Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Critique of the Aboriginal Components of "The Mental Health Strategy for Canada"

The definition for "weed" is "any plant growing in cultivated ground to the injury of the crop or desired vegetation. . .If is isn't in a straight line or marked with a label, it's a weed" (Wiktionary, May 17, 2012).
"Beneficial weeds can accomplish a number of roles in the garden or yard, including fertilizing the soil, increasing moisture, acting as shelter or living mulch, repelling pests, attracting beneficial insects, or serving as food or other resources for human beings" ("List of beneficial weeds," Wikipedia, April 20, 2012).
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year, but there is a down side: looking out my back window to see how many weeds have grown between the cracks in my patio stones.  And then the conundrum: how long can I delay pulling them out?  My procrastination often includes going for walks in my neighbourhood and enjoying the weeds in their uncultivated habitat in the park near my home.  There I do not mind looking at them; in fact, I think some of them are quite beautiful (the photos in this post were taken in the park, May 7, 2012).  Besides, weeds can sometimes be beneficial, as explained in the Wikipedia excerpt above.

I think the weed analogy works fairly well in terms of mental illness: it can be disastrous if left unmanaged in certain settings, but it can lead to crucial personal breakthroughs if addressed in others.  That is why it has been refreshing to read the increasing number of media reports in which people, including many famous ones, discuss their inward struggles.  And I am also very glad that mental health issues are getting an increasing amount of attention in Canada.

The most encouraging manifestation of this is the fact that, on May 8, 2012, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released its report "Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada."  The document is available for download in both full and summary versions.  "All people living in Canada have an opportunity to achieve the best possible mental health and well-being" is the strategy's vision statement.

Overall, I am impressed with the report's comprehensiveness.  But the authors note that "despite the broad consensus on the key directions for change, there will never be universal agreement on everything that needs to be done or on what should be done in what order."  They also acknowledge that it will take time to implement, and that how it will be funded still needs to be determined.

Before this report was unveiled, Canada was the only G8 nation that did not have a blueprint, and I totally agree it was high time to get one.  This is mainly because I have personally benefited from the support of mental health care professionals from time to time over the past 12 years, and I would like to see others in need also benefit.  My treatment has involved counselling to help me cope with profoundly negative experiences that have adversely affected my well-being.  I also took courses through the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association so I was better equipped to deal with the mental illness of a person (now deceased) who I had to deal with for various reasons.

I am happy to join the growing chorus of people who have spoken out about their inner struggles.  But for every one of us who speaks out, there are probably two more who are either struggling privately or who are in denial about it.  The report summary states that "in any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem, with a cost to the economy of well in excess of $50 billion."  Yet the summary also notes "only one in three people who experience a mental health problem or illness--and as few as one in four children or youth--report that they have sought and received services and treatment."  Fortunately, I recognized that I needed help and sought counselling early on, but far too many let their "demons" take over to the point where their lives spiral out of control.

Although I have greatly benefited from the counselling I have received, I feel the political factors that led to my negative experiences remain largely unaddressed.  In my case, these factors have primarily involved aboriginal issues.  Yes, I have gained important skills from my counselling, such as mindfulness and cultivating patience.  But mental health care practitioners also believe that people who have been traumatized need to feel safe and secure in their personal environment, and I sometimes lack this.  This is because of the phenomenal runaround I got when I tried to seek atonement (my "runaround" concerns are covered in a number of my other posts, including my "Aboriginal Issues During the 'Culpability Era'" post).  Furthermore, every time I have spoken publicly about the political factors, I have either been subjected to harassment and intimidation, or have been marginalized and ostracized.  So, in order to avoid being traumatized again, I generally avoid contact with people who are not helping me to move forward on my healing journey.

(A reader of many of my counterpoise posts said it was more difficult for him to understand my concerns because I did not elaborate on exactly what led to my being victimized.  I explained that the reason why I skirt this issue is because if I got specific, I would very likely suffer additional harassment and intimidation.)

I did not find any references in the Mental Health Commission report to my contention that political conflicts can lead to psychological distress.  Factors listed are "a complex mix of social, economic, psychological, biological and genetic"--I do not think social does an adequate job of covering this aspect.

The full version of "Changing Directions, Changing Lives" contains 12 pages devoted to First Nations, Inuit and Metis "Streams" (I will concentrate on those relating to First Nations simply for brevity's sake).  The First Nations "Stream, Priority 5.1" lays out the historical reasons for First Nations' difficulties, such as colonization, the "60s scoop," and the residential schools.

I am glad there are initiatives in place to help First Nations deal with mental health issues, such as a land-based healing program that combines traditional and mainstream approaches to wellness.  But what I do not agree with is the sweeping generalization that "First Nations have a holistic vision of health and well-being that is based on a balance of spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs, as well as social and economic well-being."  I know that many First Nations definitely have this holistic vision, but I do not believe it is true of all.

In addition, I do not think that colonization, the residential schools, et cetera are the reasons why some First Nations lack it.  I think this generalization cannot be made because aboriginal tribes were diverse culturally during pre-contact times.  Some were matriarchal, some patriarchal, and there was violence and inter-tribal warfare.  In addition, bad medicine was practised alongside good medicine (check out the "bad medicine" label in the right sidebar for my posts that mention my concerns about bad medicine).

It is simply not historically accurate to make it sound like aboriginal life pre-contact was a paradise.  Yes, there were many wonderful aspects to aboriginal society before European encroachment.  But I feel the report gives the impression that most of aboriginals' mental heath woes only started when non-natives arrived on this continent.  I think the reasons are far more complex than this.  For instance, I have a fair number of media and other reports in my files in which aboriginals state that they or their relatives benefited from being at the residential schools and/or from their interactions with non-aboriginals  It is absolutely true that there was a lot of abuse at the residential schools, and massive dysfunction resulted from colonization, but I think the constructive elements of aboriginal/non-aboriginal relations also deserve attention.  I think for more healing to occur, there needs to be more recognition of the positive aspects.

