UPDATED 1126 EST June 23/09: Video footage of marchers put to music courtesy of Jeff Parkinson.
I am very pleased to report that I sent the following letter to the OPP on behalf of CANACE to thank them for their role in yesterday’s ‘Support Randy Fleming‘ rally.
June 21, 2009
Commissioner Fantino, Ontario Provincial Police
Gary McHale and Merlyn Kinrade asked if I would pass on thanks from CANACE to you and your officers for your assistance, your honest communications and your decision to protect and respect the rights of non-natives to walk down Argyle Street with Canadian flags past the DCE. I know this was a big step for the OPP and I know that Sgt. Carter could not have helped make it happen without the support of the OPP leadership. For this we are truly grateful to you all.
Before leaving Lions Park I told the crowd that the officers of the OPP have had a rough three years, too and that no matter what has happened in the past, or will happen in the future, today they made the decision to do the right thing for us. I asked them to thank every OPP officer they met that day in the hopes your officers would go home to their families to tell them that perhaps life will be getting better for them, too.
I think you most likely know by now that both Merlyn and I are former members of the Canadian military and have served with the UN on peacekeeping missions. As Canadians who have worn a uniform and put ourselves at risk for others, we share a strong common bond in another area, too: criticizing police officers as harshly as we have is not something we could ever have imagined doing 3 years ago. We can’t tell you how proud and pleased we are that we were able to encourage our supporters to say ‘Thank you!’ to OPP officers yesterday.
None of us believe that the extremists speak for all native people, and I think it is fair to say that they are losing support within the public at large and within their own communities. Yesterday, I appealed to Six Nations people, especially the occupiers by assuring them that respecting our rights would not diminish theirs. I know the politicians and the OPP doubt our methods, but we believe that if native groups come to understand they must respect the rule of law and the rights of non-natives, that can only be a good thing by making possible meaningful negotiations, and true healing and reconciliation.
As to our methods, we are guided by the principles set out in Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail dated April 16, 1963 in which he commented on the need to use “constructive tension” to open the door to negotiations:
You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.
My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation…
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the DCE occupiers made no attempt to interfere, nor did they make derogatory remarks and gestures towards us yesterday as they have in the past. I would imagine that you had communications with them that may have played a role in that very positive development. If so, you have our thanks. With your help all involved – native and non – conducted themselves with dignity and mutual respect. That was no small thing, and I hope it was a sign of good things to come.
I don’t have Sgt. Michaud’s email address.Would you kindly forward a copy of this to him, please?
Mark 519.457.0709 cell: 519.xxx.xxxx
P.S. I will be posting a copy of this message on VoiceofCanada today (minus your email addresses).
Editor, VoiceofCanada www.voiceofcanada.ca
‘Legalized MYTHS of Illegal Occupations‘
‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations‘
‘McGuinty’s Ipperwash Cover-up: The Caledonia Legacy‘
‘The Ipperwash Papers‘
‘The Strength of a Woman – 14 year old ‘Dancer‘
A cry for OPP protection from a resident on the Sixth Line in Caledonia
“My hope is that one day people will come to Caledonia, not to study the destruction caused by those who would do evil to other human beings for their own selfish purposes, but to learn about your culture, about the damage that was done to it, and how Caledonians – native and non-native – came together as one in the dark days to peacefully proclaim Six Nations and the rest of Haldimand County as a sanctuary from that evil.“
VoiceofCanada to native reader, Jan 12/07
To all of you who were there yesterday - some for the very first time – to help us make history. Thanks especially to the ‘familiar faces’ that have supported the struggle all along. You know who you are and your support is so very much appreciated. To Merlyn Kinrade, the organizer (and Caledonia’s ‘rock’), and Jeff Parkinson (who took video of the event), thank you.
- CANACE video, June 20/09: Canadians march in Caledonia 1:55 mins
To Doug and his brother Randy who inspired this march – thank you. To Gary McHale, who wasn’t allowed to march due to his bail restrictions, thank you for everything.
Not only did the OPP protect our right to protest near DCE, they kept the Haldimand Detachment open so people who attended the second part of the event in Cayuga (where Randy Fleming and Gary McHale were present) could use the washroom. They also allowed us to use the West side of their parking lot for the protest. When I went over to thank an officer standing watch outside she said that she already heard about my remarks at the Lions Park. I’m glad.
Maybe, just maybe the open door envisioned by Dr. King as he sat in the Birmingham jail for ‘parading without a permit’ is before us. We shall see and we shall hope. We are nowhere near finished with this struggle. We still have to put a Canadian flag on a hydro pole where Bo Chausse was arrested on Dec 16/06, but that day may arrive earlier than we thought, too. When that has been accomplished we must eliminate every vestige of racial policing from Ontario which will require us to confront the terrible influence of Politically-Correct Racism that is the root cause of the misery for residents in Ipperwash and Haldimand County.
As the founders of CANACE have personally discovered, politically-correct racism has permeated every institution in Ontario from the OPP to government to media, and to universities, including law schools which are graduating lawyers that believe the rule of law and equality before it come in shades of grey depending on what colour your skin is, who your ancestors are or how politically-correct your grievances are. This dangerous attitude must be eradicated, but it will take time. Yesterday was a key milestone in that journey of a thousand steps.
Please be sure to see the CTV coverage below. It was positive for Caledonia. It portrayed non-native protesters accurately – as peaceful people on a reasonable quest for justice. Reporter Joel Bowey also made the very important point that something had changed fundamentally in OPP policy towards non-natives, the reason for which the force was not willing to explain. Compared to coverage in the past by various outlets, it was pure light and air.
The Brantford Expositor’s article, although it gives the impression that the protest was organized by the Caledonia Militia instead of CANACE, makes it clear that non-natives were peaceful (as were the DCE occupiers). The confusion was likely due to the fact that Doug Fleming was part of the CANACE protest in support of his brother and is also the organizer of the Caledonia Militia. And also, I referred to the support for the militia when I quoted from a Toronto Star story for the benefit of the crowd. Just to be clear, yesterday’s protest was organized by CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade.
The difference between the two is that CANACE is a civil rights advocacy organization while the Caledonia Militia (watch for a name change surprise at next Tuesday’s meeting) will be an attempt by Caledonia residents to fill a law enforcement gap in their community until the OPP begin to enforce the law without regards to race.
CANACE supports residents’ efforts to restore the rule of law in their town so long as they act within the law.
- CANACE video, June 20/09: Canadians march in Caledonia 1:55 mins
- CTV News, June 20/09: Caledonia protest coverage
- Brantford Expositor, June 21/09: Citizen’s arrest prompts Caledonia protest REPRINT
- (VoC, June 19/09: History in the making a OPP promise escort for Caledonia protest
- VoC speech notes: March with Dignity
- CANACE reference page: Race-Based Policing