About Gary

speaking out against injustice when few would.

In Spring 2008 Gary McHale was recognized by Caledonia artist Barb Patterson-Tuck for standing up against the injustices of race-based policing for the past two years. Click to enlarge.

Gary McHale – your best chance to send a message that the people of Haldimand-Norfolk will be ignored no longer!

Gary with Haldimand Councillor Craig Grice at rally to support Caledonia resident/Hamilton Police officer Dave Hartless facing disciplinary action initiated by OPP Commissioner Fantino for speaking out against race-based policing.

Gary is the youngest of six boys, three of whom were born in Caledonia while his father worked in the town’s gypsum mine. He grew up in a small farming community outside Napanee and for years got up at 5:30 a.m. to milk the cows before school. In the summer time his work also included haying and bringing in the grain from the fields.

He is 46 years old and has been married for 27 years to wife Christine who he met in high school in St. Catharines. After graduation Gary started a computer programming business developing and supporting taxation, payroll and accounting software. He has been a small business owner for the past 28 years. He trades on his extensive experience with the Income Tax Act by offering tax preparation services.

In addition to his software and tax expertise Gary is also a world-class wildlife photographer who has travelled extensively with wife Christine to capture images for their series of interactive wildlife CD ROM’s which they were about to take to market prior to becoming involved in the Caledonia issue. Despite having invested countless hours and funds in the design and production of the series the McHales put their business plans on hold to dedicate their time to oppose racially-based policing practices of the OPP. In early 2008 they moved to Binbrook to be nearer their Caledonia friends.

Gary has been effectively representing citizens in Haldimand-Norfolk for two years

For the past two years Gary has worked tirelessly as a full time activist to stop violence and OPP civil rights violations during native land claims. When Gary first heard about the injustices of race-based policing in Caledonia in April 2006, he had to look at a map to find out where Caledonia was located. He and his wife Christine lived in a snug, upscale condominium north of Toronto getting ready to market their wildlife CD’s after remortgaging their home to invest in equipment for the business.

If anyone had a  good ‘reason’ not to get involved, it was the McHales. But, Gary didn’t make excuses as to why he shouldn’t speak out for people he didn’t know about an issue that didn’t affect him directly. He built what would eventually become THE website for people and organizations seeking information about the Caledonia situation, eventually being recognized for his work by the prestigious Ryerson Review of Journalism. Despite living a world away, he drove from his then-home north of Toronto to speak out for, and stand with, the innocent victims of Caledonia, and he has continued to do so at great personal cost. Fortunately, though, living close by in Binbrook has made life much easier.

An MP should provide leadership by words AND actions, standing with people, and speaking out for them in their darkest hour. Gary is a leader:

  • Organizer of Oct 15/06 inaugural ‘March for Freedom’ in Caledonia which attracted extraordinary media attention on the 2,000 people who peacefully marched through Caledonia to protest against ‘Two Tier Justice’ in their town. Guest speakers included MPP Toby Barrett (right), Ipperwash resident/community leader Mary-Lou LaPratte and Caledonia resident Anne-Marie VanSickle.
  • Co-organizer and speaker at 6 additional peaceful public protests against race-based law enforcement that included a rally and petition drive to expose and protest an attempt by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino to have Hamilton Police officer/Caledonia resident Dave Hartless disciplined for speaking out against race-based policing in his town.
  • Co-founder and Executive Director for Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (www.CANACE.ca).
  • Successfully used ‘private prosecution’ provisions of the Criminal Code to lay 9 charges – Extortion, Intimidation and Mischief – against two well known native protesters responsible for illegal occupations and construction site shut-downs in Hagersville, Cayuga and Brantford. Gary was able to do what the OPP refused to do.
  • One of three people arrested by OPP for attempting to place a Canadian flag on a public utility pole following which he was held in jail overnight without charge.

An MP should use his/her resources to research topics of vital importance to constituents and educate media, business, citizens and other politicians about the issues. Gary and his team have conducted research and provided education that no other politician has even attempted, let alone equal:

  • Founder of CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com. Averages approximately 450,000 stories read per month by 18,000 unique visitors that include government agencies across Canada and 138 major corporations in North America. Two year totals (as of July 23/08): 62.6 million hits, 16.8 million files downloaded, 926 GB of data transferred.

    Recognized by Ryerson Review of Journalism (Summer 2008 issue) for providing valuable information to Caledonia residents when media failed to cover the issues.
  • Co-organizer and speaker at various public townhall meetings and legal education workshops in Caledonia and Cayuga, most recently in May 2008: Video links  

  • Invited speaker at University of Waterloo, Nov 01/07 re effects of landclaim lawlessness on residents.

  • Participated in hundreds of media interviews regarding Caledonia crisis.
  • Provided organizational support for the Ipperwash Papers project, an investigation into how the Ipperwash Inquiry suppressed all evidence from residents, and the legacy of that decision for the people of Caledonia.  www.ipperwashpapers.ca 
  • Author, CANACE report: Cost of Native Occupations 
  • Co-author, CANACE report: Legalized MYTHS of Illegal Occupations
  • Co-author, CANACE report: The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations

An MP should help residents take their story to the inner circle of power. With the assistance of MPP Toby Barrett, Gary has helped victims of race-based policing tell their stories at Queen’s Park on three occasions:  

  • Organizer and speaker at Ipperwash Papers news conference in Queen’s Park Media Studio, March 14/07. Included with the press kit given to media and provincial party leaders was a CD ROM containing a video statement by a 14 year old Sixth Line resident named ‘Pam’ reading from her school project, ‘Road of Hope’ that tells the story of how she feels living on a Caledonia street without policing.
  • Organizer and speaker at FantinoGate news conference in Queen’s Park Media Studio, April 17/07 re complaints against OPP Commissioner Fantino. Gary was accompanied by two residents, including ‘Pam’ from the Sixth Line, who was able to tell her story to the media directly for the first time.
  • Co-organized Illegal Smokeshacks news conference in Queen’s Park Media Studio, Dec 04/07 following violent attacks by native smokeshack supporters on peaceful citizens protesting against illegal sales of tobacco to Caledonia children.  Gary joined three residents in calling for the restoration of the rule of law in Haldimand.

Who or what inspires Gary McHale?

Some may find it difficult to understand why a stranger would travel to a far away town and risk so much to fight injustice as an ‘outsider.’ In order to understand Gary McHale, one must understand who has influenced his thinking. Here is a key quote from Dr. Martin Luther King’s April 16, 1963 ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ where he was imprisoned for parading without a permit: 

I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.”

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.  

Gary believes that we are called by a power greater than ourselves that imposes upon us a duty to speak out and act when we witness injustices that shock the conscience – just as Caledonia shocked his, and Birmingham shocked Dr. King’s. The question that should be posed, he believes, is based on a biblical theme that one should not ask ‘Why have you spoken out?’ but rather, ‘Why have others not done so?’

The photo above was taken during Gary McHale’s inaugural ‘March for Freedom’ on October 15, 2006.   Can there be any doubt which candidate will continue to speak out for the people of Haldimand-Norfolk after October 14, 2008 and which will continue to remain silent?

(For additional excerpts from Dr. King’s letter annotated by Gary McHale in the context of their application to the struggle to end race-based policing in Haldimand, please see CANACE editorial, ‘Lessons from Dr. King.)

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