Liberal Bob Speller first federal candidate to offer Caledonia policy statement

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Liberal Party candidate Bob Speller (Haldimand-Norfolk) has become the first federal candidate in the 2011 election to issue a policy statement regarding the breakdown of the rule of law in Caledonia.  

Speller’s statement – which referenced Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless on several occasions – was read at our Conservatives Against Racism townhall presentation held last night at the Delhi Belgian Club by the president of the Haldimand-Norfolk Liberal Electoral District Association, Herb Ibbotson. It was much stronger than any us could have hoped for, and it referenced every aspect of the crisis: land claims; illegal tobacco; the rule of law; property rights; and helping victims (the full text of Mr. Speller’s statement is reprinted below followed by a VoC comment):

“There is nothing more important than the rule of law. We have troops in Afghanistan and our air force flying in the skies of Libya to ensure those countries have the rule of law. You can’t have democracy without the rule of law. We all know what happened in Caledonia. […]  Anyone who has read Christie Blatchford’s book as I have knows what happened. It is not acceptable.”

Empathy for Caledonia’s youngest hero

CANACE founder Merlyn Kinrade emceed the event, opening with a strong condemnation of the Harper decision to appoint Julian Fantino as a candidate.

  • Merlyn Kinrade, Conservatives Against Racism townhall meeting, Delhi Belgian Club, April 14/11: Opening remarks/introductions [PDF]

Most readers know that I and Merlyn Kinrade are ex-military and former UN peacekeepers, and so we were pleased to discover, before the event began, that Herb Ibbotson had served as an officer in the Canadian Artillery Reserve for 21 years.  Later, he explained to the crowd that seven members of his family were killed during World War I defending his ancestral country of Belgium, and asked us all if we knew why Canada’s flag was red and white. I did not know that red and white were colours bestowed on Canada by King George in recognition of Canada’s terrible sacrifice in the Great War. Clearly, he was struck by what he had heard during the presentation, and the importance of defending the rule of law.

I was especially touched by Mr. Ibbotson’s empathy for the victims of Caledonia. When he finished reading his candidate’s statement he referenced my presentation which included a video of 14 year old Pam ‘Dancer’ Dudych reading her Road of Hope project at the Queen’s Park Media Studio, telling the crowd she reminded him of another young girl: Anne Frank.

  • Mark Vandermaas, Conservatives Against Racism townhall meeting, Delhi Belgian Club, April 14/11: Caledonia: An Illegal Peacekeeping Mission on Canadian Soil [PDF, 11p]; PowerPoint presentation [PPT, 22.5MB]
  • Anne Frank

After 4 years of telling Dancer’s story Ibbotson’s words meant a very great deal to me, as did Speller’s strong statement of support for Caledonia’s victims.

Christian Heritage Party candidate Steven Elgersma also expressed his dismay for the breakdown in the rule of law in Caledonia as well as his full support for Gary McHale with this statement:

“It’s just awful the way it is,” Elgersma said of the situation in Caledonia. “I’m with you all the way. I think it is just marvelous how Gary McHale stands up to the police.”

Bob Speller statement re Caledonia

Delhi Belgian Hall, April 14/11 [PDF]
(read by Herb Ibbotson, President, Haldimand-Norfolk Liberal riding association)


The Land Claims dispute in Caledonia has been dragging on for far too long. Five long years. Our present Member of Parliament has adopted a strategy of completely dodging the issue.

Total silence. We all see the signs in Caledonia Where is Diane?

In fact, the only real action the Conservative government has taken with respect to the Caledonia issue was to install Julian Fantino, the former OPP Commissioner, into the Conservative cabinet, in effect endorsing his approach to policing in Caledonia.

What was our present Member of Parliament s response? She said that issues involving native affairs were not her responsibility.

I am putting forward a solution based upon my many meetings with the residents of this community, and publicly endorsed by my Leader. My plan to solve the Land Claims issue includes the appointment of a panel of three judges, one appointed by Haldimand County, and put them to work with a firm deadline.

I will also have our Government send the issue of valuation in Land Claims, which is why so many are stalled, directly to the Supreme Court of Canada.

I will show the leadership needed and take the necessary steps to solve this situation once and for all.

Illegal Tobacco Trade

We all know that illegal smoke shacks have popped up around Caledonia, but no one is doing anything about it.

They are unsightly and cause traffic problems. Taxes are not being charged making the price of cigarettes much lower than tobacco sold in regular stores.

Tobacco sales from these illegal smoke shacks deprive the federal and provincial governments of millions of dollars in needed tax revenue that could be used for important programs that we all benefit from, like health care.

Illegal smoke shacks hurt legitimate store proprietors who are following the law.

Non-native customers of these illegal smoke shacks are targeted by police and charged as they drive away while the smoke shacks are allowed to continue operating with impunity.

Illegal smoke shacks fail to comply with Ontario and federal government tobacco control laws and appear to do virtually no age testing to keep tobacco from children. Young people are getting access to cheap cigarettes and will suffer serious health problems as a result. The Conservative government has put the health of our young people at risk.

