Category Archives: Christie Blatchford

Christie Blatchford profiles Caledonia hero Merlyn Kinrade

Merlyn Kinrade, arrested Dec 03/11 as one of 'Caledonia Eight.' PHOTO by Steve Scheffer, Never Again Group “Caledonia, Ont. — The fight for justice in Caledonia has cost him at least $40,000 and an incalculable toll on his health but even now, at 76 and with the cancer in his bones, Merlyn Kinrade is unrepentant and without regret.”

  • National Post, Christie Blatchford, Jan 04/12: No regrets in the battle for justice in Caledonia

070120 Merlyn Kinrade holds Cdn flag for Mark Vandermaas near Cdn Tire in Caledonia.Christie Blatchford, author of Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear And Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us, has published an inspiring profile CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade, a staunch ally in the struggle for justice since Jan 20/07 when he — as described in Helplessfirst clambered up the side of a hill near Canadian Tire when I asked for a volunteer to hold my Canadian flag (photo, L) while I gave my ‘Blue Beret’ speech.

Through Blatchford, Merlyn reveals publicly what we have known privately for some time: he is battling cancer that is spreading through his body, and that he has no regrets whatsoever about taking time away from his wife and daughter to fight for justice in his community and country.  

Merlyn Kinrade, arrested Dec 03/11 as one of 'Caledonia Eight.' PHOTO by Steve Scheffer, Never Again Group

Blatchford’s article references a day when he blocked traffic for 40 minutes (after the road was first blocked by native protesters) even though he was sick with hives. This was Dec 01/07, the day we were attacked by Six Nations smokeshack supporters at a protest against one of the illegal ventures…when Gary McHale and Jeff Parkinson were sent to hospital, and I was also assaulted (but uninjured). The picture below is of Merlyn holding a sign that day (which  I made) that says, ‘TWO TIER JUSTICE VICTIMIZES NATIVE PEOPLE TOO!’ I use this image as part of my header at the Caledonia Victims Project site where you can read more about it.

071201 Merlyn Kinrade holding sign during anti-illegal smokeshack protest, Caledonia. 'TWO TIER JUSTICE VICTIMIZES NATIVE PEOPLE TOO!'

Photo credits

Blatchford’s National Post article includes two photos of Merlyn being arrested as one of the Caledonia Eight on Dec 03/11. They are credited to Never Again Group member Steve Scheffer who has come to Caledonia on several occasions to support our protests. 

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Blatchford on McHale bail hearing: ‘law in Haldimand County operates as the law in America’s Deep South once worked’

crowd_laughing_at_village_idiot.jpg“…the law in Haldimand County operates as the law in America’s Deep South once worked, where there was one law for the white man, who could break it with impunity, and another for the black man. In Haldimand County, since the occupation began, there has been one law for natives and another for non-natives.”  Christie Blatchford, Globe & Mail, May 04/11

On Wednesday, May 04/11 I was present at the Cayuga courthouse  where Gary McHale was representing himself at a hearing into the bail restrictions imposed by the OPP after they arrested him for allegedly assaulting Tom Keefer – the ringleader of the anti-Caledonia coalition of unionists, anarchists, anti-capitalists and anti-Israel crowd that has supported native lawlessness in the Haldimand Tract since 2006.

Helpless author Christie Blatchford was there, too, covering the hearing for the Globe & Mail. She wrote what is simply a ‘must-read’ article that included strong commentary on the regressive nature of the OPP/McGuinty civil rights abuses in Caledonia as revealed by the unmitigated silliness of the testimony by McHale’s arresting officer – Detective-Constable Wesley Barnes – who had testified in an earlier bail review session on April 19/11.

The Crown, after reviewing the transcript of the officer’s testimony during the lunch break on Wednesday, decided to drop all travel restrictions against McHale. After reviewing the excerpt below readers will understand why.

Blatchford on the ‘ridiculous’ testimony by McHale’s arresting officer

HelplessByBlatchford project, Nov 22/10: CANACE video - Christie Blatchford on targeting of "law abiding" McHale by "prime minister's new best friend"“Last month in the Ontario Court of Justice, Mr. McHale attempted to vary his travel restrictions, and in the the course of a lengthy proceeding, questioned OPP Detective-Constable Wesley Barnes, the man who had arrested him and drawn up the colour map laying out his own personal no-go zone. Now it may be that there is somewhere a police officer who has looked more ridiculous by this own testimony, but I can’t think of one offhand.”

