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Conservatives Against Fantino

Category Archives: Caledonia Victims


Authored for the Landmark Report by ‘Kaffir Kanuck,’ a Canadian Forces veteran of Afghanistan

A-Native-Patrol-drives-by-in-a-red-pickup-in-front-of-the-Embassy-sign-invites-tourists-outside-the-barricade-remains1-300x202 (photo by Kaffir Kanuck)(My second part from Landmark Report. See here for Part 1)

(This is the second of two parts examining the Native occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia, Ontario. It is a result of interviews with activists Mark Vandermaas, Gary McHale and Merlyn Kinrade. It has been framed exploring what it has cost the Ontario taxpayer so far and how the OPP’s actions under their former Commissioner Julian Fantino and those of various stake holders may affect the federal election in two ridings.)

Behind the barricade remains, a Native patrol drives by in a red pickup in front of the press-board ramshackle “Embassy.” Outside DCE, a sign invites tourists.

(This is the second of two parts examining the Native occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia, Ontario. It is a result of interviews with activists Mark Vandermaas, Gary McHale and Merlyn Kinrade. It has been framed exploring what it has cost the Ontario taxpayer so far and how the OPP’s actions under their former Commissioner Julian Fantino and those of various stake holders may affect the federal election in two ridings.)

The Douglas Creek Estates were to be a bedroom community for Toronto and Hamilton. Small economic off shoots to strengthen the community were planned such as Chris Syries’ plans to open up a music school for 400 students. A class action suit is still under way representing the few businesses which have remained and are still fighting for justice.

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When I returned home last night after our final protest rally (that’s my wife and me to the right) prior to getting out most of the rest of the 60,000 ‘Conservatives Against Fantino’ brochures we have been blanketing Vaughan parking lots with during the past four weeks, there was an email from a journalist I respect asking simply, “Any predictions about byelection?”

Here is an updated, edited version of what I sent him:

PREDICTION? Well…first things first

I read in London Free Press recently that reporters were being told that Genco (Libs) people were telling them they expected to lose by a landslide of 10K. A CPC contact in Vaughan who was supporting Genco (the Liberal candidate) tells me the ‘source’ was a CPC plant and it was pure BS. Says Genco started down 20% but has now closed gap to pull even. (I seem to recall a Globe & Mail article w/similar stmt, but not sure 100%.)

My/our impressions from our experiences in Vaughan:

Our team of about 15-20 regulars from Caledonia got out between 40-50,000 of our brochures during the past few weeks, mainly by leaving them on cars in parking lots. What was really interesting is how often new people were reporting how pleasantly surprized they were by the warm reception they got from people they met during the day, how most people seemed to know about Caledonia (at long last!) , and how no one was rude to them. They also reported that people weren’t throwing the brochures away, but noticed that after getting in the car, the car wouldn’t move for about 5 mins because they were reading the brochure. (It is very eyecatching and extremely hard hitting.)

  • Conservatives Against Fantino brochure: ‘Caledonia: Fantino’s legacy of Lawlessness & Racist Policing Policies’ [PDF]

We began each Sat/Sun with a protest in front of Fantino’s HQ for which media including the Vaughan Citizen (love those ladies!), Rogers Cable and CBC showed up to interview us. This fabulous photo of the loyal Caledonia Contingent – who regularly drove 1.5 hours each way just to make sure their town’s suffering wasn’t forgotten in this election – was taken yesterday (Nov 28/10):

101128 Caledonia Contingent at Fantino HQ

My friend, CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade (who is also featured in Helpless) and I are both former peacekeepers and, since Fantino/McGuinty ‘justified’ suspending the rule of law in Caledonia by claiming it was a ‘peacekeeping’ operation we both wore our blue berets for some of our rallies in front of Fantino’s HQ in protest of this illegal peacekeeping mission on Canadian soil for the media. Rogers Cable did a stand up interview w/me on that topic, said the story would be aired in Richmond Hill area, so I didn’t catch it. This picture is after the Rogers reporter left last week’s rally and was taken by CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson as we were handing out flyers at the Price Chopper grocery store which is 100 feet or so from Fantino’s HQ – in the background.

