Charges dropped against Caledonia Eight, but OPP undeterred

120203 Dunnville Chronicle reporter lines up Caledonia Eight for photoOn Friday (Feb 03/12) all charges against the Caledonia Eight – arrested Dec 03/11 for ‘trespassing’ on a county road running through the occupied Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia – were dropped by the specially-chosen prosecutor brought in to handle the cases.

The McGuinty government had threatened to arrest non-native protesters who attempted to enter the natives-only ‘no go zone’ which even the OPP cannot enter without permission from the occupiers. Eight of us lined up, one-by-one, to be arrested for refusing to obey the OPP’s order to leave the road known as Syrie Street.

The prosecutor, after reviewing the property deed supplied by Gary McHale showing that we were standing on a county-owned road, and not on the racially-segregated, provincially-owned land, informed the judge that he was withdrawing the charge because there was “no reasonable prospect of conviction.”

In court showing their support for the Caledonia Eight were a number of Caledonia residents and three members of the Hamilton-based Never Again Group.   

120203 Gary McHale speaks to reporters in lobby of Haldimand Admin bldg after charges vs. Caledonia Eight are droppedWe moved to the entrance lobby where various journalists interviewed Gary McHale, and then moved outside so they could take our picture.

This was a stunning defeat for the government and OPP who have been eager to find any pretext under which to target and arrest non-native protesters in order to appease native occupiers. With his latest arrest on Jan 27th Gary McHale has now been arrested 5 times and had 2 criminal charges laid, all of which have been withdrawn by the Crown before trial.   

Unbelievably, however, the police are completely undeterred from their mission to target us during our next march planned for Feb 18th:

“[OPP officer] Foster said police will be monitoring the Feb. 18 rally, but warned “as soon as (the Caledonia Eight group) comes on to the property, it causes unrest and that’s the beginning of disturbing the peace.””

In other words, instead of being suitably embarrassed and modifying their racist policies, the OPP plan moving forward is to continue to blame the law-abiding, non-native victims for being targets of thugs who stop them from exercising their rights. 

As one supporter who was in the court to witness the dropping of the charges wrote to me after reading the Spec article:

“I read that article with the same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach – it smacks of targeted discrimination and premeditation against their own civilians – they are making the wrong assumptions for all the wrong reasons to protect the rights of criminals to engage in lawlessness and violent acts. The inmates have not only taken over the asylum, they also have the guards on their side.”

Yes, they most certainly have.

It is long past time for the OPP and Ontario government to admit their mistakes and take steps to make sure the crimes against democracy committed in Haldimand County never happen again. Here’s how:

  • The Caledonia Act – Issues & Recommendations’ [PDF (begins p2)]

The ‘Caledonia Eight’

120203 The Caledonia Eight pose on the lawn of the Haldimand Admin building after trespassing charges dropped. L to R: Bonnie Stephens, Mark Vandermaas, Jeff Parkinson, Randy Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Doug Fleming, Gary McHale, Jack Van Halteren

(L to R: Bonnie Stephens, Mark Vandermaas, Jeff Parkinson, Randy Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Doug Fleming, Gary McHale, Jack Van Halteren)

VoC Comment

1. A big thank you to the Caledonia residents and Never Again Group members who have boosted our morale with your support!

2. We can never allow those charged with upholding the law to use it as a tool of injustice, but we must oppose them peacefully and with a willingness to accept the penalty: 

180px-martin_luther_king_-_march_on_washington.jpg“I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

3. Our next march through the Douglas Creek Estates on the county-owned Syrie Street will take place on Feb 18th. at 2pm. We gather at the south side of Lions Park/Arena in Caledonia. 

References

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas
Editor, VoiceofCanada
Founder, Caledonia Victims Project (www.CaledoniaVictimsProject.ca)
info@voiceofcanada.ca

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4 responses to “Charges dropped against Caledonia Eight, but OPP undeterred

  1. Pingback: Charges dropped against Caledonia Eight, but racist police plan to continue their targeted discrimination — mooseandsquirrel.ca

  2. Congratulations Mark, Garry et al. Another vindication for the truth of your protestations. As you say, the reptiles running the injustice system learned nothing – tyrants and goons seldom do until they get a taste of their own tyranny.

    Anyway, this is the police mindset that absolutely enrages me : “as soon as (the Caledonia Eight group) comes on to the property, it causes unrest and that’s the beginning of disturbing the peace.”

    WTF is that twisted reptilian reasoning? The victims are responsible for the criminal violence against them? You are to blame for inciting criminal attack by exercising your charter rights? This may be a scriped blerb the meat heads at street level are told to regurgitate by their political masters but I think some really believe it. Personally I believe no honest, moral man could carry out the orders given police in Caledonia. It would be too much of a compromise of principles to enforce reverse criminality and race based policing.

    Soldier on you brave souls justice will prevail some day.

  3. Pingback: All charges against ‘the Caledonia 8′ have been dropped – again « Xanthippa's Chamberpot

  4. Pingback: Caledonia Lawsuits & Court Actions | Caledonia Victims Project