Here is an excerpt from the testimony by Det.-Const. Barnes on April 19/11 during cross -examination by Gary McHale. It begins at the bottom of page 43  of the transcript (page 44 of the PDF doc):

[Gary McHale] Q.  …let’s take Plank Road and 5th Line.

[Det-Cst. Barnes] A.  Yes, sir.

Q. Can you explain why I can’t go to that particular intersection?

A. Because there have been protests there before, sir.

Q. Can you name when?

A. I can’t name the, exact date, no.

Q. Can you name who did the protest?

question-mark_cartoon.jpegA. No, sir, I can’t.

Q. Can you name what happened, describe what happened?

A. There was a protest. There was a confrontation. I don’t know all the details, all of them, sir.

Q. So are you, are you even aware whether Tom Keefer was there?

A. I’m not aware of Tom Keefer…

Q. Or were you, are you aware that I was there?

A. No, sir, I’m not.

Q. So in actual fact, you’re unaware of whether or not any of the witnesses, or a victim, or me were at this unspecified rally that you get, don’t have a date for?

A. All I know, it’s one in the fall, sir.

Q. Okay.

A. Or it wasn’t a rally. It was a confrontation, not a rally.

Q. What was the confrontation?

A. I don’t know.

Q. Then how do you know there was one?

A. I was working that day. There was something happened.

Q. Well what day?

A. I don’t recall the specific day, sir.

Q. This is, this is really quite vague.

A. It is, yes.

Q. You’re, you’re working on a day…

A. It’d be sometime since I came back from August.

Q. You can’t, you – just a second, wait for my…

A. Sorry.

Q. You’re working on a day, you can’t describe what took place, don’t know who’s there, can’t remember the date, can’t describe the confrontation, but something happened  to say that, enough for you to say that I should be restricted from that area?

A. It’s be sometime since August, when I returned to Haldimand County, around August, I think the second week of August.

Q. Of what year?

A. Of 2010. And I’m not sure that, whether it was in the fall, I believe it was in the fall. There have been a few rallies there and confrontations.

Q. What’s at that spot that would cause a rally?

A. I don’t know, sir. I don’t know, I don’t know why we have the rallies when we have them. I don’t know why we have the confrontations where we do.

Q. So let’s take the McKenzie and York Road intersection. What happened over in that area?

A. I don’t recall, sir.

Eventually, the Crown objects to the continuing focus on the officer’s lack of knowledge about his reasons for restricting McHale’s travel within Caledonia and the judge overrules the objection saying:

REASONS FOR RULING

KIVEL J.P. (Orally):

“I, the Officer’s saying he used it as a geographical boundary to, probably to encompass a particular area that he’s referring to. Conversely, McHale is suggesting that if there’s been no history or any issues over there, why does it, necessary to prevent me from using that roadway. I, I think it’s important to appreciate that an officer in charge, setting terms and conditions, would be able to justify the restrictions that he is imposing, and I think Mr. McHale is challenging some of those, some of those conditions. And, Mr. McHale, I would agree that you, your issues raised are, are important.”

  • Ontario Court of Justice, Cayuga, April 19/11: Transcript of McHale bail variation hearing [PDF, 125P]

Blatchford compares justice in Caledonia to U.S. Deep South

Birmingham_may04-63_dogs“In the Ontario government’s continuing war on Gary McHale, the day will stand as another small notch in his belt.”

“…the law in Haldimand County operates as the law in America’s Deep South once worked, where there was one law for the white man, who could break it with impunity, and another for the black man. In Haldimand County, since the occupation began, there has been one law for natives and another for non-natives.”

March 27/11: 4 OPP officers watch DCE occupiers destroy our Truth & Reconciliation/Apology monument, and then insert Six Nations flags in the side of the base before buring the monument and our Canadian flag.“…it’s also clear that the state remains interested in stopping or silencing him – not because of anything he does, but rather because his presence irritates natives and their supporters such that, God forbid, passions may be inflamed and people reminded of the shame which unfolded here.”