I am pleased, however, that Priority 5.4 (which addresses responses to First Nations, Inuit and Metis mental health issues) acknowledges that 50 per cent of aboriginals live in urban and rural centres, and that sometimes aboriginals move to larger centres to escape a negative environment.

The report states that the authors consulted with "national Aboriginal organizations and other stakeholder organizations that represent First Nations, Inuit and Metis."  And the references at the end of the strategy include citations for reports prepared by various native organizations past and present, such as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) and the on-going Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  I think it is great that the Mental Health Commission consulted with these groups and reviewed their findings, but I feel the strategy's aboriginal "Streams" give too much weight to a political analysis of the situation (see "Note" about this below).  This is ironical, considering that the report does not list politics specifically as a mental health factor.

National Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, attended the launch for "Changing Directions, Changing Lives," and had this to say in her speech:
This strategy is a call for all of us, across different levels of government, in the corporate world and the volunteer sector, to find ways that each of us can make a difference.  No single person, group or government will succeed on its own. . .We must. . .be sure that all issues of mental health are addressed at every level.
My view of "every level" is that the aboriginal "Streams" need not be so heavily cultivated with political weed whackers.


Regarding the Mental Health's Strategy's "First Nations Stream": I would like to have seen more input from people in places like Caledonia and Six Nations, where there have been clashes between aboriginals and non-aboriginals, and mental health problems as a result (check out the "Caledonia" and "Six Nations" labels in the right sidebar to find my previous posts on this conflict).  At the end of this post, I have listed just a few of the articles that mention the mental health issues faced by non-native Caledonia residents, either currently or during the past six years.

In addition, I think the "Changing Directions, Changing Lives" authors would have benefited from reading the "Ending Race-Based Policing: The Caledonia Act" report which was presented at a Queen's Park news conference on February 9, 2012.  One of the recommendations is that funding be provided for counselling of Caledonia victims.

A copy of the "Caledonia Act" recommendations can be obtained at the link below:

For further information about the news conference, check out my "Part Two of Two - A Delectable Lie, A Tree and a Way Forward: Multiculturalism and Aboriginal Policy Compared" post.


Blatchford, Christie.  "Canada's forgotten family a symbol of national shame."  Globe and Mail.  October 11, 2008.  <>

_____.  "Settlement gives hope to others in Caledonia."  Globe and Mail.  January 5, 2010.  <>

Canada Newswire.  "Changing directions, changing lives: Canada's first mental health blueprint unveiled."  May 8, 2012.  <>

Health Canada.  "Speech for the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, the Mental Health Commission of Canada Mental Health Strategy."  May 8, 2012.  <>

Humphries, Adrian.  "'Lawless oasis' formed in Caledonia: lawsuit."  National Post.  November 12, 2009.  <>

Jones, Allison.  "Police sometimes did not act on Caledonia crimes, court told."  The Star.  November 13, 2009.  <>

Killpatrick, Sean.  "Minister praises 'milestone' mental-health plan, but will Ottawa fund it?"  Globe and Mail.  May 8, 2012.  <>

Mental Health Commission of Canada.  "Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada."  May 8, 2012.  <>

Scoffield, Heather.  "Canada's first-ever mental health strategy will pressure Harper to act."  Global News.  May 7, 2012.  <>

Vandermaas, Mark.  "Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation."  Caledonia Victims Project.  May 4, 2010.  <>

Wong, Danielle.  "Caledonia homeowners seek compensation from province, OPP."  The Spec.  August 1, 2011.  <>

Monday, 21 May 2012

Caledonia and Six Nations: Majority Opposed April 28, 2012 "Parade"

The Grand River land dispute includes 40 hectares in Caledonia.  Caledonia is located in Haldimand County, in Southern Ontario.  Henco Industries originally planned to build a residential subdivision, to be called Douglas Creek Estates (DCE), on this land.  But some aboriginals at the Six Nations reserve claimed that this land was never surrendered and started an occupation there on February 28, 2006; the occupation continues to this day.  The federal government maintains that the land was properly surrendered in 1841, and sold in 1844.  The Six Nations elected council agrees with the government's contention, but maintains there should be "fair compensation."  However, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (traditional) Council asserts that the signatories to the sale were deceived (Blatchford, p. 27).  Toby Barrett, the Haldimand-Norfolk Conservative MPP, stated in a February 29, 2012 news release that "there are a number of valid land claims along the Haldimand tract area but not on Douglas Creek Estates."  On the sixth anniversary of the standoff, Barrett announced that Haldimand County had lost 650 residents partly because of the "dismal economic conditions locally and the erosion of justice, rule of law and democractic process" that have resulted from the occupation of the former DCE.
Many of the best recommendations for improving the aboriginal situation originate with natives who recognize that changing things for the better is a two-way street.  They acknowledge that all the blame for native woes cannot be placed on non-natives' shoulders.  Tsimshian lawyer and entrepreneur, Calvin Helin's, book Dances With Dependency (2006) is filled with numerous insights that I share.  Cree Don Sandberg wrote lots of excellent articles for his former employer, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, and continues to write ground-breaking pieces for media outlets like the Winnipeg Free Press and National Post.  Helen Miller, a Six Nations elected band councilor, has had a couple of her powerful letters published in the Brantford Expositor and Turtle Island News.

But I also believe that non-aboriginals have a role to play in recommending solutions.  In my case, I am speaking from two generations of experience dating back to the late 1950s, and as someone who worked in aboriginal organizations in different parts of Canada for about 12 years.  And Sandberg believes people like me should speak out.  In a January 2, 2011 National Post article, he was asked his opinion as to what should be done about aboriginal accountability problems.  He responded with "[t]he strongest voice aboriginal reformers have is the non-aboriginal taxpaying public, who can let their elected officials know something has got to be done.  Because we know the government itself does not listen to grassroots native people."

