Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

 Caledonia: Helpless and Betrayed

 February 2011 

February 28, 2006 was a fateful day for the people of small town Caledonia, 20 kilometers southwest of Hamilton, Ontario. Until then they had enjoyed a peaceful existence, while the nearby native population of the Six Nations had freely intermingled with the townspeople. 

 All of that came crashing to a halt when several protesters from the Six Nations reserve blocked all construction crews from entering the Douglas Creek Estates. Henco Industries Ltd. had  purchased this 40-hectares plot of land  from the province and had begun building houses on this planned  residential subdivision. However, Six Nations claimed that they still were the legal owners of this land. 

Political Correctness in Action

Thus began a period of violent incidents that turned the lives of many Caledonians upside down, especially those working on the DCE subdivision and others whose houses bordered on these contested grounds --some  450 households. The “occupiers” blocked  major roadways,  burned a small bridge, destroyed  a hydro substation, and generally terrorized the nearby population in a way that they could not have imagined in their worst  nightmares. 

 On June 9 it seemed that the worst was over and some sort of  normalcy might be achieved.  But on that day events took place that set the tone for the next four years. The protesters attacked an elderly couple, Kathe Golke and Gunther Golke, verbally abused them and  tried to destroy their car. Mr. Golke, who is a diabetic and has a history of heart problems, required hospitalization. A two-man television crew were attacked and  their films stolen. One of them  ( Nick Garbutt) was beaten  on the head and  required   treatment at a hospital. In both instances, Ontario Provincial Police officers were close by but refused to stop the attackers and charge them with a criminal offence. 

On the same day native protesters swarmed a United States Border Patrol vehicle, attacked its occupants, and drove off in the vehicle after attempting to run down an  OPP officer, Norman Ormerod. He was seriously hurt, and never returned to work 

The Canadian  Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), led by the outspoken critic of the OPP Gary McHale, has done a good job of exposing  the OPP’s double standard applied to natives and on-natives. All of this material is now readily available on the Internet and has become an important source of information about  these events that in a real  way affect all of us, especially our children and grandchildren. 

McHale writes that it is easy to overlook the impact of the occupation by native protesters on individuals and families in places such as Ipperwash and Caledonia. But the victims of land claim lawlessness need to be heard so that "the people of Ontario can  see that it is not just land  that is being argued about, but the very lives of average people who, through no fault of their own, have become  pawns in a violent movement to force a political agenda.”  He continues 

For every headline there are the tears of the parents, the children, the husbands & wives that go unreported. There are the nights of fear and the stress that comes with repeated intimidation by masked  warriors carrying bats and other weapons. 

Living Under Siege

One couple, Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell who lived right next to the occupied DCE, suffered endless humiliation and interruptions of their daily lives. Their calls for help to the OPP were not answered. Instead the OPP sided with the attackers  and blamed Brown and Chatwell for their troubles. Once  Dave was arrested and  jailed overnight though he was not charged with any offence. In utter frustration  the couple  started a  lawsuit, which ended  with their house being bought by the province for an undisclosed amount, after which  the new owners promptly destroyed it. 

In the meantime the province, instead of insisting that everyone abide by the law, accommodated the natives by buying out the owners of the DCE. 

CANACE has gathered the testimony of many  people who endured endless harassment and  threats, who  feel  betrayed by the authorities’ refusal to apply the law equally to all. The list of offences, including attempted killing (of  Sam Gualtieri) goes on and on. Here is the testimony of a young girl, presented on  October 8, 2007: 

My name is Pam and for  15 years  I’ve been living on  the Sixth Line… but only  13 years have been happy years. Ever since February 28, 2006 my whole life changed. Having to be almost literally locked inside my own home, I was terrified even to look out of my own window….Gates  were everywhere, Men with masks over their faces  only to see their eyes, men holding bats, some even with guns. It was a living hell and I had to live through that. You don’t have any clue what life was like until you’ve had to live through it.  

There is much, much more highly disturbing information on the CANACE website. McHale and his associates deserve our deepest gratitude for speaking out about one of today’s most significant political issues.  The irony is that instead of gratitude he has been ridiculed and demonized. The former OPP Commissioner  Julian Fantino has publicly accused McHale of being  the cause of all the problems in Caledonia. That was Fantino’s way to blame the victims and thereby justify his leadership of the police that in fact gave the lawbreakers and terrorists a free hand. 

Make no mistake, what is happening in Caledonia (and in many other places where the natives’ lawlessness and  violence is tolerated) will only encourage the lawbreakers, demoralize the conscientious police officers, and generally serve to undermine respect for lawful authority.  Wake up Canada. 

*See Christie Blatchford, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us .She describes in detail the disastrous consequences of treating this conflict as a peace-making rather than a law enforcement task.