Tonight I had the privilege of attending the Free Thinking Film Society‘s event “Caledonia: No More Nightmares” at the Library and Archives Canada. I knew it was going to be interesting when, for the first time, the FTFS had protesters. There were perhaps a dozen or so people standing in front of the doors handing out flyers.
I was being handed one but asked what it was first. The gentleman said it was some information about Gary McHale and his videos and how they are racist. I told him that this had nothing to do with racism, but equality of justice and walked inside without taking his literature.
Inside I paid for my ticket, bought my autographed copy of Christie Blatchford’s book “Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us.” , a can of diet coke and went in and sat down in a seat.
The speeches and slideshow/videos started and as Mark Vanderhaas was speaking, two of the protesters who were in the theatre started heckling and commenting out loud about what was being said. They were shouted down by most of the audience with yells of “questions at the end” or “be quiet and you might learn something”.
After the third or fourth incident, Fred Litwin the host of the event warned them that if they disturbed the presentation again that they would be removed. And sure enough, when the subject of Dudley George came up, they could not keep silent and started the troublemaking again. Within a minute, Fred showed up with perhaps 4 to 6 officers who promptly escorted the two gentlemen out.
The biggest round of applause came when Mark Vanderhaas pointed to the police and said “Ladies and Gentleman, THAT is what a real police force looks like.”
For those of you who are not aware or who have not paid attention, Caledonia is the town where native Indians basically took over a suburban housing development as it was being built and despite calls for help from the OPP, the residents and owners of the land received no help. Property values plummeted, road barricades made people drive enormous miles out of their way to get to school, work etc. And when the locals tried to go put a Canadian flag up in the neighbourhood, they got arrested.
Indians squat, beat up residents, (one into a brain damaged coma), drive over police officers, drag citizens form their cars, disrupt so much…no arrests. Residents try to raise a Canadian flag ….arrested.
To me this was the primary question during the Ontario Provincial leadership campaign and still is. Why is there two tier justice in Canada? We are nation where we are all supposed to be treated equal. Where it doesn’t matter if you are black, white, yellow, brown, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew, man, woman or tranny. The law needs to treat us all the same so that we know what to expect and as part of the process of keeping our society civil.
As Christie Blatchford’s title states, at Caledonia the OPP did not just fail the residents of Caledonia. They failed us all.
ADDENDUM: After the presentations, I had a chance to get Gary McHale and the Mayor of Haldimand County, Marie Trainer to autograph the book. I’d call it a little slice of history.