Fortunately, at Caledonia and Six Nations, many aboriginals and non-aboriginals found common ground in their opposition to an outrageous April 28, 2012 "parade" through Caledonia, orchestrated by a group of mostly non-natives from other parts of Southern Ontario.  One of the parade organizers was Tom Keefer who has been involved with the DCE protests since April 20, 2006.  Caledonia activist Mark Vandermaas described Keefer and his allies as a "gang of anarchists, Marxists, radical unionists, and anti-Israel groups who have been supporting the lawlessness in Caledonia since nearly the beginning."

A media release issued by the march organizers said that participation included representatives from Six Nations as well as non-natives from eight Southern Ontario cities, and that as many as 1,000 could be expected (Day, Dunnville, April 18, 2012; Gamble, Brantford April 27, 2012).

Although local and regional news outlets in the Caledonia area paid considerable attention to the discussions before, during and after the march, it received virtually no coverage outside of those areas.  But I think it is important to draw attention to it because it is a very encouraging development.

I first learned about the march through some correspondence I received from Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) Executive Director Gary McHale and Caledonia Victims Project Founder Mark Vandermaas.  Both activists said their groups would not be present at the march because they did not believe in interfering with events initiated by natives.  However, McHale and Vandermaas did organize a protest the week before, on April 21, at which Vandermaas and another Caledonia activist Jeff Parkinson were arrested.  You can read about their unwarranted detainments at the following links:

Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt made it clear he did not agree with the April 28 "parade" in his April 3, 2012 article in the Sachem.  He said "[f]or most of us who live here, we need not be reminded of the time that has elapsed when assessing the absolute abysmal failure of government.  We do not need people coming from other regions to parade through our community in order to satisfy their personal agenda."

Dr. David K. Faux, a Caledonia resident whose maternal ancestry includes a Six Nations Mohawk clan mother, also raised concerns about the march.  In his April 10, 2012 letter to the Sachem, he said that the '''parade' is a euphemism for 'protest march.'"  He went on to say that the "'parade' organizers have an agenda and we (collectively known as 'settlers') are to be at the receiving end of their anti-establishment aims and aspirations.  DCE is just a matter of convenience to them."

Six Nations elected Chief William Montour was not able to get a resolution passed through his 12-member council opposing the march, but he said his feeling was that "our people are starting to get over 2006" and that the march could "create havoc" (Vo, Sachem, April 17, 2012).

The day before the march, Vandermaas sent an email to his Caledonia mailing list, in which he said:
Tomorrow the people who terrorized your town and those who support them will march in a propaganda effort to convince the victims they created to submit to their twisted logic that you are responsible for the violence against you and your town.
In this post, he also made reference to a July 14, 2009 letter that Helen Miller wrote to the Brantford Expositor, in which she said that certain groups at Six Nations, such as the Mohawk Warriors, "were not elected, appointed or authorized by the people of Six Nations to be their representatives or to speak on their behalf."

There were other aboriginal and non-aboriginal people who spoke out against the march.  If you want to read more about it, you can refer to the bibliography below.

Although the parade organizers announced ahead of time that 1,000 people could be expected, only about 400-500, most of them non-natives, actually showed up (Wong, Spec, April 28, 2012; Pearce and Day, Dunnville, April 29, 2012; Pearce, Dunnville, April 29, 2012).

At the event, Faux carried a sign that stated in Mohawk and English "that 98 per cent of Six Nations and Caledonia want nothing to do with the march."  In his May 9, 2012 letter to the Spec, he said:
The sea of Palestinian, Black Panther, Communist Party of Canada and CUPE flags (what is my former union doing with its members' wages?) give an excellent indication as to who was at the march.  As someone with a foot in both the Caledonia and Six Nations communities, I will proposing a new approach to dealing with the problem since the folks in Ottawa seem to be a bit tardy in getting on with land claims negotiations.
I hope that Faux succeeds.  I think he will be building on the work of Caledonia activists, such as McHale, Vandermaas and Parkinson, who laboured for years, often suffering taunts and abuse, before they started to get some recognition from the media and general public.

The mixture of aboriginal and non-aboriginal opposition to the April 28, 2012 march also signals that many residents of Caledonia and Six Nations realize they need to come up with their own solutions.  I am greatly relieved to hear this.


Barrett, Toby.  "Occupy Caledonia will be six years February 28,"  February 28, 2012.  <>

_____.  "There is no valid claim on DCE."  February 29, 2012.  <>

Blatchford, Christie.  Helpless.  Toronto: Doubleday, 2010.

Day, Matt.  "Caledonia reacts to peace walk." Dunnville Chronicle.  April 29, 2012.  <>

_____.  "No injunction for Caledonia rally organizers."  Dunnville Chronicle.  April 18, 2012.  <>

_____.  "Planned Caledonia rally has Hewitt upset."  Dunnville Chronicle.  April 13, 2012.  <>

_____.  "Two arrested during CANACE rally Saturday."  Dunnville Chronicle.  April 23, 2012.  <>

Faux, David K.  "Caledonia march is opposed by mayor, chief" [Letter].  Hamilton Spectator.  May 9, 2012.  <>

_____.  "'Parade' euphemism for 'protest march'" [Letter].  Sachem.  April 10, 2012.  <>

Foot, Richard.  "Reserves look within for fix to accountability problems."  National Post.  January 2, 2011.  <>

Gamble, Susan.  "Thousands expected for Caledonia peace march."  Brantford Expositor.  April 27, 2012.  <>

Helin, Calvin.  Dances With Dependency.  Vancouver: Orca Spirit, 2006.

