Caledonia: what went wrong? Where do we go from here?

CANACE diagram, Aug07/08: 'Reconciliation: The CANACE Path': Click to download PDF.No one should assume that Caledonia is all wrapped up with a nice bow because the Caledonia Class Action suit has been settled. Even though the government was forced to write a cheque it can ill afford (politically and financially) the Caledonia story is far from turning its final page.

Even when the last lawsuit has been settled, what do we as a province, as a country, say to a family like the Gualtieris, or the Dudychs on the Sixth Line who, with others, lived without policing for nearly four years? What can we do to make up to them for what was done to them by their government while the vast majority of their fellow citizens were content to let them suffer the agony of abandonment?

Below are excerpts from my presentations at both the 2010 New Directions in Aboriginal Policy forum at Mount Royal University, and the Caledonia: No More Nightmares event held at the National Library and Archives building in Ottawa on March 22/11 which was sponsored by the International Free Press Society and the Free Thinking Film Society.


Discover why the CVP logo contains the image of a dancer...taken from…

‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares
Part 1: Caledonia’s Victims
Mark Vandermaas

Ottawa, ON  March 22, 2011

  • [VIDEO, 15:05]
  • [PDF, 36p (incl. citations)]

The image of the dancer in the Caledonia Victims Project logo is a tribute to a 14 year old girl named Pam Dudych who loved to dance – before her world turned upside down. [1-2]


Pam lives on the Sixth Line in Caledonia. The OPP withdrew policing service from her street on April 20, 2006 after hundreds of native occupiers attacked them while they were trying to enforce a court order. 

Police were injured after being attacked with clubs, crowbars, axes, a chainsaw and socks filled with rocks. [1-3]

The court order was supposed to end an illegal occupation of a new subdivision across the street from Pam’s house known as the Douglas Creek Estates which began on February 28th, 2006. Lawlessness escalated over time as it became clear to the occupiers they were immune from the law. 


060503 Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Svcs Monte Kwinter to native militants: "I wish to advise you that...I am not asking for military support from the federal government."The worst of the violence occurred after May 03, 2006 when the former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services acceded to the militant’s demands not to call in the Canadian Forces to protect Caledonia. [1-4]  


So far native protesters have burned down a bridge and threatened to kill firefighters; attacked an elderly couple in their car; attacked journalists; assaulted and threatened residents, police and one another; destroyed the area’s hydro station; thrown a vehicle over a bridge; blocked the town’s main roads and rail lines; attempted to murder a police officer; polluted the environment with tire and grass Sam Gualtieri after Sept 13/07 attack by native protesters, left w/permanent brain damagefires; extorted money from non-native land owners; and left a builder with permanent brain damage after beating him nearly to death in the home he was building for his daughter. [1-5]

In 2007 CBC produced a documentary based on the 1,000+ hours of audio recordings of radio transmissions in our possession proving that occupiers had authorized the shooting of civilians and police, among other depravities. It was pulled shortly before airing, and CBC still refuses to air it. [1-6]


2007 Dancer road of hope p1We first met Pam Dudych and her family in March 2007. She had produced a heartbreaking pamphlet for a school project called, Road of Hope: Help the Sixth Line! and wanted the world to hear her words of pain, so we took her to Queen’s Park to share her story at a news conference [1-7]:



6th Line, Caledonia: deer carcassesPam’s mother showed me the pass natives forced them to carry, as well as a photo of two of the seven deer carcasses hung by occupiers on a lamp pole near their home between October and December 2006 where kids on the school bus could see them.

Her diary entry for October 30th at 3:50 pm notes this about the 5th carcass: “Between yesterday at 1:30 and now, the deer was taken down, skinned and beheaded and then hung back up. Mayor called.” Her mom wrote me saying, “See[ing] the deer each time gave you a sickening feeling in your gut.”


Another Caledonia resident asked me to share one of his experiences:

“The police and firemen were hiding behind my fence while a group of natives (terrorists)!! were lighting a fire behind my house. They said to my neighbour and myself we cannot protect you or touch them. […] We were and are still treated as shit by the police. My trust in our system is gone forever.” [1-9]

OPP testimony at the trial for the Brown-Chatwell lawsuit which was heard – and later cited – by Christie Blatchford in Helpless confirms that the Haldimand commander was ordered not to arrest rioting natives whom he said were emboldened by the lack of police response. [1-10]


Residents were forced to stand guard one night at the home of a 92 year old World War Two veteran named Jack Dancy because OPP officers refused to stop native occupiers from throwing rocks at his house. This war hero later showed me one of the rocks and tearfully told me, “I spent 5 years in hell for this country and now I don’t even know if the police will protect me. It wasn’t worth it.” [1-11]


In 2010 Pam’s mother shared her feelings about the return of the OPP to the Sixth Line — four years after they were abandoned by their police:

We have lost 4 years of our lives which we will never get back. […] I feel like Canada has let us down big time. For a land that is supposed to be free, we are prisoners of war who have been left to deal with this predicament on our own. […]As for policing back down here, yes it’s true. Do we feel any safer – NO.


