OPP & Ontario Ministry of Attorney General try to stop Gary from being elected

Click image to view OPP & Ministry of Attorney General restrictions on Gary's right to meet and speak to voters. Click again to enlarge document.

For several months now, Gary has been trying to exercise his right to have a judge review the bail restrictions that have kept him from entering Caledonia and Hagersville. They were imposed on him in connection with a charge arising out of a demonstration at an illegal smokeshop organized by a Caledonia resident on Dec 01/07 during which Gary was viciously attacked by smokeshop supporters, attacks that broke his glasses and sent him to hospital.

It is alleged that Gary suggested to the protest organizer – who had blocked the road with his truck after a smokeshack supporter had done the same – that he ask other residents to join the blockade. He did not do so. In other words, no crime was committed by the organizer as a result of Gary’s alleged suggestion.

OPP resort to ‘Counselling Mischief’ charge after witness caught on video falsifying ‘assault’ complaint against Gary

The OPP originally planned to charge Gary with assault, but their witness turned out to be a liar and was herself charged with ‘Public Mischief’ for filing a false report. The OPP refused, however, to charge her for HER assault on Gary even though it (and the false assault fabrication) was caught on video, so Gary was forced to file the charge himself via a private prosecution.

Shortly after the OPP discovered their witness had fabricated her story, the would-be assault charge against Gary suddenly became ‘Counselling Mischief’ then later, ‘Counselling Mischief Not Committed.’

No charges for numerous assaults on police, but Commissioner Fantino wanted Gary charged…and so he was.

Later in the day on Dec 01/07 – before any investigation had begun – OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino issued a press release falsely blaming Gary McHale and his supporters for the day’s confrontation, promising to bring them to ‘justice.’ Even though it became clear early on that it was the smokeshack supporters who perpetrated the violence and disgusting insults while Gary endured it all without once retaliating in kind, Mr. Fantino has never corrected the record.

Although there were numerous assaults on OPP officers by native smokeshack supporters that resulted in no charges against the perpetrators, the OPP arrested and charged Gary with committing what was in reality a minor act of non-violent civil disobedience. They also forced him to agree not to enter Caledonia by (falsely) telling him he would have to spend the weekend in jail before seeing a judge. While the OPP were eager to impose serious restrictions on Gary’s freedom to travel and protest against race-based policing, they imposed no travel restrictions on the man who led the swarming attack that sent Gary to hospital.

Gary demands a hearing; Judge Marshall facilitates a solution

On Friday, Sept 12/08 after several unsuccessful attempts to obtain a timely, legally-entitled review of his bail conditions Gary went before Judge Marshall to complain about the Crown’s obstructionist tactics. Marshall told Gary he wouldn’t be able to hear his bail review case until Sept 29th – half-way through the campaign – but strongly suggested to the Crown Attorney that he hold a settlement conference with Gary to try to come to some arrangement that would allow Gary to begin campaigning in Caledonia and Hagersville that very day.

Gary had a choice – lose two weeks of campaigning in Caledonia or agree to onerous restrictions on his Charter right to meet and speak to voters. The Crown & OPP had a choice, too – negotiate a deal with Gary to suppress his right to speak as best as they could or risk having all the restrictions on him lifted at the next bail hearing. In return for agreeing to drop his election bail review request the Crown Attorney and the OPP lifted the travel restrictions on Caledonia/Hagersville and imposed new restrictions on Gary’s freedom to meet and speak with voters:

1. Gary cannot speak to more than 10 people at a time in a public place, i.e. Tim Hortons parking lot. This means that once the 11th person joins a group Gary is addressing, Gary must walk away or be arrested. 

2. Gary is allowed to speak at all-candidates meetings.

3. If he is going to be at a private home where there are 50 or more people present Gary must notify the OPP.

4. When campaigning door to door Gary cannot have more than 15 campaign workers with him.

5. He cannot be within 100 metres of DCE’s Argyle Street border or any smoke shop except while driving past. This means he cannot visit the Brown/Chatwell home located in front of the occupied Douglas Creek Estates.