Hewitt, Ken.  "Hewitt: DCE a quagmire."  Sachem.  April 3, 2012.  <>

 _____.  "What's April 28 march really about?"  Sachem.  April 17, 2012.  <>

Miller, Helen.  "Only elected council can speak for Six Nations" [Letter].  Brantford Expositor.  July 14, 2009.  <>

Parkinson, Jeff.  "Video--Two arrested for race in Caledonia."  April 24, 2012.  <>

Pearce, Daniel R.  "Hundreds take part in Caledonia peace march."  Simcoe Reformer.  April 29, 2012.   <>

Pearce, Daniel and Matt Day.  "Caledonia reacts to peace walk."  Dunnville Chronicle.  April 29, 2012.  <>

Vandermaas, Mark.  "Dear Caledonia residents--about Tom Keefer. . ."  April 27, 2012.  <>

_____.  "Email to OPP officer re April 21 DCE rally before two 'breach of peace' arrests."  April 27, 2012.  <>

Vo, Jennifer.  "Coalition planning April parade in Caledonia."  Sachem.  April 3, 2012.  <>

_____.  "Parade rubbing salt in old wounds says Chief Montour."  Sachem.  April 17, 2012.  <>

Wong, Danielle.  "Friendship walk peaceful, but Caledonia residents fear wounds reopened."    Hamilton Spectator.  April 28, 2012.  <>

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Israel Truth Week Conference 2012 and Its Connection With the Caledonia Crisis

[Two of the photos in this post were provided courtesy of David Strutt Photography ( and IsraelTruthWeek,org.]

Mark Vandermaas - Voice of Canada and Caledonia Victims Project

Since October 2006, Caledonia activist Mark Vandermaas has maintained the website.  And since March 2010, he has also run the site.  At both places he has posted many of his justifiable concerns regarding the occupation of the former Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) by Six Nations extremists at Caledonia, Ontario.  I have covered some of the issues he and the other Caledonia activists have raised in my "David Peterson and the Caledonia Crisis," April 4, 2011 post; "Aboriginal Issues During the 'Culpability Era,'" September 5, 2011 post, and "Part Two of Two - A Delectable Lie, a Tree and a Way Forward: Multiculturalism and Aboriginal Policy Compared," February 22, 2012 post.

When he first got involved with the Caledonia crisis, Vandermaas raised alarm bells about the fact that the Ontario government and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were applying two different sets of laws at Caledonia--one for the non-natives who lived there and another for the aboriginal extremists who terrorized the residents, particularly those residents who live on the Sixth Line.  He is still sounding the alarm on this, but he and his fellow activists, including Gary McHale, have also concluded there are pro-Palestinian/anti-Jewish forces that are negatively influencing the direction the aboriginal occupiers and their supporters are taking in Caledonia.

Vandermaas's support for Israel and the Jewish people stretches back to his childhood.  His parents lived in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII and saw Jews taken away.  He grew up learning about the Holocaust, and came to understand that "enforcing laws based on race is inherently evil and dangerous."  This understanding was solidified when, in 1978, he served with a United Nations peacekeeping force.  The UN mission's goal was to preserve peace between Egypt and Israel.  He "drove through. . .mine fields on the way to Gaza" and saw "the burnt-out tanks in the desert from the wars waged against Israel."  As a result, he "knows the price of losing the rule of law and how important it is to democracy.  Israel has both."

Decision to Found the Israel Truth Week Conference 2012

Vandermaas founded the conference after hearing the "pain and bewilderment" Jewish people and their supporters felt about the lies being spread during Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events."  IAW events are held on university campuses across Canada in February or March.  IAW proponents claim that they are educating people about Israel's being an apartheid state, but its opponents say that Israel is not apartheid; it is a democracy where the rule of law is maintained.

(Note: on March 7, 2012, both the Canadian federal Conservatives and Liberals denounced IAW (

Vandermaas said his "hand was truly forced" when he read a February 9, 2012 Jewish Tribune article "about how Western University [in London, Ontario] campus police refused to stop IAW supporters from shutting down an event organized by Israel on Campus."  He met with Avi Braemer of Israel on Campus and Bramer "expressed his desire that Jewish students and families know they are not alone, that people in the community are willing to stand up for them and for Israel."

Vandermaas also wanted to draw parallels between the Caledonia situation and the oppression faced by many Jewish students on campus.  He said "it is supremacist ideology in its purest and most evil form--to pretend that innocent victims of one race don't matter because the other race's cause is truly just.  Where have we heard THAT before?"

He explains:
What has never been admitted publicly by the OPP or the Ontario government is that native militants are being aided by a coalition of anarchists, radical unionists, and anti-Israel groups led by an anarchist named Tom Keefer from Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at York University. . .Keefer and CUPE 3903 - with help from other locals from CUPE; CAW; OPSEU; CEP; and USW - began supporting native radicals in Caledonia after the failed OPP raid of April 20/06 when police were driven off the Caledonia site after being attacked with weapons.

By this time, according to OPP testimony, the site was taken over by Mohawk Warriors which police considered to be "akin to the Hell's Angels" -- a group which was involved with organized crime, cigarette running, with a reputation for physical confrontation and access to guns, including assault rifles.
Israel Truth Week Conference, London, Ontario, March 21, 2012

The conference was held at Royal View Church and was sponsored by International Free Press Society-Canada.  The Jewish Defense League provided security.  Presenters were (in order of appearance):
• Rev. Joe Campbell, National Director of Development, Christians for Israel
• Mary Lou Ambrogio, VP, International Free Press Society-Canada
• Avi Braemer, Israel on Campus/Hillel, Western University
• Al Gretzky, Communication Director, International Free Press Society-Canada
• Andrew Lawton, Editor-in-Chief, Landmark Report
• Stuart Laughton, Never Again Group
• Gary McHale, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
• Pesach Ovadyah, BA (Western University graduate/Jewish Defense League)
• Dr. Salim Mansur, Professor, Western University
• Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, Ahavath Torah Congregation, Stoughton, Massachusetts
Weinstain, Mansur, Hausman, Vandermaas, Ambrogio, Campbell, Ovadyah, McHale

To view the complete agenda, including sponsors and contributors, go to:

Approximately 65 people attended (including presenters, contributors and volunteers) from Toronto, Hamilton, Caledonia, Chatham, as well as London and the surrounding area.  Rabbi Hausman came from Massachusetts.

Laughton, Vandermaas, Hausman, Gretzky

There were sessions held in both the afternoon and evening, but I only attended the afternoon session.  Due to time limitations, I will only be summarizing the presentation by Vandermaas, with brief mention of Al Gretzky's.  In addition, I will include excerpts from an interview I conducted with Gary McHale at the end of the afternoon session.

