It starts out pretty ‘vanilla’, but then it gets more colourful…
For those not familiar with Ontario politics: for the last 6 years, the community of Caledonia has been torn apart by violence as a native land claim had led to armed occupation, division of the municipality, violence and police response where law-abiding citizens were arrested for wanting to go home, because this might provoke a violent reaction from armed native occupiers. The non-native residents of Caledonia were not the only victims: as armed ‘warriors’ from across Canada flooded to Caledonia to flex their muscle, the law-abiding citizens of the 5 Nations Reservation were equally victimized as incidents of rape and other violence were swept under the rug while the armed thugs bullied the community…
Mr. Hudak himself is a bit of an enigma…
He is very charismatic in person – that much is undeniable.
Still, the last election was his to lose – and he did lose it, spectacularly.
On the same issue that his predecessor did: religion in schools.
Conservatives in Canada must learn to separate religion from their policies or they will never be trusted by voters enough to be voted into power. Mr. Hudak failed there and handed the despicable McGuinty the election victory.
Still, coming into conflict-riddled Caledonia took a lot of guts – and Hudak has raised my opinion of him both for going there and for what he had said.
Unfortunately, Mr. McHale – the man who has led the fight in Caledonia for equality before the law and against race-based policing – he behaved badly (in my never-humble-opinion).
Perhaps he was disappointed that a politician did not behave like an activist….just like his expectations that Mr. Hudak could rid us of the Ontario Human Rights Commission while he was a leader of the opposition were just a little outside of what was possible. He certainly did not come across as the reasonable warrior for equality whose speech in Ottawa I liked and whom I admired.
Merlin – the vet who was interviewed at the end of the video – he got the measure of the situation just right!
This is the result when we stop remembering the proper roles for police, the military and the government.
The reason we have police is to uphold the laws of the land. That is, they are the instrument of force the State uses against its civilian population to maintain its monopoly on lawmaking within their territory. Basic, simple and clear, right?
The only legitimate role for a police force is to uphold the law – equally and without discrimination.
The only legitimate role for a police officer is to uphold the laws within the policing framework, and it is each individual officer’s personal responsibility to ensure they are not upholding the laws unequally or obeying illegal orders. This is essential because it is the front-line police officers who are the agents of the state within this: that is why they are the only ones who can safeguard this powerful force from corruption.
When exactly did the role of the police become re-defined from ‘enforcing the law of the land’ to ‘maintaining public peace’?
Because ‘maintaining public peace’ is not the same thing as ‘upholding the laws of the land’. If a crowd is upset by the presence of a witch, the easiest, most cost-effective course of action for someone ‘maintaining public peace’ is to simply burn the witch!
Most moral people would have a problem with this approach…
Yet, this is exactly what the OPP are doing in Caledonia: faced with an angry mob, they target the person the mob is angry at instead of maintaining order by upholding the laws of the land!
People who are willing to tolerate this approach to ‘maintaining peace’, who are ‘keeping their heads down’ in the conviction this will stop the mob from going after them should remember that in Eastern and Central Europe, the witch hunters sometimes killed every man, woman and child in a village they thought was infected with witchcraft.
The ‘peace of the tomb’ is not something our society ought to be striving for. Yet that is the logical result of the type of policing the OPP is practicing in Caledonia and many other places in Ontario!
Patterns of abuse.
When will some authority – any authority – acknowledge a pattern of abuse and put an end to it?
Let me paint a picture for you of a very nasty pattern of abuse of authority which has targeted a specific citizens and his associates:
Imagine being arrested for ‘trespassing’ for walking down a public street. While you are being arrested, you actually have proof with you that this is a county street – and therefore 100% it is public street, with no restrictions, so no act of trespassing is taking place.
In addition, since it is a county road and therefore not within the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police, even if someone were to trespass on it, these OPP officers would have no jurisdiction to arrest them for it.
But, the OPP are there in large numbers, heavily armed, and they arrest the small group of unarmed citizens anyway.
These citizens (including an army vet suffering from cancer) are handcuffed and driven off in OPP vehicles, processed and charged with trespassing.
They are forced to hire legal representation and appear in court.
Once they get to court – the group of citizens find all the charges against them have been withdrawn!
Because, as the prosecutor explains, there is no reasonable expectation that they would be found guilty…beause, well, they were on a public road where they had every right to be, and even had they been trespassing, the police officers who arrested them had no jurisdiction to do so…
Perhaps – in this one battle.
But, what if this happens over and over and over?
If the charges are withdrawn, these citizens have no opportunity to clear their name – and recover legal costs, much less damages!
And what does it say about our law enforcement agencies, that they are willing to perpetuate this abusive pattern of ‘catch-and-release’?!?!?
