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McLean addresses council, says time for truth

Jim Knisley, The Sachem
Published on Jun 19, 2009

OPP Inspector Dave McLean told Haldimand County Council Monday that Caledonia was being infected with "fabrications" and it was time people heard the truth.

Speaking directly to the issue of a smoke shack/information centre being set up on private land, he said reports of threats and intimidation of the landowner are a "total fabrication, total hogwash."

It was all based on a rumour and he said the OPP have an idea where the rumour started.

The OPP have spoken directly with the owner of the land and were told that it was "placed on his property with his agreement."

The man was aware of what he was doing, he was informed of the possible implications and consequences and "he would like to deal with it himself," McLean said.

There were "no threats, no intimidation. Word of threats and intimidation are entirely false," he said.

The man also knows what the possible consequences are if he allows the structure to remain.

One of those consequences is from the county whose bylaw enforcement division has sent the man a registered letter concerning violations of county bylaws.

Another rumour is that the OPP had to leave the smoke shack there because "we didn't want another Ipperwash."

"That is a total fabrication," he said.

McLean said he was speaking out because he hoped to "inject some truth on what is going on."

He said Caledonia and local businesses "don't need irresponsible individuals to hold a protest every second Sunday."

This must be bad for business, bad for tourism and bad for the community.

"We are asking people to do what they can to dissuade these individuals from stirring the pot," he said.

The OPP recognizes that people have a right to protest. The OPP's concern is over threats to disrupt the peace.

The May 24 flag-raising provides another example of unfounded rumour and fabrication.

The OPP met with the organizers of that protest and were told that one flag was to be raised. The OPP agreed to allow it.

Then it changed to three flags and the police again said yes. Then it changed to nine people and nine flags.

"It got absolutely ridiculous," he said.

The media is part of the problem as well. "If they took the time to stop being so one-sided they would get the truth," he said.

There are certain individuals trying to stir things up and they are using pseudonyms on their e-mails and blogs and are not being truthful.

It is difficult for the police to trace the rumors back to the source because much of what happens on the internet can be anonymous, but the police have an idea of who and where it's coming from.

The latest is the proposal to form something called the Caledonia militia. With heavy sarcasm he said: "The Caledonia militia, that is going to be very wonderful for Caledonia."

In an interview following his presentation to council, McLean said there are people out there "who want to stir up people who are on the brink of being stirred up."

The rumors are hurtful, they won't get the land claims settled and only make things worse for the public, businesses and police.

"The majority of people in Caledonia don't want this," he said.