Finally, I will be presenting highlights from my email exchange with Caledonia resident Bonnie Stephens after the conference (Stephens was a conference volunteer).  Stephens has participated in the rallies organized by the Caledonia activists, and, in fact, was one of the "Caledonia Eight" arrested on December 3, 2011.

Vandermaas's Presentation - "'Israel Truth Week' : born of Nazi-occupied Holland and the Caledonia crisis"

Some excerpts:
. . .It is difficult to convey the absolute terror, hopelessness, trauma and sense of betrayal the people of Caledonia feel to this day.  Perhaps it is enough to tell you that Pam Dudych must take medication and go to counseling; Pam's mother takes medication for her diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and has attempted suicide; Pam's father has had a heart attack; the family business is in ruins, and they cannot leave because they cannot sell their house.

. . .The first Jewish group to come and stand with us in Caledonia was the Never Again Group from Hamilton in 2011.  Actually they are 1/2 Jewish, 1/2 non-Jewish.  Last night they held their first anti-IAW event at McMaster University, which was a terrific success.  Many of them are here today and I am grateful for their support.

. . .[T]hose responsible for the violence in Caledonia have done their best for the past 6 years to deny the humanity of their victims by pretending they don't exist, all the while viciously attacking those of us who speak for them. . .

. . .[W]hat about the native leaders who recently met with the Iranian Ambassador in Ottawa?  One of them is Terrance Nelson who once said that the only way to deal with a white man is to pick up a gun and get between him and his money.  I wonder. . .what sort of aid from Iran were they looking for, do you think?

I hope you now better understand that when you help the fight for civil rights for non-Jews in Caledonia who are the innocent victims of a small group of native militants and the Ontario government that appeases them, you are also helping to defeat the sworn enemies of Israel trying to destroy everything you believe is right in your own backyard.

Al Gretzky - "Free Speech: Victim of Neutrality Between the Lawful and the Lawless"

Gretzky said that in terms of the rule of law, "it is impossible to have one without the other."  He provided the examples of Geert Wilders (in the Netherlands "a supposedly rule of law country"), and Tommy Robinson (in England "the cradle of our democracy") as two individuals who have had their free speech severely curtailed.  And he added that in Canada "we've got no reason to be smug, none whatsoever--just ask Mark Steyn and Ann Coulter."  He noted that what all these "supposed free countries" have in common is "growing civil unrest because of lack of freedom of speech and rule of law."

He referred to Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan, to show what can happen when there is no rule of law.  He then spoke of Caledonia "where you can get arrested walking down the street with a Canadian flag--just ask Mark [Vandermaas] and Gary [McHale]."  Gretsky went down to Caledonia in June 2011 and said to Vandermaas on the way back "I didn't think I was in Canada.  I could not believe what was going on.  And that's because we refuse to stand up for the rule of law."

Gary McHale - Interview with counterpoise
counterpoise:  . . .People are so afraid of giving up their security. . .but I think what you've been able to prove is that the more you stick up for what you believe, it can come back and benefit you.

McHale:  It can.  I rarely talk about my Christian faith in interviews because I don't believe the modern media is going to represent my views properly.  And though it motivates me to do what I do, it is not really part of the issue in the sense that. . .I believe fundamentally most Canadians believe in freedoms.

. . .I didn't become a Christian until I was 21, and that was a very hard thing to do in my family.  It created major problems within the family.  But as I've been a Christian now for 30 years, there comes a time for most Christians when they say "what am I prepared to do, to take a stand for what I believe in.". . .As a Christian, I have to understand that if I'm going to take a stand, my money could be touched, my reputation could be touched, my health could be touched.

. . .[As Christians,] we believe that peaceful ways can overcome, that truth can overcome the hatred and the anger.  And I had to see whether or not I could put that in practice. . .My wife and I had to sit down and say "this is dangerous."  The bank foreclosed on our condo, we lost our entire investment in the condo--that's a hard decision--and at each level of time, we could say we're going to give up the fight and go back to our stable lifestyle. . .Ultimately as a person, I could do that quite easily; as a Christian, I couldn't do that. . .I had to make the decision where am I really going to stand.

. . .It's not a decision you make day one. . .it's kind of like a progression.  First thing I did was I wanted to set up a website, put some photos up.  And suddenly I was the object of everyone's hate.  But the darkest hours come when the people you are fighting for are equally the ones that are spitting in your face. . .[A]bout a year into the occupation, the residents [were] so tired of the occupation, so tired of the violence, so tired of the intimidation. . .that they [lashed] out at anyone they [perceived] might be agitating the situation.  All they [wanted was] everyone to go away, including that Gary McHale. . .So the very people who first support you, abandon you, and that's when you really know whether you're going to fight the battle.

This is why this [the conference] is so great.  [I]t has taken so long for us to get groups to come together.  And to get the media on board, that is so important. . .We're almost at the promised land, the way I'm seeing it now.  Back then it was the dark ages when everyone abandoned us. . .Then Mark steps forward. . .Merlyn Kinrade. . .These people have stood with us and they're equally to be credited.  I get so much credit for all the things Mark does.  He's the silent guy behind the scenes. . .We understand as a group, that when you give credit to the leader, it helps the overall cause. . .But a lot of these people work so much in the background.
Bonnie Stephens, Caledonia Resident and Conference Volunteer

Stephens, Christine McHale, Debbie Vandermaas

Excerpts from Stephens's emails to me, March 22 to 27, 2012:
. . .I was not at the early rallies in Caledonia when Gary, Mark. . .and others stood up for the rule of law, but rather, I am a product of their brave initiative.  [When trouble first broke out at Caledonia, the people I know there] were too confused and afraid to know what to do. . .People I know were shocked because the OPP were not stopping the criminal actions. . .Personally, I didn't know what to make of the OPP not stepping in.  I thought they must be organizing a giant operation to arrest the bad guys, but they didn't. . .I do think that some people - both in Caledonia and on Six Nations - were likely afraid of what more these thugs might do.  And angry.

