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Conservatives Against Fantino

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Category Archives: Fantino & Conservative Party

 

Authored for the Landmark Report by ‘Kaffir Kanuck,’ a Canadian Forces veteran of Afghanistan
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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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Authored for the Landmark Report by ‘Kaffir Kanuck,’ a Canadian Forces veteran of Afghanistan
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600-Million-Hydro-Tower-Project-kept-unfinished-and-unwired-due-to-Native-occupation-of-the-Douglas-Creek-Estates-300x257 (photo by Kaffir Kanuck)(This is the first 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.)

Conservative MP Julian Fantino hopes for re-election in Vaughan on Monday. He won the previously Liberal held seat by less than on thousand votes. However, the legacy he inherited and left behind in Haldimand Track, the events of Native occupation in Caledonia have come back to haunt him.

Conservatives Against Fantino peppered his constituency during his by-election, and their information campaign may very well have contributed to his marginal win, although the 2008 election had Liberal Maurizio Bevilacqua win by over eight thousand votes. This movement has morphed into Conservatives Against Racism, now also targeting the Conservative Party elite who supported getting Fantino elected into Vaughan.

In Haldimand-Norfolk, Liberal Bob Speller running against incumbent CPC Diane Finley, has been the first federal candidate to offer a Caledonia policy statement. Of note to Caledonia residents has been Finley’s conspicuous absence from their township and her silence regarding issues related to the Native occupation during this campaign.

Recently, some of the main stream media played up a few resignations form the Julian Fantino Conservative MP re-election camp.

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References

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas  info@caledoniavictimsproject.ca

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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.

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

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas info@voiceofcanada.ca

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Gary McHale in hospital after being repeatedly attacked by native smokeshack protesters, Dec 01/07. By the time this picture was taken Julian Fantino had already ordered his officers to target McHale for charges before the investigation had begun. He gave officers instructions not to "get bogged down with legal nuances" in order to get McHale, which resulted in charges of Obstructing Justice vs. Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Supt. Ron Gentle who followed his orders. Click image for complete story & docs.
Gary McHale in hospital after being repeatedly attacked by native smokeshack protesters, Dec 01/07. By the time this picture was taken Julian Fantino had already ordered his officers to target McHale for charges before the investigation had begun. He gave officers instructions not to “get bogged down with legal nuances” in order to get McHale, which resulted in charges of Obstructing Justice vs. Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Supt. Ron Gentle who followed his orders. Click image for complete story & docs.

A fan of Conservatives Against Fantino has produced what must be the finest video satire yet on Conservative Party assertions that Julian Fantino is a law and order friend of victims with a strong moral compass.

The clip opens with a shot of the Prime Minister, then some words from Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson (who turned us down when I wrote to him on May 30/08 asking for help in combatting Fantino’s racial policing policies) and then we see/hear this endorsement from an unnamed fan of Fantino who says he has years of experience in working with victims of “extreme violence”: 

“I have never met an individual who has a finer sense of the difference between right and wrong than Julian Fantino.”

The video then moves to Christie Blatchford’s appearance  on the Michael Coren Show where she reads, then comments on what she says is the document in Helpless that angered her the most during her Caledonia research. In just a few scant minutes Blatchford explodes the CPC’s carefully contrived myth about Fantino’s well-developed sense of right and wrong: 

Merlyn Kinrade rebuts Fantino supporters assertion that he isn’t a Conservative member

Readers might also enjoy this ‘Vaughtino’ video taken Nov 14/10 at a Conservatives Against Fantino protest at Fantino’s campaign HQ held before we split up to deliver some of our 60,000 anti-Fantino brochures in the riding.

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Caledonia artist portrays Stephen Harper as one of the 'Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil' monkeys in her award-winning portrayal of the Caledonia crisis - 2 years before he welcomes Julian Fantino (shown below as one of Caledonia's tormenters) Click the image to learn more.The headline of this Globe and Mail piece by Jane Taber is rather misleading (it leads readers to conclude the Liberals made a serious effort to recruit Julian Fantino for themselves), but some important news is found further down in the article itself where Taber reports that on Nov 25/10 Fantino’s conduct in Caledonia was, for the first time in five years, the subject of discussion in the House of Commons thanks to two Liberal MPs who wondered why – given Fantino’s candidacy for the federal Conservatives – MP Diane Finley’s signature was on a 2009 anti-Fantino petition circulated by Haldimand residents.

And Thursday two Liberals [MPs Rob Oliphant and Maria Minna] – stood up in the Commons to attack Mr. Fantino over his handling of the native protests in Caledonia when he was the OPP commissioner. They noted that Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, whose represents the troubled corner of Ontario, had signed a petition calling for an inquiry into Mr. Fantino’s actions.

“The member was a minister when she signed a petition demanding the Prime Minister’s hand-picked candidate in Vaughan, Julian Fantino, be investigated. She wanted his pay docked,” Toronto MP Maria Minna charged. “She wanted him suspended and she wanted him fired. Does she still hold the same view now?”

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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:

Comment

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 Region.com 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.

Sincerely

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.

References

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas info@caledoniavictimsproject.ca

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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Liberal candidate Tony Genco was there. The Vaughan Citizen was there. A good group of Caledonia residents was there handing out brochures on behalf of Conservatives Against Fantino.

But Julian Fantino, Stephen Harper’s annointed candidate, couldn’t be bothered showing up at last nights Vaughan debate hosted by the Vaughan Citizen. 

Kim Champion, Editor for the sponsoring Vaughan Citizen commented at length (see video below) on Fantino’s efforts to avoid making himself available, upon which she elaborated in a subsequent editorial (link below). CANACE/CAF co-founder Jeff Parkinson took this photo that says it all:

Fantino snubs Vaughan debate, but Tony Genco for the Liberals was there, Nov 23/10. Click to enlarge.

Fantino snubs Vaughan debate, but Tony Genco for the Liberals was there, Nov 23/10. Click to enlarge.

Video highlights

  • CAF video, Jeff Parkinson, Nov 23/10, 3:00 mins: Opening remarks by debate sponsor (Kim Champion, Editor, Vaughan Citizen explains how her efforts to accommodate Julian Fantino’s schedule were thwarted)  
  • CAF video, Jeff Parkinson, Nov 23/10, 2:49 mins: Opening remarks by Liberal candidate (Tony Genco tells attendees that he had to cancel out on his 13 year-old daughter’s birthday trip to see Justin Bieber, that she understood it was important that he meet voters) 

News & Commentary

Photos

Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas and Caledonia residents handed out hundreds of CAF brochures at/around the debate and had the opportunity to meet residents and media. Here are some photos taken by CAF co-founder Mark Vandermaas:

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CAF Comment

Kim Champion and the Vaughan Citizen deserve a lot of credit for their reporting on the Fantino campaign, for hosting the debate, and for not allowing Fantino’s attempts to thwart his attendance at the debate to go unreported. I’ll comment separately in a new post on Champion’s hardhitting editorial on Fantino’s failings.

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas info@caledoniavictimsproject.ca

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