The issue before us is not about Land Claims, an Occupation, or race relations. It’s about the constitutional right of “Freedom of Speech.” Throughout this entire ordeal in Caledonia I never thought I would need to defend this entrenched right. The right that gives every individual the power and protection to use their voice. At no time has this man, who we are here for today, spoken a racist word, commented on things he has no business discussing, or expressed hatred towards any individual. However, today we hear how he may be a discredit to his employer as he speaks out against the injustices placed before him and those he cares for.
He has stood tall, not for himself but for his neighbours and his community. Throughout the turbulent times alongside the Douglas Creek Estates, he sought to bring about a sense of security and provide a piece of mind to others. It was he who knocked on my door, telling me that if my family ever needed anything, he would be there. In fact, this truly courageous individual spoke to all of us in an effort to organize a call for help, as we all could see the O.P.P. with their hands tied. The gentleman I speak so highly of is David Hartless.
Today, Dave is being personally harassed and I believe unjustifiably investigated for discreditable conduct. I ask you, how can Mr. Hartless be a discredit to his employer, when he is seen as a community hero? Every employer, whether private or public asks of its’ employee(s) two things, be charitable and try to be involved with your community. Mr Hartless has exemplified himself in both these tasks which any employer should applaud not condemn. Mr Hartless has never brought his employer into any communication written or otherwise, yet he is being defamed for his relation with law. Again, I ask, what disrespect to the law, to his oath, to his office has he brought forth? He helped a community feel that it could stand and be safe if it acted together. That, I contend is leadership and promise you, brought hope to a battered neighbourhood!
It is only because he speaks for the application of the law, as facilitated by an officer’s oath and duty that he is censured today. I propose to you, that at any other time he would be celebrated by his employer for his direct involvement with those he lives closest too.
Mr Fantino stated only two short days ago that Provincial Police “will continue to assume our responsibilities for keeping the peace, and do what they can to mitigate consequences.” I would suggest to Mr. Fantino that it was, and is, Mr Hartless who has helped keep that peace by bringing my community together and dealing with the consequences that the O.P.P., the Province, and the Federal Government have allowed to exist in our backyards. Mr. Fantino goes on to explain that he and the Province are trying to get the Federal Government to understand the volatility that we are faced with, yet to me it’s clear that Mr Hartless, and his community, already understand this.
My wife and I, along with those that Mr Hartless has touched with his kindness, have a lot to thank his family for and it’s time we speak for them as he is being silenced. The O.P.P. has stepped beyond its’ mandate as it tries to quiet a private individual who has shown one thing; he cares more about his community than he does his professional career. I am honoured by knowing Dave, not only as a neighbour and a friend, but in the fact that he stands for the law and the safety of others he may not ever know. Dave loves his job and as a result carries his sworn oath as a badge of honour. A badge that he gives the outmost respect to. He does this all, in order to serve and protect.
Craig Grice Caledonia Councillor