. . .[I read Christie Blatchford's book about the Caledonia crisis, Helpless (2010)], and was thankful that she had written it. . .[I was disgusted when her] first speaking engagement at the University of Waterloo [was cancelled, November 10, 2010, due to a protest by a small group of students].  I wrote a letter to the president of the university about it.  I did attend the second time to add my support for Christie [the presentation was rescheduled for December 7, 2010, and went ahead smoothly].

There is a lot of "racist, racist, racist" chanted at us [at the rallies organized by the Caledonia activists] which is disgusting to me. . .I support what Gary is trying to do, so when they accuse him of something then they are accusing me of the same thing.  I refer you to CanaceHD for specific examples.

. . .Israel Truth Week showed me the macro and micro views of antisemitism; that it is growing worldwide and in Canada and that IAW in our universities is a result of this trend.  The speakers told us practical ways that each of us can combat antisemitism. . .So adding in this new information, the connection becomes clearer to me.  When violence and intimidation broke out at Caledonia and some residents needed protection. . .the police failed to protect them.  On campus (and elsewhere. . .) the people in authority fail to protect students being harmed in the same, albeit less violent, way.

In June 2007, I first contacted Vandermaas and McHale to lend my support.  And in September 2007, I also started corresponding with Jeff Parkinson who does the great videography work on CanaceHD.  I have lost some friendships and acquaintances because of my association with these people.  But fortunately I have gained others.  As Stephens said "I think anyone who speaks out about what is occurring in Caledonia is brave and valuable for shining light on what is happening here."  Vandermaas, Gretzky, McHale and Stephens are certainly far braver than me.  But I think McHale is right that the conference means "we're almost at the promised land."  I vividly recall the "dark ages" when the activists had little to no backing from the general public and the media.  But a growing number of people are joining the fight to preserve Canada's freedom of speech and rule of law.  We all need to join this fight, not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

[Check in the right sidebar for links to many of the organizations and/or resources mentioned in this post.]

Friday, 16 March 2012

Canadian Copyright Law's Fair Dealing Provisions and

Updated April 9, 2015

I own the copyright to all my posts and any use of my writing is only in terms of Canada's fair dealing provisions, as stated in the Canadian Copyright Act.  These provisions include:

• "research or private study" (Section 29)
• "criticism or review" (Section 29.1)
• "news reporting" (Section 29.2)

Any other use could constitute infringement.  For further information on fair dealing, please refer to the Canadian Copyright Act on the Government of Canada site.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Part Two of Two - A Delectable Lie, a Tree and a Way Forward: Multiculturalism and Aboriginal Policy Compared

Updated, June 27, 2018, 11:10A EDT: Since this blog post was written, I have instituted a policy of not including links to other people's blogs or websites on my blog.  Consequently, links that appeared in the original February 22, 2012 post have been removed.  In their place, I have created citations in the bibliography, where the information can be found.  The parts of my blog that have been updated are in red font.

As mentioned in part one, I see similarities between Salim Mansur's concerns about multiculturalism (as expressed in his book Delectable Lie) and my concerns about some aspects of current aboriginal policy in Canada.

In both cases, the government enacted legislation in order to gain support from the immigrant and aboriginal communities.  The officials involved wanted to appease those who felt Quebec was getting preferential treatment in constitutional discussions, e.g., those who believed Canada was more than two founding nations.  In addition, politicians wanted to get all sides on board so that constitutional negotiations could be finalized.

The evolutionary climate of the last 40 years of the 20th century gave legislators the idea that it was OK to tinker with liberalism so that societal changes could be accommodated.  But Mansur feels that caving in to the demands of special interest groups results in a weakening of the small l liberalism that is important for maintaining freedom and individual rights in a democratic society.

In fact, it is not just small l liberalism that is at stake, but the security of the country.  There are increasing reports that Islamist and/or pro-Palestinian/anti-Jewish forces are involved with aboriginal protests.

Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Jewish Groups and the Six Nations Occupiers at Caledonia

One of the most glaring examples of this is the nearly six-year occupation by Six Nations militants of the former Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) at Caledonia, Ontario.  You can read my "David Peterson and the Caledonia Crisis" post for more information about this crisis.

In a February 1, 2012 article, Caledonia activist Gary McHale said "when the occupation of DCE first started five Palestinian groups helped finance the occupation, and a Palestinian flag was raised on DCE. . .Since then anti-Israel protesters were seen at DCE. . .At McMaster [University] the same protesters on DCE are organizing Six Nations/Palestinian struggle events."

You can read McHale's article in:

Voice of Canada.  No Blacks, Whites or Jews Allowed. . .February 5, 2012.   The full citation for this can be found in the bibliography at the end of this post.

As McHale explains in the article, some members of the Jewish community have been following this issue with deep concern.  In fact, representatives of the Hamilton-based Never Again Group, which defends Israel and fights anti-Semitism, have been present at events organized by the Caledonia activists.

"Ending Race-Based Policing:  The Caledonia Act"

On February 9, 2012, Toby Barrett, the MPP for Haldimand County (which includes Caledonia), provided the Queen's Park Media Studio for the following people to make presentations about the topic "Ending Race-Based Policing:  The Caledonia Act."

1.   Gary McHale, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE)
2.   Stuart Laughton, Never Again Group
3.   Mary Lou Ambrogio, International Free Press Society-Canada vice-president
4.   Kristin Kaye, Caledonia-based Regional News reporter

You can find out more about the event and presentations in the following entries at Voice of Canada:

Queen's Park news conference. . .February 13, 2012

Stuart Laughton. . .February 13, 2012

Mary-Lou Ambrogio. . .February 13, 2012

The full citations for the above entries can be found in the bibliography at the end of this post.