Contraband tobacco is increasingly being sold on and off the reserve. Criminal elements including organized crime are profiting from the contraband tobacco trade.

Our present Member of Parliament and the Conservative government has failed to act or really do anything at all. Criminal elements are being allowed to exploit and profit from this situation.

Enough is enough

In office, I will take action to ensure that we start getting leadership from the federal government to deal with illegal tobacco sales. The federal government and federal law enforcement authorities need to take action and coordinate law enforcement from all levels of government against these illegal smoke shacks. The contraband tobacco trade is subject to complex jurisdictional issues, cross border issues, and constitutional issues that can only be handled by the federal government.

I will exercise the necessary leadership to provide federal law enforcement authorities the resources they need to co-ordinate an end to illegal smoke shacks and the contraband tobacco trade. These illegal smoke shacks have got to go. The contraband tobacco trade has to be stopped.

Our present Member of Parliament s approach is to ignore the entire issue. She has been completely silent on the issue.

I will never be silent on issues that affect our community in such a profound way.

The Rule of Law

There is nothing more important than the rule of law.

We have troops in Afghanistan and our air force flying in the skies of Libya to ensure those countries have the rule of law.

You can’t have democracy without the rule of law.

We all know what happened in Caledonia. The rule of law took a hit.

Policing in Caledonia was all over the map. Sometimes the law was enforced and sometimes it was not. Anyone who has read Christie Blatchford’s book as I have knows what happened. It is not acceptable.

Our present Member of Parliament is getting away with ignoring the situation. In fact, the only action taken by the Conservative government was to put Julian Fantino in cabinet. In effect, the Conservatives endorsed his approach to policing.

If the Conservatives are returned to office how long before Julian Fantino is made public safety minister responsible for all federal law enforcement including the RCMP.

That is not acceptable. A vote for Finley is a vote for Fantino. We need to stop the Conservatives.

Property Rights

We all know that property rights took a hit in Caledonia. We need to have the rule of law upheld and we need law and order in Caledonia just like we do everywhere in Canada.

Our present Member of Parliament and her Conservative government have taken a very deliberate approach of dodging this issue. So far they are getting away with it.

In office I will show the leadership needed so that the federal government gets involved and ends the lawlessness and helps solve the Caledonia situation once and for all.

Helping victims of crime

I have read Christie Blatchford’s book and there is no more searing indictment of what happened to innocent victims in Caledonia.

People who have suffered violence need to be compensated, plain and simple.

People who suffered financial loss to their property values or their business deserve compensation, plain and simple.

And they should not have to resort to the courts to get the compensation they deserve.

Our present Member of Parliament and her Conservative government have taken a very deliberate approach of dodging this issue. So far they are getting away with it.

In office I will show the leadership needed so that the federal government gets involved and helps solve the Caledonia situation and ends lawlessness and helps victims of crime.


VoC Comment

Some people may be wondering why Conservative supporters would campaign openly against the Conservative Party. Here is what I told the crowd in my presentation on the subject:


I would like to preface my final set of remarks by saying that I have voted for the Conservative Party all my adult life. In fact, the only party I have ever been a member of was the Reform Party under Preston Manning.

As someone who has volunteered four and a half years of my life to working towards ending race-based policing in Ontario and as someone who holds conservative values I am compelled to ask a question during this election:

What were Diane Finley and the Harper government doing while the Ontario government was undermining Canada’s Charter of Rights and our precious rule of law during the past 5 years?


This picture from Gary McHale’s 2006 March for Freedom shows a resident carrying a sign that was posted around Caledonia to convey the sentiments about their MP’s lack of interest. It says, “Has anyone seen Diane Finley?”

Diane Finley has brushed off Doug Fleming’s attempts to meet with her to discuss the blight of illegal smokeshacks in his community. She has so far rejected our attempts to set up a meeting to talk about Caledonia issues.

However, according to Jan Watson of Community Friends – you remember – the group that supports the lawlessness in Caledonia, the one that received anarchist funding? Watson says that Finley DID meet with her.

On December 31, 2009 a Superior Court judge ruled that former OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino should face a criminal charge of Influencing Municipal Officials for allegedly intimidating Haldimand Council.

In her 2010 book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us, Christie Blatchford stated her opinion that Fantino had “sold frontline officers down the river.” The book exposed not only the breakdown of the rule of law, but Fantino’s key role in enforcing racial policing, and his willingness to use his office to try to silence those who spoke out against Caledonia’s policing nightmare.

In September 2010, before Helpless was published, we began to hear rumours we could scarcely believe that Stephen Harper was going to appoint Fantino as a Conservative candidate. I posted evidence about Fantino’s record online and sent links out to all my contacts, including Diane Finley’s office. No response.

On October 3rd I happened to meet a very senior official at the national level of the Conservative Party of Canada at an unrelated event. I begged him to wait until after Blatchford’s book was released before nominating Fantino, and offered to meet with party officials to provide evidence and answer questions. My offer was not accepted.

