Canadian Civil Liberties Association closes door on Caledonia civil rights abuses

Crying -  ashamed


In reply to a joint request by CANACE and the Caledonia Victims Project, the Canadian Civil Liberties (CCLA) has, once again, refused to even consider meeting to discuss the civil rights abuses in Caledonia, and has made it clear it has no intention of addressing the issue at all.

Here are our most recent communications with the CCLA, followed by a complete list of references related to our many unsuccessful attempts to persuade the CCLA to assist Caledonia’s victims…

1. CANACE/CVP LETTER TO CCLA, Mar 01/11  (via email & fax) [PDF]

March 01, 2011                                                                   BY FAX & EMAIL

Canadian Civil Liberties Association
506-360 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M5S 1X1
t: 416.363.0321 f: 416.861.1291 

Dear CCLA: 

Beginning in early 2007 I contacted your office on a number of occasions seeking your assistance with the civil rights abuses in Caledonia associated with racial policing practices of the OPP, but you were, unfortunately, unable to assist us at that time. 

As you undoubtedly know, award-winning author Christie Blatchford’s 2010 book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All of Us, has completely vindicated allegations that the Ontario Provincial Police were following orders not to enforce the rule of law in Caledonia and were, indeed, conducting policing by race to the utter detriment of non-native citizens with no lawful authority. 

You may not be aware, however, that a significant amount of the evidence and background for the book was provided by us, and that Mr. McHale and his wife received an acknowledgement in the book for their assistance to the author. 

Blatchford’s February 28, 2011 article in Globe, ‘For sheer abuse of state power nothing touches Caledonia,’ [LINK] opens with some frank criticism of the CCLA’s deafening silence on Caledonia’s police abuses: 

How fitting that the report of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the policing of the G20 should be released on the fifth anniversary of the native occupation in Caledonia, Ont. 

The same organization now screaming for a full-scale public inquiry into alleged abuses – particularly, the troubling breach-of-the-peace arrest authority used over that June weekend – was and continues to be absolutely silent about similar and worse abuses that occurred in the small town just south of Hamilton, just a few klicks from the Six Nations reserve. 

We have worked alone, on a full time volunteer basis, with no financial or public support from NGOs for nearly 5 years – exposing and opposing the terrible race-based policing that caused so much misery in Caledonia, and we would be grateful for your interest now that you have additional resources available of the type you were able to mobilize for the G20, a very worthwhile endeavour indeed. 

Free Thinking Film Society & International Free Press Society event, Library & Archives Canada, Ottawa, March 22/11: 'CALEDONIA: NO MORE NIGHTMARES'Last week, the International Free Press Society and the Free Thinking Film Society announced they are co-sponsoring an Ottawa presentation at the Library & National Archives for us entitled, Caledonia: No More Nightmares. The final segment of our presentation will be the public release of our legislative recommendations for what we call ‘The Caledonia Act.’ We have already supplied these to two political parties at their invitation, and would be pleased to discuss any ideas and assistance you might have with respect to improving and implementing them. 

Would the CCLA be ready to take a meeting with us in the near future to discuss the best way to ensure that the egregious civil rights abuses in Caledonia cannot be repeated? 

Thank you for your consideration. 

You can read our ‘Caledonia CVs’ here: 

Mark Vandermaas: 

Gary McHale: 



Mark Vandermaas
Caledonia Victims Project
371 Vesta Place, London N5Y 1G4

Gary McHale
Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
106 Donald Bell Drive, Binbrook L0R 1C0

2. CCLA reply to CANACE/CVP,  March 02/11 [PDF]

Dear Mr. Vandermaas,

(Please note that the following response has also been sent to Mr. McHale’s attention.)

Thank you very much for your email enquiry to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

The different courses of response taken by the CCLA in relation to the G20 and the Caledonia dispute reflect the varying nature of our organization’s involvement in these respective events.

In regards to the G20, the CCLA had met with the police prior to the summit to express concerns and make suggestions, had 50 monitors on the ground during the event and hence was able to verify allegations of brutality and see first hand what was going on. It is in this context that the CCLA gained direct knowledge of many questionable public encounters with the law enforcement, issued a preliminary report immediately after the G20 calling for a public inquiry, filed complaints to various oversight bodies, and was in a position to hold public hearings on the subject thereafter which resulted in the report that we issued this Monday. 