VoC Comment

1. Well said, Ms. Blatchford, and thank you for taking time to travel to Cayuga to watch the latest episode of racial policing exposed. Even though Tom Keefer, the alleged victim, lives in Toronto and even though the alleged assault took place at the south end of town, nowhere near the Lions Hall where we have held the majority of our rallies, the OPP’s Det-Cst. Barnes made the Lions Hall off limits to McHale. Clearly, the restrictions were not designed to protect the alleged victim, but rather they were intended to prevent McHale from organizing and speaking at protests in Caledonia.

2. McHale made a point of thanking the Crown Attorney on the record for doing the right thing after reading the transcript of the OPP’s foolish attempt to once again abuse their authority to silence free speech. In the past the Crown has been all too willing to go along with the OPP’s nonsense, so it was quite a pleasant surprise when she agreed to end the travel restrictions. I thank her, too.

3. One of the key issues also raised by McHale, as shown in the transcript, is the OPP laying of a charge against the victim (McHale) of a trespasser (Keefer) in the first place in direct defiance of the Criminal Code. While Det.-Cst. Barnes arrested McHale for exercising his lawful right to remove trespassers from private property under Section 41 of the Criminal Code, he did NOT charge Tom Keefer with trespassing or charge him with assault after resisting McHale’s attempt to remove him. 

March 27/11 - Native occupiers of Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia burn our Truth & Reconciliation/Apology monument and our Canadian flag within minutes of attacking us - all while OPP officers watchedDespite having received complaints Barnes has also refused to lay charges against the native man who assaulted me on Feb 27th, and who assaulted Jeff Parkinson on March 27/11 was filming the native destruction of our Truth & Reconciliation ‘Apology’ monument.

The OPP has consistently refused to protect non-natives from native occupiers and/or their anarchist supporters – just look at the pictures and watch the video from our two Truth & Reconciliation rally where the OPP watched as we were swarmed and our Apology monument stolen, destroyed and burnt, along with our Canadian flag. If you watch closely, you’ll see a man drag our monument off the middle of the road after it was kicked there by a crazed native woman – he’s a plainclothed member of the OPP’s Provincial Liaison Team.

On Feb 27/11 it was the anarchists/anti-Israel/anti-capitalist crowd that the OPP allowed to harass us after refusing to remove them from the private property we were on – which we were forced to relocate to in the first place because they refused to separate them from us even though they were notifed these radicals were being bused in to confront us.

We are making progress, but make no mistake about it: OPP race-based policing is as alive and well in Haldimand County as it was on Feb 28, 2006.

References

University of Waterloo takes a stand for free speech and Christie Blatchford’s Caledonia story

101207 UW Blatchford ticket stubsChristie Blatchford’s presentation at the University of Waterloo on Tuesday night went off without a hitch, without even a whimper of protest from Dan Kellar or the other self-appointed censors who intimidated the university into cancelling her scheduled Nov 12/10 appearance before it even began, and had promised to disrupt her second vist.

The Kitchener Record has a very good account of the evening for so I am free to devote this piece to giving credit where it is due – to the University of Waterloo, not only for ultimately defending academic freedom and freedom of speech, but for its masterful public relations work.

Before continuing, however, I feel compelled to share what many who have read Helpless and/or experienced the OPP’s race-based policing policies in Caledonia firsthand might regard as the quote of the evening (just one of many superb Blatchford-isms to which we were treated):

“The election of former OPP chief Julian Fantino – who she blames for abandoning the rule of law in Caledonia – to a federal seat in Vaughan “makes me want to slit my wrists,” she said.

DEFENDING FREE SPEECH:
Christie Blatchford and the University of Waterloo

Most observers agree that UW got caught flat-footed on Nov 12th by a small group of goons who should have been handcuffed and dragged out in order to preserve the precious academic freedom that is the lifeblood of an institution upon which policy makers rely for scholarly scrutiny of vital issues of local and national concern.

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CANACE video – Blatchford on Caledonia and targeting of McHale by “prime minister’s new best friend”

Christie Blatchford, Chedoke Presbyterian church, Nov 16/10, Hamilton, ON

Christie Blatchford, Chedoke Presbyterian church, Nov 16/10, Hamilton, ON

Jeff Parkinson, co-founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), has released a short video containing highlights from Christie Blatchford’s speech to a packed crowd at  Chedoke Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ontario on Nov 16/10.