As Laughton says:
I want to stress that my group has made no opposition to the Natives who make land claims: we only protest the violent manner in which the claims to the Caledonia property were made and the racially skewed responses of the Ontario government. . .Will our next premier instruct police not to enter predominantly Muslim areas of our major cities, and allow microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law to flourish there? . .We also have to consider the effect that racially biased policing has on those Native Canadians, Tamils, Muslims, and others who ask for no special favours and want nothing to do with the more militant members of their community.  Who speaks for them? . .Our citizenry consists of millions and millions and millions of individuals and those INDIVIDUALS are the ultimate minorities.  Each of us has to be treated impartially before the law.
I completely agree with Laughton.  I am generally very supportive of the need by aboriginals to lobby for their rights, and to receive just compensation with regards to property, social justice, and other issues of concern.  But the events at Caledonia, in particular, have made me realize that the process of aboriginals lobbying for their rights can easily get sidetracked by those, like pro-Palestinian/anti-Jewish forces, who have an agenda that may not be in keeping with what all the people at Six Nations want.

Furthermore, what about the third of aboriginals who do not identify themselves as such in the federal census?  Do they share the views of the Six Nations occupiers and their supporters?  See my "Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better than Assimilation or Parallelism" post for more information about this, and some related information.

Protecting the Rights of Individuals

One of the tests Mansur recommends for determining if a culture is of equal merit and deserves equal respect, is to see how the culture protects individuals (you can find a discussion of this in part one).  The bottom line is, how well is the Ontario government upholding the rights of the Caledonia residents, and, indeed, the rights of the Six Nations residents who are not participating in the occupation?

"Caring Measures" More Important than Attaining "Stratospheric Rights"

Australian anthropologist and linguist, Peter Sutton, has more than 40 years experience with the Aborigines in Australia.  His book, The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus (2009, 2011), is filled with many insights that I share.  Marcia Langton, the Aborigine scholar who penned a foreword for the book, also echoes his concerns.

Sutton complains that too many politicians, lawyers, and activists insist that Aborigines will not be truly happy and fulfilled until all outstanding issues, such as social justice, treaty and reconciliation, have been met.  He responds with ". . .[t]his unscientific mumbo jumbo beggars belief. . .Caring measures. . .rather than documentary measures based on increasingly stratospheric rights. . .lie at the effective end of realistic processes of improvement."

I do not know if Sutton is aware of the Caledonia situation, or if he has read and agrees with the concerns expressed in Mansur's book, Delectable Lie.  Therefore, I do not want to imply that he shares the opinions expressed in this post.  His words, nevertheless, resonate with me in terms of what I see is wrong, not only at Caledonia, but also what I often find is counterproductive regarding aboriginal policy development.

"Caring Measures" We Can Learn from the Six Nations Occupiers' Dog

CANACE videographer, Jeff Parkinson, took footage, entitled "CANACE attacked on DCE,"  of a February 18, 2012 hostile encounter between the Six Nations occupiers and non-native residents who were objecting to the occupation.  You can find the video for this at:

Voice of Canada.  McHale arrested. . .February 19, 2012.  The full citation for this can be found in the bibliography.

As you will see if you look at the video, there was a lot of swearing, shouting and violence.

But photographer David Strutt was there, and was able to capture a more positive moment.  You can find the photos for this at:

Voice of Canada.  David Strutt photos. . .February 22, 2012.  The full citation for this can be found in the bibliography.

This was when the Six Nations occupiers' dog welcomed Gary McHale.  Vandermaas said: "[f]or this one moment all the hostility evaporated.  David saw that the dog didn't understand hate; it didn't judge us [Caledonia activists] by the DNA running in our blood beneath our white skin.  It just saw a friend.  And David saw hope."

I think this dog can teach us all a few things about hope--and "caring measures."

A Way Forward

Here is a photo I took last summer, of a path in a park near my home:

It reminds me of the fact there is always a chance we will pull ourselves out of this mess, that we will find a way forward to a more peaceful solution.


Blatchford, Christie.  Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us.  Doubleday Canada, 2010.

McHale, Gary.  Victory in the No-Go Zone: Winning the Fight Against Two-Tier Policing.  St. Catharines, Ontario: Freedom Press, 2013.

Voice of Canada.  David Strutt photos: Caledonia 8 make history on Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia, February 22, 2012.

Voice of Canada.  Mary-Lou Ambrogio, International Free Press Society 'connects the dots' w/speech at Queen's Park Caledonia Act news conference, February 13, 2012.

Voice of Canada.  McHale arrested in Caledonia because Native man assaults 77 yr old former Navy vet/UN peacekeeper and OPP officers, February 19, 2012.

Voice of Canada.  'No Blacks, Jews or Whites Allowed by Order of McGuinty" - by Gary McHale, February 5, 2012.

Voice of Canada.  Queen's Park news conference - NGO's stand with Caledonia activists for release of Caledonia Act recommendations to end racial profiling, February 13, 2012.

Voice of Canada.  Stuart Laughton, Never Again Group speech at Caledonia Act news conference: individuals are the ultimate minorities, February 13, 2012.

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Delectable Lie, a Tree and a Way Forward: Multiculturalism and Aboriginal Policy Compared - Part One of Two

This is part one of two posts on this topic.

Some Significant Dates Regarding Multiculturalism and Aboriginal Policy

1876                       Indian Act (still in effect today)--mostly affects Status on-reserve Indians (aboriginals)
1955 and prior        Status Indians had to enfranchise (give up their Indian status) when they graduated from college or university
1960                        Status Indians given the right to vote
1969                        Trudeau government issued the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy (a.k.a. the White Paper), which advocated assimilation of aboriginals into Canadian society, the repeal of the Indian Act, and the end of treaty negotiations
1969-1970               Some aboriginal organizations denounced the White Paper and countered with Citizens Plus (a.k.a. the Red Paper), which recommended greater involvement of aboriginals in decision-making about them
1970s onward          Government funding provided to native organizations for land claims and self-government work
1971                         Multiculturalism Policy of Canada proclaimed
1982                         Multiculturalism entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
1982                         Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms bolstered aboriginal collective rights as opposed to the rights of aboriginal individuals
1985                        Air India Boeing 747 bombed, killing 329 passengers and crew.  Most of the passengers were Canadian citizens of East Indian origin.  Bomb believed to have been planted by Sikh terrorists, but two suspects were acquitted
1988                        Canadian Multiculturalism Act
2006                        CSIS arrested 18 young men in the Toronto area, on charges of planning Islamist terrorist attacks
2008                        Prime Minister Stephen Harper "made a Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, on behalf of the Government of Canada"
2010                        Canada joined other countries "in supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"

As you can see from the above chronology, a great percentage of Canada's multiculturalism and aboriginal policy development occurred during the 1970s to 1980s.  And I contend this is not the only thing the two issues have in common.  I have come to this conclusion after reading Salim Mansur's groundbreaking book Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism.