After Gary McHale was sent to hospital in December 2007 the former OPP commissioner was photographed sharing a joke with the native man who led the attack, but he refused Mayor Trainer’s September 2009 request to meet with Sixth Line residents, which would have included Pam Dudych’s family. [1-12, 13]


CaughtinMiddle-spring08 1000pxIt is difficult to convey to you 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 counselling; 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 home. [1-18]


Where do we go from here?

No amount of money can compensate Sam Gualtieri and his family for the psychological trauma and permanent brain injury he suffered because the OPP refused to enforce the law in Caledonia:

How long will 14 year old Pam Dudych need to take medication and attend counselling?

How long will it be before her mom, Chris, can finally believe life is worth living after her suicide attempt?

Is Pam’s dad Myron’s heart strong enough after his heart attack to live to see a day without having to remember the helplessness of watching his business and his family fall apart because our leaders and police made the decision they were expendable to a political agenda?


  • Caledonia milestone, June 19/11: DCE occupiers & OPP respect rights of non-natives during Truth & Reconciliation Rally [LINK]

The best thing we can do to help the victims of Haldimand County heal is to take steps to find out what went wrong; ensure that the terrible crimes against democracy committed against them are never repeated; and to do what we can to begin the healing process by convincing the Ontario government, the OPP and Six Nations to issue formal apologies:

A. What went wrong?

International Free Press Society (Canada)
Free Thinking Film Society
Caledonia: No More Nightmares 
Ottawa, Canada, March 22/11:

  • Mark Vandermaas presentation – Part 2: Caledonia Myths & Policy Issues: ‘Vexatious Land Claims and Caledonia: a National Security Issue [VIDEO, 14:50] [PDF, 36p w/citations]
  • Mark Vandermaas presentation – Part 2, cont.:Caledonia Myths & Policy Issues: An Illegal Peacekeeping Mission on Canadian Soil [VIDEO, 9:39] [PDF, 36p incl. citations, begins p12]
  • Gary McHale presentation, Part 3 – The Smoking Gun of OPP Corruption [VIDEO #1, 15:05, VIDEO #2 9:28] [PDF, 15p]

B. Ensuring there are no more ‘Caledonias’

  • CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project joint recommendations: ‘The Caledonia Act’ [PDF, 4p]

C. Beginning the healing process – with apologies

  • CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project, Feb 23/11: Queen’s Park ‘Truth & Reconciliation’ news conference
  • CANACE diagram, Aug 07/08: Reconciliation: The CANACE Path [PDF]
  • Caledonia milestone, June 19/11: DCE occupiers & OPP respect rights of non-natives during Truth & Reconciliation Rally [LINK]
  • Tekawennake News op-ed series by Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas, Merlyn Kinrade & Doug Fleming, July 14-21/10: Healing Two Communities [PDF, 7p]
  • Gary McHale, Regional News column, July 21/10: Healing Two Communities
  • Mark Vandermaas presentation to 2010 New Directions in Aboriginal Policy forum, Mount Royal University, May 05/10: Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation [PDF, 21p] 

I know I speak for the founders of CANACE as well as the Caledonia Victims Project when I say we stand ready to help in any way we can.

How you can help…

1. Watch – ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares’ [LINK]

2. Read – the ‘post-Helpless Reading List’ [LINK]

3. Invite – us to speak to your organization 

  • About – Gary McHale [LINK]
  • About – Mark Vandermaas [LINK]

4. Demand – Solutions: ‘The Caledonia Act’ [PDF, 4p]

5. Question – everything! Are media & politicians telling you the whole story on a controversial issue? (Almost never!)

6. Speak out – for your neighbour, especially if you know you will be criticized for doing so, for you will be in fine company, indeed:


Birmingham_1963_waterhosesWhile confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

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.” […]

“…I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. 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.”



POSTED BY: 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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