Now, more and more citizens are standing with him, being arrested with him – and being released when the bogus charges against them are dropped!
Please, ask yourself: should we, the people of Canada, tolerate this treatment of our citizens?
Just how badly is our system broken that such a lengthy pattern of this type of abusive of power can be established?
And exactly what can we, as citizens, do to stop this corruption?
How can we hold out authorities accountable?
Because we must – for all our sakes!
Gary McHale is fighting our fight!
Read the comentary at Voice Of Canada.
This video raises a number of things that I have been wondering about.
For example, the uniformed police officers do not display their badge numbers, making it impossible to identify them. Is this legal? If so, should it remain so?
Another question: what recourse does a population have if a police force either refuses to enforce the laws of the land or enforces illegal orders?
In my never-humble-opinion, the only way an organizational corruption of this scale can be tackled is by holding the individuals within the organization personally responsible for their actions, including holding them personally responsible for following illegal orders to the maximum level the law permits. Yes, this would mean legal action against individual police officers – if not criminal, then civil – even if these police officers are nice individuals. Still, if they follow an illegal order, they must be accountable for this breech of law.
Of course, these are easy words to type and there is a world of difference between writing this and actually doing something about it. Still, one ought to gather as much information first…
So, if you are knowledgable on this topic, please, comment and educate me on the laws, rules and procedures – and any other options legally available. It would be much appreciated.
Because to my way of thinking, this is not a ‘native/non-native’ issue: this is a policing issue and equality before the law issue!
UPDATE: Here is a comment posted by Mark Vandermaas, which, in my neve-humble-opinion, is important enough to bump it into the ‘body’ of the post:
The scary part of Caledonia is that all the organizations, gov’t and NGO, that should have been pro-active in protecting the rights of the innocent were unwilling or unable to help: Human Rights Commission; Ombudsman (wanted to help, but not allowed to get involved in police issues); the Opposition (oh, how we tried); the Federal govt (not only wouldn’t they help Harper annointed Fantino as PC candidate!); the OCCPS (old agency for Police Services Act complaints); Haldimand’s Police Services Board; Haldimand Council (other than former Mayor Trainer); Cdn Civil Liberties Association (repeatedly begged them for help to no avail).
It would be hard to list here everything we tried, but some of the key things that worked well were:
1. Dr. King’s methods of peacefully confronting injustice and forcing them to violate your rights (techniques that he learned from Gandhi to influence the media and the conscience of the nation. When one protests with dignity and is willing to be verbally abused and assaulted without retaliating there is very little defence to this approach. Using it we actually caused the union radicals, anarchists, anti-Israel groups and native militants to curb their violence and aggression because – as one of them said at an anarchist’s conference, we were making THEM look like the racists by applying Dr. King’s methods. Just as King did not demonize whites, we did not demonize native people as a group (the thugs would disagree, of course). We tried our best to ensure people knew that the thugs didn’t speak for the good people of 6N.
2. Civil Lawsuits to a degree. I say that because while there were some important court victories such as the $20M Caledonia Class Action, the Brown-Chatwell settlements and some victories achieved by us via the small claim and superior courts, the fact is that racial policing is still practiced and the gov’t, 6N and the OPP have never apologized or ammended their policies.
3. Private Prosecutions under the CCofC. You know, of course, that Gary M, despite not being a lawyer, convinced the courts to charge 5 individual police officers for offences such as Mischief, Influencing Municipal Official and Obstructing Justice, and even won a case at the Court of Appeal. This has reigned in their abuses quite effectively, but apparently, they still have more to learn.
We’ve tried just about everything during the last 5 years. in the end, it’s not one magic bullet. It’s ordinary people taking advantage of every opportunity when presented and, as Gary says, ‘withstanding the test of time’ (while you’re being vilified, assaulted, and arrested). And…don’t wait for anyone to come to help. But, that’s the wonderful thing! A small group of committed people with no money, no power and no connections really can make a huge difference.
Having said all this, there were some good people who did help and paid a price for doing so. At risk of leaving someone out and inadvertently insulting them, I won’t try to list them. But one guy who doesn’t get enough credit is lawyer John Findlay of the Class Action, a lawyer who represents us in several cases including one where he helped mediate a solution whereby the OPP union finally admitted in writing they had no evidence we were inciting hate and violence. Couldn’t have done it without him.
Sorry to go on so long. Thks for listening.
Readers who want to know more should visit the Caledonia: No More Nightmares page at http://www.HelplessByBlatchford.ca which has videos and notes from our 2011 presentation of the same name in Ottawa – where you and I met. Thanks for being there, and thks for the coverage.
Founder, Caledonia Victimis Project