Editorial by Chris Pickup

The Regional

February 25, 2009

I have had a couple of phone calls from people wanting to know why we are publishing articles written by the devil incarnate, Gary McHale. I wondered myself about McHale before I met him and found a pleasant, intelligent man with some strong views on law and order and the even-handed practice thereof, and not at all the rabid activist OPP chief Julian Fantino has painted him. I believe he has some things to say that speak to all of us. The Regional News This Week does not pay McHale for his columns, and his viewpoints are his own.

McHale believes, as do some 7,000 people from this community who signed Ken Hewitt’s petition for an enquiry into the OPP and in particular Julian Fantino, that police shouldn’t be standing around with their hands in their pockets while natives assault an elderly couple, two TV cameramen and our own reporter Bill Jackson, all for the crime of taking photographs, and wait to charge them after the fact. Ignoring violence while it is happening just encourages more violence. Witness what happened to Dana Chatwell and Dave Brown’s family during the past three years. Witness what happened to developer Joe [should be Sam] Gualtieri, who nearly died and will probably never recover to his full potential.

How many of us were furious about the unlawful smoke shacks set up right off the main street in Caledonia, selling cigarettes to minors. McHale was assaulted by a native while protesting that smoke shack and apparently his just being there set up such a fury in Fantino that he sent out an email exhorting his colleagues to find something, anything, to charge McHale with. The ridiculous charge finally drummed up was counseling to commit mischief not committed, and resulted in McHale being banned from the community. Meanwhile Fantino gave a glowing character reference in court to that same native indicating McHale was responsible for his own assault.

This is dangerous stuff. Just who is telling police, sworn to serve and protect, not to do their job? Are any of us safe?

Meanwhile, McHale is now wending his lonely way, via a writ of mandamus, through the court system to try and make someone accountable for how the police, and certain justice officials, have behaved. I believe he, and we, deserve to have his voice heard.