‘HELPLESS’ – Christie Blatchford’s Caledonia book ready for pre-order

HELPLESS: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, by Christie Blatchford, RELEASE DATE Oct 26/10

UPDATE:Helpless by Blatchford.ca‘ website launched as education project by Caledonia Victims Project & Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality to promote the book as a catalyst to help Canadians understand rule of law issues. (NOT endorsed by author or publisher)

UPDATE: Conservatives Against Fantino, Oct 10/10: Christie Blatchford in ‘HELPLESS’: Front line officers ‘sold down the river’ by Fantino & Boniface.

HELPLESS: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy and How the Law Failed All of Us

by Christie Blatchford
Random House/Doubleday Canada
Hardcover & E-Book
ISBN – 10: 0385670397
ISBN – 13: 9780385670395
272 pages

  • Random House/Doubleday Canada catalog — Helpless
  • see also: Amazon.ca catalog: Helpless
  • see also: Chapters-Indigo catalog: Helpless

On October 26, 2010 – four years after I and 2,000 other people marched with Gary McHale on his Oct 15/06 inaugural ‘March for Freedom‘ – Caledonia’s nightmare will be revealed in all its shocking and disgusting details by Canada’s premier investigative reporter, Christie Blatchford — winner of the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Award for her book – Fifteen Days — about the experience of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Bill Jackson, reporter with Caledonia-based Regional News — the only media outlet that ensured those of us who opposed racial policing and native extremism had a consistent place to share evidence and opinions – had this to say:

Those who’ve followed story lines since the Douglas Creek Estates native occupation began in 2006, and especially those who haven’t, should mark Oct. 26th on their calendars.

That’s the day award-winning author, columnist and longtime Globe and Mail court reporter Christie Blatchford will release her latest book called Helpless – Caledonia’s nightmare of fear and anarchy, and how the law failed all of us.

Blatchford was in town back in 2006 when the barricades on Argyle Street came down, however she went to Afghanistan that summer and her focus didn’t return to Caledonia until the following year when she began to document the lives of Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell – the local couple who lived next to the occupation and launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the OPP and provincial government.

After covering the trial last year, Blatchford admits to becoming “completely obsessed” with the issues surrounding the rule of law, and lack thereof.

Although several local newspapers reported most of the issues facing Caledonia, the whole story wasn’t being properly told by the national press and Toronto media, Blatchford contends.

Before she left for Vancouver to cover the Winter Games she had committed to pen a book about the Canadian justice system, but instead told her publisher that her heart was in Caledonia.


Blatchford has spoken with more than 45 different people in Caledonia, many of whom she said were frank, engaged, straitforward characters, who didn’t shoot BS.


Over the past couple of years Blatchford has become quite well acquainted with the likes of local activists Gary McHale, Merlyn Kinrade, Doug Fleming and Mark Vandermaas and said she’s gained a lot of respect for them and their work to keep local issues on the front burner.”

Publisher’s comments – ‘About This Book’ (emphasis added)

It officially began on February 28, 2006, when a handful of protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve walked onto Douglas Creek Estates, then a residential subdivision under construction, and blocked workers from entering. Over the course of the spring and summer of that first year, the criminal actions of the occupiers included throwing a vehicle over an overpass, the burning down of a hydro transformer which caused a three-day blackout, the torching of a bridge and the hijacking of a police vehicle. During the very worst period, ordinary residents living near the site had to pass through native barricades, show native-issued “passports”, and were occasionally threatened with body searches and routinely subjected to threats. Much of this lawless conduct occurred under the noses of the Ontario Provincial Police, who, often against their own best instincts, stood by and watched: They too had been intimidated. Arrests, where they were made, weren’t made contemporaneously, but weeks or months later. The result was to embolden the occupiers and render non-native citizens vulnerable and afraid. Eighteen months after the occupation began, a home builder named Sam Gualtieri, working on the house he was giving his daughter as a wedding present, was attacked by protesters and beaten so badly he will never fully recover from his injuries. The occupation is now in its fifth year. Throughout, Christie Blatchford has been observing, interviewing, and investigating with the tenacity that has made her both the doyen of Canadian crime reporters and a social commentator beloved for her uncompromising sense of right and wrong.