In addition to commenting on the “national disgrace” of  the lawlessness OPP officers refused to stop, she decries the targeting of Gary McHale by Julian Fantino: 

“Fantino’s extraordinary campaign to hunt down and have arrested a man named Gary McHale – who is here tonight, too – culminated in the OPP boss writing a letter of support for a native man who had assaulted McHale was probably un-precedented and was deeply disturbing. Consider how furious women would be if the justice system reverted to the days of old when a rapist should defend himself by saying, ‘Geez your Honour, she was wearing these high boots and a short skirt.’ Thats the equivalent of what Fantino did. He wrote a letter to the court in support of the man who pleaded guilty of punching McHale and said McHale had been asking for it.

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University of Waterloo apologizes to Christie Blatchford: “freedom to speak and to learn is fundamental”

The University of Waterloo has issued a strongly worded apology to Helpless author Christie Blatchford after a small group of students were able to intimidate the university into cancelling her Nov 12/10 appearance at the Humanities Theatre:

Apology after author is silenced  

University officials issued a statement yesterday in the wake of a Friday night incident in which Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford was prevented from speaking at a scheduled event in the Humanities Theatre.

A group of protesters took exception to what they called the “racist” attitude of her book Helpless, which deals with the four-year standoff over native land claims in the village of Caledonia in Ontario’s Haldimand County. Blatchford had been invited to campus by the university bookstore to speak about her book. After some time, it was announced that her talk would be rescheduled.

The events of the evening were live-blogged by the Wilfrid Laurier University student newspaper The Cord, and got some media attention yesterday.

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Shoddy Caledonia journalism continues: Toronto Sun reporter didn’t read ‘Helpless’ before publishing OPP rebuttal to Blatchford, Worthington allegations

UPDATE: Peter Worthington responds:  Peter Worthington uses Ipperwash Papers report to put the lie to McGuinty’s Ipperwash Inquiry ‘defence re Caledonia
———————-

VoiceofCanada has learned that Toronto Sun reporter Joe Warmington had not read Christie Blatchford’s newly released book exposing OPP racial policing practices in Caledonia prior to publishing a Nov 01/10 story devoted to giving OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis a chance to rebut the shocking allegations made by her in Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us, and in a subsequent review by Toronto Sun founder Peter Worthington.

[…]As the current leader of the OPP, and one with a deep understanding of the issues surrounding the Douglas Creek Estates conflict, it is very frustrating to hear and read one-sided views of incredibly complex, volatile and resource-intensive events,” Lewis said in an interview Monday.

The critics have spoken. Now it’s the Commish’s turn.

As the then-deputy commissioner of field operations who accepts “responsibility for the past and present operations of our service,” Lewis said he feels he has to stand up for the OPP in the wake of tough criticism coming from legendary Sun columnist Peter Worthington and Globe and Mail icon Christie Blatchford, whose new bestselling book, Helpless, offers scathing condemnation. […]

Joe Warmington appearance on Bill Kelly Show

Warmington appeared on the Bill Kelly Show on Nov 02/10 to discuss his column. Not only does he never mention the critical fact that he hadn’t read Helpless (just as he neglected to do in his article) , he contradicts his own Feb 21/08 story in which he declared, “The lawlessness that went on down there should not have been condoned or accepted by anybody” and, at the close of the interview he portrays himself as a defender of freedom of the press for helping to tell the OPP’s side of the story:

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Regional News (Caledonia): Fantino nomination ‘bloody disgraceful’

Regional News reporter Bill Jackson takes notes at Oct 13/10 Caledonia debate

Regional News reporter Bill Jackson takes notes at Oct 13/10 Caledonia debate

Reporter Bill Jackson, himself a victim of an assault by native protesters in Caledonia, provided this editorial comment in the Oct 20/10 edition of the Caledonia-based Regional News, which serves Haldimand County:

Regional News – Comment [PDF]
by Bill Jackson
Oct 20/10

I echo the sentiment urging people to get out on Oct. 25 and exercise their democratic right as voters. It is a trite cliché, but nonetheless true. A strong voice is needed in Haldimand now, more than ever.

Yet it’s easy to understand how people have lost their faith in government, especially when someone like Julian Fantino gets nominated as a candidate for the federal Conservatives. After years of lawlessness and two-tiered justice in Caledonia under his watch, countless letters and phone calls pleading with upper levels of government to do something to protect local residents, and Conservatives themselves saying that the province needed to uphold the law, it’s bloody disgraceful. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, local MP Diane Finley and the entire federal Conservative Party should be ashamed. There’s simply no way around it.

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