Retired RCMP sergeant Bill Dietz from Caledonia wrote a letter to Diane Finley in which he said the Fantino nomination was a “middle finger to every citizen who wishes for decency and the rule of law and order.”

After Harper appointed Fantino as a cabinet minister his government announced a $10 million dollar grant to a private group which has two of Fantino’s fundraisers as prime backers of a planned hospital in his riding.

The Conservative platform says the Harper government wants to “help Canadians feel safe in their homes and in their communities.” Why then, did they stay silent for five years while Pam Dudych’s family and the Rauscher family and the Brown-Chatwell family and the Gualtieri family and many others were being denied police protection?


In 2010 we discovered a native supremacist magazine called Redwire had received $1.2 million in federal funding and was to receive more even though it had published specific instructions to help native youth conduct terror and sabotage operations against non-natives. Where is the Conservative plan to end taxpayer-funded hate and terror training projects directed at native youth like this?

The Conservative platform talks about “advancing the rule of law, and human rights” in Afghanistan, a noble goal, but what about restoring the rule of law and protecting human rights at home in Haldimand County? Where is the plan for that?

The Conservative platform talks about supporting the victims of crime, yet it appointed a candidate and minister who snubbed Caledonia’s non-native victims, but repeatedly met with the native criminals who terrrorized them and their town. How could the party play such a cruel joke?

Unfortunately, rewarding Julian Fantino’s contribution to Caledonia’s misery was not the end of the party’s contempt for victims.


In December 2010 the Harper government announced that it was planning to apologize to the Mohawk Warrior crime group because the Canadian Forces listed it as a potential adversary in an anti-insurgency manual. The same organization that murdered Corporal Lemay in Oka, and then went on to terrorize Ipperwash and Caledonia is to be rewarded by the Stephen Harper government with an official apology from the Canadian Armed Forces.


Caledonia’s illegal peackeeping mission, to me, represents a massive crime against democracy that was committed under the very noses of Diane Finley, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada who all turned blind eyes to the suffering of innocent people, and the violation of their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


I do not want to destroy the Conservative Party of Canada – the country needs a strong conservative voice. But, I suggest to you that what the party needs most right now, in THIS election, is a short term lesson for the long term good.

That lesson is that political parties WILL pay a price for standing idly by when police protection is denied to Canadian citizens.

Thank you.

I know I speak for Merlyn Kinrade when I say that although we are lifelong Conservative supporters,  when we joined the Canadian Forces we didn’t swear an oath to the Conservative Party, we swore to defend Canada. What Canada needs right now is to get on with learning the vital lessons we need to learn from Caledonia so there are no more victims in the future. I would have preferred that the Conservative Party taken the lead in fighting for justice, but that’s not what happened, and I cannot allow my personal political preferences to get in the way of getting Caledonia’s lessons onto the national stage.

Will Mr. Speller keep his promises? I don’t know, but at least he’s saying something and that alone is lightyears in the opposite direction to where the federal Conservatives have been heading for the last 5 years.

I have thanked Mr. Speller and Mr. Ibbotson and informed them that I am prepared to speak at any Liberal functions on the topic of Caledonia, and I will gladly do so for any other candidate who requests a presentation as well. 

The federal Conservative party should have the good grace to be embarrassed that it was a Liberal candidate who was the first to speak out for Caledonia’s victims and the importance of defending Canada’s rule of law. I know I am.


Mark Vandermaas
Editor, VoiceofCanada
Founder, Caledonia Victims Project


4 responses to “Liberal Bob Speller first federal candidate to offer Caledonia policy statement

  1. Pingback: Liberal Bob Speller first federal candidate to offer Caledonia policy statement | Conservatives Against Racism

  2. Pingback: Caledonia: Was the Conservative Party of Canada friend or foe to victims? | Conservatives Against Racism

  3. I would say any promise from a Liberal isn’t worth a pinch of chicken poot. Their political history shows us that if a Liberal politician’s mouth is open, he’s using it to lie.

    VoC: At this point, Bill, I’ll take a politician who’s willing to lie about caring about Caledonia and defending the rule of law over every single one of those who didn’t lie about it because they sat in silence for 5 years while innocent people suffered.

    At least Speller said something, and it was strongly worded. If he is lying then I’ll campaign against him, too.

    Let’s not forget it was a Liberal who called in the Canadian Forces to face the separatist terror threat because he said that a parallel power cannot be allowed to exist.

    Also, if the Liberals were in power during Caledonia, which one of us Conservatives would be giving them a pass? No one.

    Political dogma/partisanship/whatever is what allows Harper and Finley and crew to spit on Caledonia and get away with it. I didn’t swear an oath to the Conservative Party when I joined the Cdn Forces, I swore it to Canada. My mission isn’t to be a shill for the CPC, it’s to end racial policing and make sure there are no more Caledonias, and there are no sacred cows. The CPC doesn’t get a pass any more than I would give the Libs a pass.

    Thanks for writing, Bill. Mark

  4. Pingback: Caledonia: Was the Conservative Party of Canada friend or foe to victims? | Caledonia Victims Project