Read the rest of this article…

  1. VoiceofCanada, Nov 29/10: Prediction: Caledonia & Canada win Vaughan byelection by landslide

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas


”]James LeCraw-committed suicide July 19/04 claiming in his suicide note that Julian Fantino's public statements falsely accusing him of child pornography activities ruined his life. [all photos from CBC source article, click image to view]

“You may want to seriously consider a wrongful death suit, or whatever it would be called against the police and Fantino,” wrote James. “You know the complaint: Their reckless irresponsible media release destroyed my life. They should be held responsible for compensation. Also they should have to change their and all police department media ways so that others don’t get caught up in this crap.”

“On July 19, 2004, James drove to a country road, about 10 kilometres from his brother’s home in Newmarket, north of Toronto. He put a charcoal barbecue on the seat beside him and lit it. James died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes.”

  • CBC Documentary, 2005 : Weighing the Balance 

Earlier this morning VoiceofCanada editor/Conservatives Against Fantino co-founder Mark Vandermaas was tipped off to a tragic 2004 story about the suicide of an innocent man wrongly accused of being involved in a child porn by Julian Fantino and the Toronto police, both of whom were by blamed by James LeCraw in his suicide note for his ruined life. 

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The Vaughan Citizen – sponsor of the Nov 23/10 debate which Julian Fantino snubbed – has released a scathing editorial about his failure to face voters, and which questions Fantino’s fitness to serve as Vaughan’s Member of Parliament.

This is the relevant excerpt for Caledonia victims:

[…] Mr. Fantino’s contrary decision [not to participate in the debate] is particularly unfortunate because, while his prior career activities have made him the best-known candidate, they have also made him by far the most controversial.

They raise questions that voters should have been entitled to have a chance to put to him at Tuesday’s debate before deciding how to vote.

For instance, it appears indisputable that during the aboriginal occupation in Caledonia, Mr. Fantino as OPP commissioner ordered his officers to stand idly by without enforcing the law while the occupiers committed serious criminal acts.

At the same time, he had his officers intimidate and even arrest law-abiding local residents who tried to assert their rights.

Whether Mr. Fantino was acting on his own initiative or following directions from the provincial government, couldn’t this be seen either way as a breach of the oath he swore under the Police Act to “prevent offences and discharge my other duties faithfully, impartially and according to law”? If so, wouldn’t that make him unsuitable for elected office, let alone to be a potential minister? […]

Editor of the Citizen Kim Champion also made it clear in her editorial, as she did on debate night, that Fantino did his best to thwart her efforts to accommodate his schedule when organizing the debate:


Since Conservatives Against Fantino was launched I have been pleasantly surprised to see that the Vaughan Citizen has never backed away from covering us, or holding Julian Fantino accountable where a lesser outlet might have shied away from the controversy out of fear of losing access to him should he win. Fantino isn’t the type to let go of a grudge, so the Citizen must have made a wilful decision to fulfil their role as watchdogs knowing it could have negative consequences for them.

Editor Kim Champion, reporter Caroline Grech and the Vaughan Citizen remind me of the Regional News in Caledonia, its publisher Chris Pickup, and reporter Bill Jackson who was himself assaulted and his camera stolen by native protesters when he photographed an assault on an elderly couple in Caledonia. 

Bill Jackson takes notes at 2008 debate in Caledonia during 2010 municipal election

Bill Jackson takes notes at 2008 debate in Caledonia during 2010 municipal election

Not only did the Regional print hard-hitting letters from Caledonia residents and cover the stories without giving ink to the lies and propaganda of the native radicals terrorizing the town, Chris Pickup made the extraordinary decision in 2008 to give what some readers called the “devil incarnate” Gary McHale a weekly column so he could share details on the legal battles, protests and other matters related to our struggle in his/our own words. These columns provide an unequaled historical record of our work and Gary’s extraordinary use of the courts to seek justice on behalf of Caledonia residents, and they cannot be found anywhere else.

The Regional allowed Gary to use his column for other works he thought important such as my speech given at our flag raising protest on May 24/09 Provoking Violence? Lessons from Dr. King and the Little Rock Nine; and it became became the first media outlet in Canada to allow us to share the important lessons of our Ipperwash Papers project in our own words. The Regional’s gutsy decision to do so was recently acknowledged by the legendary Peter Worthington in Caledonia Crisis of Facts.

