was difficult to control myself and endure what I was subjected to by these Indians.”
Left to fend for himself for 6 months, Mr. Palmer maintained peace by treating the criminals in a civilized manner, and by finding a common bond with which they could relate to him. Coffee.
The situation changed from day to day and Palmer never knew what he could expect next. On one occasion he was visited by Ron George, head of the Aboriginal Relations Team for the OPP, and Dudley George’s cousin.
As Mr. Palmer explained it: “When he arrived with 2 or 3 ART team members, he walked to boots and they embraced each other for a long time, patting each others back and talking for a few minutes.” Not exactly a case of objective policing.
The video of our meeting is presented here from my youtube channel, CanaceHD in 720p High Definition. The story is told in an 8 part series because of the time limitations for Youtube. In total it’s over 90 minutes long and nearly 15Gb of video. I strongly recommend that those with high speed internet watch these in 720p at full screen, but lower res options are available for those with a slower connection.
My brief description of each video does no justice to the depth of the story as told by Mr. Palmer. You really must watch the story for yourself to appreciate what Palmer was forced to endure.
Part 1, Introduction:
We begin with Mr. Palmer discussing the events at DCE in 2006. His farm is a short hop down the road from the occupied site, so he witnessed much of what took place. Also of note is that Steven “boots” Powless tried without success to rent a slice of Mr. Palmer’s land to build a smoke shack on in the months before he illegally occupied it. This clearly demonstrates that Powless understood he did not own the land as he would later assert.
Read the rest of this article…
- JeffParkinson.ca, Oct 29/10: Video: The Ernie Palmer Story
- JeffParkinson.ca, Oct 07/10: Steve Powless jailed for smoke shack…sort of
- Caledonia Victims Project, Nov 01/10: Caledonia Class Action lawyer files $500M suit vs. province & feds over illegal native smokes
- VoiceofCanada, April 12/10: CUPE now supporting illegal smokeshacks in Caledonia
- VoiceofCanada, July 14/09: Smokeshack arrests follow CANACE warning to Fantino
- VoiceofCanada, July 14/08: Fantino & McGuinty should apologize for assaults on Brantford Police officers (Steve Powless threats vs. Brantford: “This is going to be Caledonia Part 2. They don’t understand what they’re in for. They [Brantford Police] just have a little rinky-dink force…I don’t know how they’re going to stop us.”)
- Caledonia Victims Project, Caledonia Lawsuits & Court Actions: R. v. Gary McHale (Counselling Mischief Not Committed) (the complete story of the violence by Six Nations residents at an illegal smokeshack on Dec 01/107 and the subsequent attempt by the OPP to blame innocent non-natives for it)
- VoiceofCanada category: Smokeshacks & Smuggling
Mark Vandermaas, Editor