Mansur is a political science professor at Western University (formerly the University of Western Ontario) in London, Ontario.  He is also a Sun Media columnist.  In 1971, his mother, younger siblings and he managed to flee from a genocidal civil war in South Asia.  He witnessed savage killings, and considered himself lucky to have got out of it alive.  This was the second time his family had been thrown into the "maelstrom of ethnically driven politics"--the first was during the 1947 Partition of India.

In 1974, Mansur came to Canada.  Here he found "safety, support and an opportunity to begin a new life" as a moderate Sunni Muslim who has denounced Islamism (radical Islam).  He says "Islamism. . .is. . .a mutation of a violent strain of Muslim-religious thought and practice that might be traced back to the earliest years of Islam."

He describes himself as a "naturalized citizen of Canada that is an integral part of the West as a civilization distinct from other civilizations and cultures."  But he provides ample evidence to prove that the values that drew him to this country in the first place, (e.g., (small l) liberal democracy and freedom of speech), are being eroded by "identity politics" and collectivism.

As Mansur says:
although multiculturalism once seemed like a good idea, at least to politicians and others smitten with the ambition for unity, it is increasingly shown to be a lie--a delectable lie, perhaps, yet a lie nevertheless--that is destructive to the West's democratic heritage, values and traditions based on individual rights and freedoms.  This could have been foretold, as indeed those philosophers and historians of ideas who viewed freedom as immeasurably more important than equality in the development of the West did foretell.  They admonished people against the temptation to abridge freedom in pursuit of equality.
Mansur's arguments can be summarized as follows:

A.1        All cultures are not equal.  ". . .[T]he worm inside the doctrine of multiculturalism is the lie that all cultures are worthy of equal respect and equally embracing of individual freedom and democracy.  The concerted assault by the Islamists on the essential and life-affirming values based on individual rights and freedoms is proof of this lie. . .[T]here are established criteria making it possible to judge the achievements of all cultures. . .but the primary criterion that makes possible all human achievement is freedom."

A.2       Two tests can be applied regarding cultural equality.  There are two tests that can be applied to determine if a culture is of equal merit and deserves equal respect: protection of the rights of the individual, and the treatment of women.

A.2.1     Rights of individuals.  Islamists do not protect the rights of individuals.  They believe in silencing their critics, including within the Muslim community.  They will go to extreme lengths in order to achieve this, including murdering those who criticize them. 

A.2.2      Treatment of women.  Islamists practise shariah (a.k.a. shari'ah) law, which restricts the actions of women and non-Muslims, and is considered misogynist and overly punitive by its critics.

A.3         Enemies of the West can weaken Canada from within.  "There are enemies of the West who hate its civic culture, its freedom and democracy, as do the Islamists who organized the terrorist strikes on 9/11.  And ironically these enemies find that multiculturalism increasingly in the post-9/11 world works in tandem with their interests to weaken the West politically and culturally from the inside."

A.4         Old World conflicts brought to Canada.  Mansur believes that Western civilization frees the individual "from the collectivist hold of tribe, caste, church, nation, class and any ideology that made him a mere cog in the wheel."  His concern is that immigrants sometimes bring their tribally oriented hatreds and conflicts into Canada.

A.5         Recognition of a unifying Canadian culture.  He realizes that multiculturalism is very deeply engrained in the Canadian state, but believes "there is room for constraining any future growth. . .at the expense of the liberal values of freedom and individual rights."  He feels that "in order for this to occur. . .there must be a clear understanding. . .that there is a unifying Canadian culture deeply embedded in the values of the West and shaped by the Enlightenment."

Mansur's words remind me of a tree in my neighbourhood that has grown up on both sides of a fence, the one side encased in the fence.  I used a photo of the encased side of the tree in my "Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better than Assimilation or Parallelism" post to demonstrate my concerns about those aboriginals who want to separate from Canada (I see the encased side as representing them).  I would now like to extend my interpretation to say that the encased side of the tree represents what multiculturalism is doing to Canada, and the free side of the tree:

represents the Canada that I think Mansur would like to see, and I know I would like to see.

In my next post (Part Two of Two) I will compare Mansur's concerns about multiculturalism with my concerns about some aspects of current aboriginal policy.

Note 1:  I will  provide more of an explanation of many of the items listed in the bibliography in my next post (Part Two).

Note 2:  Listing these works in my bibiography does not necessarily mean that the authors and/or organizations who published them agree with Mansur's or my views.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  "Canada's Statement of Support on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." November 12, 2010.  <>

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.  "Statement of Apology." June 11, 2008  <>

Cairns, Alan.  Citizens Plus: Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian State.  Vancouver:  UBC Press, 2000.

Dreidger, Leo and Jean Burnet.  "Multiculturalism." 2012.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  <>

Getty, Ian.  "Harold Cardinal."  Canadian Encyclopedia.  2012.  <>

Gibson, Gordon.  A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy.  Calgary: Fraser Institute, 2009.

Henderson, William B.  "Native People, Law."  2012.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  <>

International Free Press Society-Canada.  "Salim Mansur-Reviews."  2012.  <>

Mansur, Salim.  Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism.  Brantford, ON: Mantua Books, 2011.

McCardle, Bennett.  "Enfranchisement."  2012.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  <>

McCue, Harvey.  "Indian."  2012.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  <>

Taylor, John Leonard.  "Aboriginal People, Government Policy."  2012.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  <>