From our perspective the little, independent, weekly Regional News did more to stand up for justice in Caledonia and uphold its responsibility as ‘watchdogs of democracy’ than every other so-called mainstream media outlet combined. This is not an exaggeration. Other locals such as The Sachem, and the Dunnville Chronicle carried good articles occasionally and important coverage of our activities, but they did not take a clear, consistent editorial stand on the side of the victims. The MSM outlets were simply abysmal in their coverage; preferring to do mainly ‘he said/she said,’ ‘drive-by’ stories with occasional bursts of condemnation for those responsible for Caledonia’s misery.

The terrible truth is that until Christie Blatchford agreed to look at our evidence in late 2009 after the Brown/Chatwell trial began there had been zero investigative reporting in Caledonia since 2006, and not one media outlet had agreed to meet with us to go over our considerable evidence. Regional News stood alone with us to tell the truth, and it paid a price for doing so.

We wanted to honour the Regional and its staff for their commitment to the highest ideals of journalism in giving a consistent voice to Caledonia’s victims and those of us speaking out on their behalf, so we (CANACE and the Caledonia Victims Project) presented the Regional – at Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless launch party on Oct 27/10 – with a print of Barb Patterson Tuck’s award-winning painting ‘Caught in the Middle‘ which was signed by the artist and by us. Earlier in the evening we had given an identical print to Blatchford.

In a subsequent editorial Bill Jackson commented at length on the Regional’s approach to covering the Caledonia crisis; his gratitude at being honoured by CANACE; and the vindication of the Regional and CANACE activism in the light of Helpless. Bill’s editorial should be required reading in Canadian schools of journalism: 

  • Regional News (Caledonia), Nov 03/10: Comment by Bill Jackson [PDF] (re vindication of Regional News coverage and CANACE efforts to oppose racial policing in light of Helpless)

I thank the Vaughan Citizen for holding Fantino accountable with their excellent coverage of this campaign. If I/we ever manage to have enough income to do so (now that would be a happy day!), I would propose to my colleagues that we institute a joint ‘CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project Watchdogs of Democracy Award’ to highlight excellence in Canadian journalism, and the Citizen would be its third recipient – after Christie Blatchford and Caledonia’s heroic Regional News.

I can only hope that Ms. Champion and Ms. Grech can appreciate the tremendous compliment paid to them and the Vaughan Citizen with the comparison to Caledonia’s Regional News. They are in very fine company indeed.

Letter to Vaughan Citizen by Bill Dietz, Sgt., RCMP (retired)

Caledonia resident Bill Dietz is a former Sergeant with the RCMP. He wrote a letter to MP Diane Finley expressing his outrage at the party’s embrace of Julian Fantino which he allowed us to post here on CAF, and use in the 60,000 brochures we are distributing to Vaughan voters during the campaign. We used one of Bill’s quotes on the front cover.

Coincidently, as I was working on this article, Bill sent me a copy of a letter he emailed today (Nov 25/10) to Kim Champion, Editor of the Vaughan Citizen:

Hi Kim

I have just had the opportunity to listen to your introduction of the Candidates at Tuesday’s All Candidates meeting….courtesy of Jeff Parkinson of CANACE, and have just read the article posted online at the York regarding “Fantino Cops Out”.

I am so pleased and thankful that you have given us an ear, and taken the time to try to understand Mr. Fantino, I truly realize what a challenge that must have presented, when I first contacted you.

I understand that you have had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the members of CANACE; and while I am not a member of that organization, I fully support what they are trying to do.

Mr. Fantino seems oblivious to his surroundings and to the ordinary people that his actions affect deeply. I sincerely hope that the good voters of Vaughan, including members of the Conservative Party, will recognize that

this is not the type of person that should be representing all of us in Ottawa.

Thank You for Your efforts to understand the truth.


Bill Dietz
Sgt, RCMP (Retired)
Caledonia, Ontario

Thank you again Bill, for speaking out, and sharing similar thoughts. As a note, I’m not sure if Ms. Champion herself has met CANACE members, but I believe reporter Caroline Grech has.


POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas

NOTE: Mark was an original founder of CANACE as described in Helpless, but left in early 2010 to found the Caledonia Victims Project.

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Dec 04/07: 'Illegal Smokeshacks' news conference, Queen's Park Media Studio with (L-R) Doug Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Brian Hagan, Gary McHale)

Dec 04/07: 'Illegal Smokeshacks' news conference, Queen's Park Media Studio with (L-R) Doug Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Brian Hagan, Gary McHale)

Gayle and Brian Hagan are longtime Caledonia residents who have been strong supporters of the struggle to oppose Julian Fantino’s racial policing practices in their town.

Brian was a presenter at the Dec 04/10 ‘Illegal Smokeshacks’ news conference at Queens Park – after non-natives and police were assaulted by native smokeshack supporters on Dec 01/07, and  Julian Fantino had issued a press release falsely blaming them for the violence before the investigation had even begun.

Although the OPP refused to make a single arrest for the numerous assaults against non-natives and police that sent two people to hospital, Brian and Gayle’s son Kyle was arrested as he was quietly drinking coffee on the already blocked road. His arrest (seen in the slide show below) was the only one of the day and it was made by the same officer (also seen in the slideshow) who earlier refused to arrest the native smokeshack supporter who had assaulted CAF co-founder Mark Vandermaas.

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Brian and Gayle Hagan are asking for your help to support justice for Caledonia

Brian and Gayle have put out an appeal to their friends for help distributing our anti-Fantino brochures in Vaughan, and wanted to share it with all those who might care enough to help them and us reach out to the voters there:


Hi everybody,

Last Sunday was very successful in Vaughn.Despite rainy weather and short notice, we were able to pass out around 8000 Conservatives vs Fantino brochures on windshields in shopping malls in a couple of hours. It was easy to get to, reception was favorable, “Caledonia” seemed to be recognizable to most voters [no blank stares!].

People arrive for Conservatives Against Fantino protest and flyer delivery at Julian Fantino campaign HQ in Vaughan, Nov 14/10Many thanks to those who are participating in any way in this important campaign.Vaughan and the mighty Toronto media, including talk shows, are finally speaking out. The 3rd of 4 excerpts from C. Blatchford’s book appeared in today’s Globe and Mail.

Discounting the usual racist drivel it would appear that about 90% of opinion is in Caledonia’s favor, disgusted with revelations of government abandonment and O.P.P.discriminatory policies. FINALLY!

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This is the first in a series of excerpts and related commentary from Christie Blatchford’s upcoming book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us. It tells Caledonia’s story and the story of those who fought back to preserve the rule of law:

The Globe & Mail
Caledonia: the town that law forgot [PDF]
by Christie Blatchford
Oct 24/10

Christie Blatchford - HELPLESS: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed Us All, to be released Oct 26/10

Now that I’ve written a whole book about what happened in Caledonia, Ont., starting in February of 2006 and continuing to this day, it’s daunting to offer a precis. But basically it’s this: The people of that lovely small town just an hour and change from Toronto were abandoned by their governments, and ultimately by their police force, and left to fend for themselves. The book is about the failure of government to govern, and of leaders to lead.

From the get-go, the federal and provincial governments had adopted a hands-off policy to the occupation. Ottawa didn’t even recognize the tenuous land claim that residents of Six Nations were belatedly making, and deferred to Queen’s Park; the Ontario government nonetheless treated the occupation as purely a land claim and somehow, overtly or in the subtle ways that are the hallmark of practised politicians, made its wishes known; the Ontario Provincial Police, first under then-commissioner Gwen Boniface and later under her successor Julian Fantino, now a star candidate for the Stephen Harper Conservatives, obligingly carried that message to the force’s rank and file.

The end result was a form of policing that would be simply unrecognizable to Canadians living anywhere else in the country: cops who watched or turned away as the law was broken, sometime brazenly; cops who appeared to take sides and would take action against only one group of people and not the other; cops who refused to make arrests, conduct investigations or protect the public.

Some of those officers who resisted were either punished, reprimanded or disciplined, with the result that the others lost heart.

Few people are as shamed by Caledonia, sickened by their own impotence, as the men and women of the OPP who worked there regularly.

At one end of the spectrum is a letter written by then-commissioner Fantino in December of 2008.

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