In 2006, the CCLA did not have the capacity to do similar ground work. On the Caledonia dispute, the CCLA does not have the same credibility to speak because our organization dose not have any particular knowledge. It is not that there are no serious issues raised at Caledonia, which many, including Ms. Blatchford from the Globe and Mail, have raised, and these issues certainly warrant attention in our society and accountability from the government. It is simply that in the context of a small organization, resources are limited, and at times, we need to concentrate on where we think that we can make a significant addition to the public debate, particularly in circumstances where others have already and so eloquently made the case for public attention. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us. 


xxxxxxx, Articling Fellow

Canadian Civil Liberties Association
360 Bloor St. W., Suite 506
Toronto, ON M5S 1X1
tel: (416) 363-0321 x. 229
fax: (416) 861-1291

3. Gary McHale (CANACE) letter to CCLA, March 02/11 [PDF]

Dear XXXXX (Canadian Civil Liberties Association – CCLA):

I find it interesting that somehow because you didn’t have the resources back in 2006 that you are unable now to research Caledonia. Since when does the CCLA need to be there from the beginning – will the CCLA only review issues where the police and government pre-announce they are going to violate people’s rights? If you had 50 monitors for the G8/G20 then couldn’t you have had at least one in Caledonia at the height of all the violence?

Furthermore, I checked just two of your previous cases listed on the CCLA website – R. v. Lucas, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 439 and R. v. Stillman, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607. In both cases, the CCLA wasn’t involved in either case prior to the case going to the Supreme Court of Canada. Both cases were well represented by lawyers without the CCLA.

According to your stated view the CCLA doesn’t need to look into Caledonia due to Christie Blatchford’s book – I doubt her book could be used in court to bring an end to Race Based Policing. Both of the above cases already had lawyers involved so why would the CCLA get involved? In fact, I am sure that if I was to check most of the cases CCLA got involved in it wasn’t until after the cases were in the higher courts and people already had lawyers representing them.

Therefore XXXXX, your argument doesn’t hold water.

Furthermore, your website provide a list of letters issued by the CCLA – I doubt the CCLA was involved from the beginning in these cases before you wrote these letters.

What is truly amazing is that you cannot even spend one day reviewing Caledonia before deciding not to get involved.

It will be true you will not get a lot of donations for getting involved in Caledonia and I am sure the CCLA would quickly become the target of a lot of hated from the left and from Native groups but hey, you either believe in the Rights of all People or just the political correct groups.

 XXXXX, we just had a Truth and Reconciliation Rally in Caledonia where once again the OPP violated the rights of non-Native.

I am inviting you to be in Caledonia for our next rally on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 1 pm.

The question is: Will you come?

President & Executive Director
Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
106 Donald Bell Dr., Binbrook, Ontario L0R 1C0
Tel/Fax: 289-286-0423

4. Mark Vandermaas (Caledonia Victims Project) letter to CCLA, March  02/11 [PDF]

Dear Mr. XXXXX:

So, the answer to my question as to whether the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is willing to just meet to discuss playing a role in ensuring there are no more Caledonias, therefore, is ‘NO.’ 

I am dumbfounded. 

The only reason the CCLA does not have ‘any particular knowledge’ about Caledonia is because it continually refused to return my phone calls, my emails and my personal visit to deliver a copy of our Human Costs of Illegal Occupations report pleading for help for Caledonia’s victims.

It was not until I encouraged residents to ask why you would not respond to my requests for help that you finally sent a ‘sorry, can’t help’ message that eerily resembles the one you just sent to me. I suppose I and the thousands of innocent people traumatized since you first refused to even consider helping should be grateful that at least it didn’t take a year to get a response.

You are trying to tell us that you could mobilize the extraordinary resources cited in your email to document civil liberties abuses for a few days, but you don’t have the resources to invest 1 or 2 hours to meet with us to discuss our recommendations for preventing future illegal peacekeeping missions on Canadian soil which were used to suspend the Charter rights and Police Services Act protections for an entire class of people?

I’m afraid that I agree with Mr. McHale: the Canadian Civil Liberties Association should have the good grace to be ashamed of itself. If the OPP and Ontario government were enabling white gangsters to terrorize innocent native or black people using racial policing policies, I do not believe for one moment that you would refuse to take a meeting with prominent activists from the community. 

The CCLA’s refusal to even entertain the possibility of addressing the massive civil rights abuses in Caledonia is one of my bitterest disappointments during the past five years. 

Your callousness towards the victims of Caledonia’s abuses will surely go down as a great stain on the reputation of the CCLA, and I will do everything in my power to ensure it is recorded as the complete story of Caledonia enters history books. I am sending this to my media contacts as well, and will be posting it at and 

Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Caledonia Victims Project


History of attempts to seek help from Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for Caledonia victims

CVP Comment

Four months after the release of Helpless, the OPP, the Ontario government, Six Nations all refuse to admit their role in Caledonia’s misery, and Canada’s most well-known civil rights organization has turned two blind eyes to the victims. Please do not allow their voices to be silenced. Please support the Free Thinking Film Society and the International Free Press Society presentation of ‘CALEDONIA: NO MORE NIGHTMARES’ scheduled for March 22nd in Ottawa, details here:


Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Caledonia Victims Project

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 and the Caledonia Victims Project.
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