Contrary to one media report, the above restrictions were NOT imposed by Judge Marshall after a review of Gary’s evidence, but were the product of a settlement conference facilitated by him. Gary could have waited for a bail review hearing, but it would have kept him out of Caledonia altogether until at least Sept 29th.

The OPP and Ontario government will go to any lengths to silence Gary from speaking out while his attacker is free to do as he pleases – is this democracy?

CAUTION - very coarse language!

Click image to view video of unprovoked Dec 01/07 assault on OPP officer and Gary McHale by smokeshack supporter Clyde Powless. Gary - who refused to retaliate with violence or angry words - has restrictions on his freedom to travel and speak; Powless has none. CAUTION - very coarse language!

Members of the OPP, in particular Commissioner Fantino have repeatedly used false allegations in the past to try to link Gary with violence, however sworn testimony from one of their own officers proves exactly the opposite – that Mr. McHale and his protests have not been violent and that he is a follower of Dr. King’s non-violent approach to confronting injustice – see Media Center, item #3.

The conditions above, as with the previous restriction that kept Gary from entering Caledonia, were not based on evidence that Gary was violent or encouraging others to do so, but to silence an effective critic of OPP race-based policing practices. Unbelievably, the Crown actually told Judge Marshall that Gary giving a speech about illegal smoke shops was the very same as Gary organizing a protest against them! If there was any doubt about the purpose of Gary’s arrest and stifling bail conditions before Sept 12/08, there certainly was none afterwards.

It should be noted again that Gary is charged with a very minor, non-violent offence of civil disobedience while supporting the efforts of a resident who was tired of illegal smoke shops selling cigarettes to Caledonia children.

Clyde Powless, who viciously attacked Gary from behind on Dec 01/07, was videotaped assaulting several OPP officers that day however, he has no restrictions on his travel or freedom of speech. Mr. Powless was part of the illegal blockage of the Highway 6 By-Pass in Caledonia for 4 days in April 2008 and he was at the illegal barricade of Argyle Street just last week on Labour Day. The OPP and Crown see no reason to limit Mr. Powless’s activities despite repeated criminal and violent actions in Caledonia, but will do everything they can to stop Gary from just…. speaking.

Neil Dring, editor of The Sachem, told Gary and a campaign worker during an interview the same day that when he called the Crown’s office in Cayuga to confirm the restrictions on Gary he was referred to the media relations department of the Ministry of the Attorney General instead of – as he would normally expect – being able to verify and question the information directly. Based on his experience he took this to mean that nobody wanted to answer for their part in putting such unusual restrictions on a man charged with a very minor, non-violent offence.

It is time for Prime Minister to be called to task for not protecting the Charter rights of all Canadians during illegal occupations

The assaults on Gary (and others), the charge against him, the initial restrictions on his freedom to travel and now, the restrictions on his freedom of speech all serve to dramatize the ugly reality of racially-based policing that Haldimand residents have been forced to endure for two years. This is what democracy in Canada has been reduced to all the while the federal Government – under Diane Finley and Harper’s leadership – has done nothing to uphold the Charter of Rights for all citizens of Canada.

Gary believes that it is long past time that the Prime Minister be questioned in the House of Commons as to why his government has not made any efforts to protect the Charter rights of Canadians coping with violent land claims and OPP abuses. He is committed to asking those questions on behalf of the people of Haldimand -Norfolk.

In the meantime…let’s make some history!

We’ll do our best to provide access to Gary in Caledonia and Hagersville in accordance with the law. Don’t be offended if he has to walk away if your group grows to number more than 10 people. Remember though, Gary can still meet with any number of people on private property that is not open to the public, so why not host a meet-the-candidate gathering for your friends and relatives? Send an email to Mark Vandermaas at info@canace.ca if you think you might be interested.

By the way, the restrictions on Gary’s freedom of speech are not going over very well with some voters. It appears that they are actually driving some undecided voters to openly back the McHale campaign.

References

Click here to read the actual agreement restricting Gary’s right to speak to Caledonians.

For more background on the events of Dec 01/07, and a response to attempts by the OPP to discredit Gary McHale please see the following articles:

Mark Vandermaas
Gary McHale Campaign
info@canace.ca

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