“The officers mentioned here chose to watch crimes being committed and, in most cases, chose to arrest the victims of the crimes instead of the criminals. In my view, they have violated their own consciences, violated their oath before God, violated their duty to the community, and violated the very foundation of what a democracy is supposed to be … They made their choices and history should remember them accordingly.”
On February 28, 2006, a group of Native protestors from the Six Nations reserve occupied the Douglas Creek Estates housing development in the small non-Native community of Caledonia, Ontario. The protestors’ point was that the land had never been legally ceded by the Six Nations to the British Crown, and therefore could not legitimately be developed by Henco Industries.
Worried about the bad press they would likely receive if they forcibly removed and charged the protestors—who would be joined, over the next weeks and months, by armed Mohawk Warriors, union organizers, pro-Palestinian activists, and drug- and people-smugglers from across the continent—the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) failed to act on several court orders to remove them. Native land claims are a politically potent, guilt-laden issue in Canada, and the OPP did not want a repeat of a previous stand-off, some ten years earlier, in Ipperwash Provincial Park, where one of the protestors was accidentally killed by police.
By the time the OPP did make their move in Caledonia, nearly two months after the occupation began, the occupiers’ numbers and resolve had increased to such an extent that they were able to fight police off, in the process injuring three officers. From that point on, chaos came to Caledonia, with the highway dug up, hydro towers cut down, fires set on private property, a bridge burnt down, the power station firebombed, objects hurled onto a road from an overpass, numerous death threats issued, police officers assaulted and held hostage, and residents and reporters, including an elderly couple and an 86-year-old war veteran, harassed, swarmed, and beaten up. Set back on their heels, the police resorted to negotiating with the self-proclaimed peaceful protestors, trying to put a good spin on their inability to restore order. The provincial government under Premier Dalton McGuinty tried to buy peace by purchasing Douglas Creek Estates and authorizing the protestors to live there (at taxpayers’ expense), but the mayhem merely escalated as protestors fought amongst themselves and with the community.
Thus began for the non-Native residents of Caledonia a long ordeal, still not entirely resolved, during which they were subjected to daily inconvenience, humiliation, vandalism, blockades of their streets, frequent gunfire, sleep deprivation, and physical violence, with almost no charges laid and often with the police standing by and watching as the law was flouted by the Natives and their leftist allies. On some occasions, the police even assisted the protestors to set up their barricades. Mohawk and Palestinian flags began to appear around the occupied site, but non-Natives who sought to symbolically reclaim the territory with a Canadian flag were arrested “to prevent a breach of the peace.” Non-Natives who tried to prod the police into acting were called troublemakers or racists, and threatened with retaliatory arrest and lawfare. Sam Gaultieri, a resident of Caledonia, was beaten so badly by Native thugs who had invaded his property that he was left with permanent brain damage.
As the protest dragged on for months and then years, Caledonia became the face of the new normal of politically correct policing in Canada, under which Native lawbreakers can act with impunity while non-Natives cannot rely on the agents of the law to protect their homes, businesses, or their physical safety. The mainstream media either ignored the story or focused almost exclusively on Native grievances. Only Christie Blatchford, National Post journalist, believed it a story worth investigating fully; she published her account of the fiasco, Helpless, in 2010.
Gary McHale, who was living in Toronto in 2006, became involved in Caledonia out of a sense of Christian duty, the desire to see everyone’s rights protected under Canadian law. Recognizing that it was futile to expect police and their government masters to reform themselves, he began with a tiny group of associates (Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality) to develop strategies to expose the racist policing that was ongoing in Caledonia and to shame authorities into taking action.
By allowing himself to be arrested over and over again, by filming police complicity with Native law-breaking, by meticulously documenting police procedures designed to paralyze and silence law-abiding residents, by learning the law and defending himself against a 30-month frivolous prosecution for “Counselling Mischief Not Committed,” a prosecution intended to bankrupt him, by mastering the procedures of citizen’s arrest and citizen’s charges, and above all by refusing to allow frustration, despair, and anger to overcome his resolve or cloud his judgement—even when it meant enduring physical assault without retaliation, while the police watched—Gary McHale became a force to be reckoned with in Caledonia: the nemesis of Commissioner Julian Fantino, Chief of the Ontario Provincial Police, and an unlikely champion of the power of powerlessness.
McHale gave himself body and soul to the cause: he lived and breathed Caledonia for the next seven years, enduring significant hardship as a result. He was arrested nine times, was held in jail overnight without charge, had his named smeared repeatedly in the mainstream media, was harassed and beaten by Native protesters, lost his life savings, had to defend himself against a 7.1 million dollar lawsuit launched against him by the OPP, was charged with a made-up crime in order to keep him out of Caledonia, and experienced on a daily basis the world-turned-upside-down reality of a politically correct organization in which race determines who can commit crime with impunity and whose suffering is of no account.
McHale accepted the continual arrests, jailings, the hounding and humiliation out of a conviction that the system could not sustain its corrupt course indefinitely and that ultimately the spectacle of innocence abused would galvanize key people and turn the tide of public opinion. His Christian faith helped him to separate his anger over the injustice from feelings about individuals—and he writes now, over seven years into the ordeal, with a sense of satisfaction in what he has achieved and with hope for the future, as well as with a wonderful sense of humour.
His account of what happened, Victory in the No-Go Zone, is an astounding book—one that almost certainly would never have seen the light of day if not for Freedom Press Canada, a small conservative publishing house that addresses subjects others won’t touch. The accumulated evidence of police corruption and of the triumph of victim ideology over effective or just law enforcement is often staggering. One can hardly believe this is Canada. McHale tells the story with just the right mix of anger, insouciance, and righteous passion. He is brilliant in his analysis, a la Martin Luther King Jr., of the inverse logic that tars men as racist bigots when they call for equal treatment, and blames innocent citizens for “inciting” violence through peaceful demonstrations. His character as a man of God, and as someone who has thought through his own principles and convictions and believes in himself whatever the whole world tells him, colors every page and makes his book an inspiring document of perseverance and integrity.
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