by Gary McHale - The Regional
July 27, 2011
Often powerful people believe they can say and do anything because average citizens don't have the resources to fight back. Until I got involved in Caledonia I never experienced just how much some people can hate, can so easily lie and defame other people and how people will viciously denounce someone who stands for fundamental principles like Equality and Justice for all. Historically, those in positions of power who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, and even the general public acting out of fear will attack those who expose injustice instead of those who commit the injustice.
It wasn't long after Julian Fantino became Commissioner of the OPP that he started a campaign of publicly attacking people who spoke out. Fantino had some success by threatening Haldimand Council in general and Councilor Grice in particular. Others didn't give in to Fantino's tactics. One of Fantino's primary focuses was making outrageous attacks on me where he made wild statements about my motives. However, he wasn't the only one.
During the week of Jan. 15th 2007 the OPP, the OPP Association and Haldimand County all issued press releases directly attacking me. It has taken four years but my attackers have had to admit that much of what they said was untrue.
Even Mr. Fantino, who emailed his officers telling them they had to find a way to stop my "agenda of inciting violence", was forced in Nov. 2010 to tell the court that there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that I had an agenda to incite violence. One of Fantino's more wild statements was during his interview with the Hamilton Spectator in a story titled "Fantino takes aim" - you can guess who Fantino was aiming at.
Fantino stated, "We don’t use the police as the army of occupation. Look what’s happening in Pakistan for goodness sakes. And that’s what the expectation is that a lot of people have, including McHale and company. But you know they want to see this thing escalate to a violent outcome, and for what? For a piece of land."
Somehow, in Fantino's mind, because the Pakistan government was shooting protesters 'McHale and company" wanted to see the same thing happening in Caledonia. The fact that the Pakistan government was refusing to uphold the rule of law which lead to the killing of protesters escaped Fantino's notice. It is the failure of governments to uphold the rule of law that causes so much harm world-wide. This is the reason why the United Nations states the following:
"Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels is at the heart of the United Nations’ mission. Establishing respect for the rule of law is fundamental to achieving a durable peace in the aftermath of conflict, to the effective protection of human rights, and to sustained economic progress and development. The principle that everyone – from the individual right up to the State itself – is accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, is a fundamental concept which drives much of the United Nations work."
I guess in Fantino's mind the UN is attempting to escalate violence since they want laws that apply to everyone which are equally enforced and independently adjudicated. It appears Fantino believes appeasement brings peace while the UN believes the Rule of Law brings peace.
On Jan. 19, 2007 Karl Walsh issued a press release on behalf of the OPP Association the day before our planned flag raising event. Walsh's outrageous statements resulted in a lawsuit which now has been settled out of court. The press release stated, "the people behind these protests are not from the area... they are acting on a sustained basis to push an aggressive political agenda that includes promoting hatred, flaunting the justice system and inciting violence."
One wonders how standing up for equality of all people and demanding an end to the lawlessness is an 'aggressive political agenda'. Four years later and thanks to John Findlay this case was recently settled. Mr. Walsh is required to issue an OPPA press release stating:
"On January 19, 2007, the OPPA issued a Press Release concerning protests in Caledonia. It has been suggested that the Press Release was critical of Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas. The OPPA had no reason to believe that Gary McHale or Mark Vandermaas were promoting hatred, flaunting the judicial system or inciting violence by organizing a demonstration in Caledonia."
Part of the reason, I believe, this case was settled was because of Christie Blatchford's book HELPLESS. Karl Walsh is recorded making numerous negative statements about how OPP brass failed both the residents and individual officers. I can only assume that Walsh came to believe that whoever provided him false information about Vandermaas and me was seriously wrong and he didn't want a trial.
I can't say for sure whether Fantino pressured Haldimand County and the OPPA to join him on his mission to defame people but I can say that in Fantino's threatening email to Haldimand Council he states, "when I appeared before you several months back I came away believing that we had a mutual understanding about... McHale and his followers..."
Exactly what 'mutual understanding' did council have with Fantino I have not been able to determine - they are silent about the details. The county did issue a press release in the same week the OPPA and OPP did. However, ex-Mayor Marie Trainer did testify in court that the press release, on county letterhead, was written by the OPP and not by the County.
While Haldimand Council can try to claim they were in control of county business, there is increasing evidence that it was the OPP and McGuinty government pulling the strings. Local police services are delivered, by law, by the local Police Service Board which has done nothing to ensure the OPP upholds the law. The newly elected Council has done little to get the Board to exercise control over the OPP.
The little guy can win. In the end, we are still exposing the injustice while the OPP, Haldimand Council and the OPP Association have been silent for the last few years. Truth and justice will prevail if you never surrender you principles.