In Helpless she tells the full story for the first time – a story that no part of the press or media in Canada has been prepared to tackle with the unflinching objectivity that Christie Blatchford displays on every page. This is a book whose many revelations, never before reported, will shock and appall. But the last word should go to the author:

“This book is not about aboriginal land claims. The book is not about the wholesale removal of seven generations of indigenous youngsters from their reserves and families – this was by dint of federal government policy – or the abuse dished out to many of them at the residential schools into which they were arbitrarily placed or the devastating effects that haunt so many today. This book is not about the dubious merits of the reserve system which may better serve those who wish to see native people fail than those who want desperately for them to succeed. I do not in any way make light of these issues, and they are one way or another in the background of everything that occurred in Caledonia. 

“What Helpless is about is the failure of government to govern and to protect all its citizens equally.”

  • Random House/Doubleday Canada catalog — Helpless

No investigative journalism in Caledonia until Blatchford

It may be difficult to believe but until Blatchford arrived on the scene in November 2009 to cover the Brown-Chatwell trial there was virtually zero investigative reporting into the Caledonia crisis. One important documentary that actually made it to production never made it to the public. In 2007 the CBC produced a ready-to-air documentary based on OPP/occupier radio traffic recordings Gary McHale supplied (obtained from a Caledonia resident) that showed how native occupiers in Caledonia had, among many other things, authorized the shooting of civilians and police and interfered with police and ambulance routings. The day before it was to be aired – on the eve of our April 17/07 FantinoGate news conference at Queen’s Park – the plug was suddenly pulled on the piece and it has never aired since:

Despite the publication of outrageous lies by the OPP, our offers to outlets such as the Hamilton Spectator, the Brantford Expositor, Toronto Sun and CH TV to meet and provide evidence were rebuffed or ignored.

Blatchford was the first and only journalist to try to get to the bottom of Caledonia’s law enforcement tragedy although, in February 2010 the CBC’s investigative reporter John Nichol did produce two important pieces, one on our work, the other on how Fantino targeted McHale in his emails to other officers. There have been other bright spots along the way, most notably the Caledonia-based Regional News, but for the most part Canada’s mainstream media simply did not want to dig too deeply into what had happened in Caledonia and expose the outrageous lies being foisted on the public, the victims and the media by the Ontario government, the OPP and native protesters. This reality is reflected in one of the publisher’s most telling comments:

In Helpless she tells the full story for the first time – a story that no part of the press or media in Canada has been prepared to tackle with the unflinching objectivity that Christie Blatchford displays on every page.

VoC Comment

“News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”

  • Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922 (SOURCE)

Helpless means so much to those who endured the lawlessness of native protesters gone amok and the racial policing practices that gave rise to what Blatchford calls the “nightmare of fear and anarchy, and especially to those of us who were arrested, defamed and assaulted when we fought back against injustice and told the stories that Canada’s media, for the most part, would not tell. I suspect that most readers will have a difficult time believing that it is not a work of fiction, that it all really did happen right here in Canada right under the noses of the ‘watchdogs of democracy’ who were, for the most part, either wilfully blind or asleep at the switch.

The real story of Caledonia is NOT the burning bridge, or the assaults, or the occupations or the smokeshacks. No, the real story is that a police force, aided and abetted by a provincial government, and the Office of the Attorney General, made a wilful decision to suspend the rights of an entire class of citizens right in front of the noses of every major media outlet in Ontario, not one of whom — to the best of my knowledge — has ever asked what legal authority they had to do so:

  • CANACE report, Dec 2007: The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations [PDF, 101p]
  • CANACE report, May 2008: Legalized MYTHS of Illegal Occupations [PDF, 56p]
  • 1536412 Ontario Ltd. v. HCCC, HDI, Ruby & Floyd Montour, Hazel Hill (Cayuga occupation, May-June 2008) [LINK]
  • John Voortman & Associates v. HMF (Hagersville occupation, April 2009) [LINK

Hopefully, Helpless will help Canadian media chart a new course beginning with an education on the difference between news and advertising. Too much of Caledonia’s reporting fell into the latter category.

Last Revision: Sept 12/10



Mark Vandermaas
Editor, VoiceofCanada
Founder, Caledonia Victims Project
info@ caledoniavictimsproject.ca

About Mark Vandermaas

I am founder of Israel Truth Week, and I'm the 'Liberate Israel Training Guy.' I train pro-Israel advocates in how to use Israel's land title deed-the Mandate For Palestine-as a powerful moral narrative to counter the false 'occupation' vilification. Also, founder of VoiceofCanada.ca and the Caledonia Victims Project.
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