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'Wanted' posters upset OPP union

John Burman
Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 18, 2006)

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

The Ontario Provincial Police Association is trying to shut down a controversial website featuring poster-style photos of individual officers depicted as, "Wanted for not doing their jobs" and enforcing the law in Caledonia.

Site owner Gary McHale told The Spectator yesterday the posters are intended as a comment on the OPP handling of the Douglas Creek Estates land claim -- now in its 134th day -- and meant to "get their attention."

There has been "a complete failure of the OPP to enforce the Criminal Code," he says, citing Caledonia residents complaints that officers did not assist an elderly couple whose car was swarmed by protesters June 9 or help during an assault on a CHTV cameraman who filmed that encounter.

McHale says the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) threat to sue Bluehost Inc., of Utah -- host of -- unless it identified its owner by last Friday night is unusual.

"They know where to find me," he said, adding he called the association executive and e-mailed them last week after he heard a lawyer for the OPPA had asked Bluehost to pull the plug on the site.

Karl Walsh, OPPA president and chief executive officer, was not available for comment yesterday.

"My host provider is satisfied that I can be reached and they have not shut me down or given my name," McHale said in a telephone interview in response to an e-mail request to his site.

Megan Shortreed, counsel for the OPPA, advised Bluehost on July 10 it could be a defendant in a lawsuit for defamation if it did not cough up McHale's name.

Contacted yesterday, Shortreed acknowledged the website -- which is also critical of the Ontario government's handling of the Caledonia land claim and features a petition calling for the resignation of OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface -- is still operating.

The OPPA, she said, will take "other measures" about the site but would not say what.

"This is a civil matter," Shortreed said, adding she could not discuss details of the OPPA's concerns.

In a letter to Bluehost management, Shortreed said the association believes the "Wanted posters" and text are "... defamatory, harassing, threatening and pose a risk to the safety of the officers depicted.

"We would prefer to deal with this matter without the necessity of litigation," she said in the letter posted on McHale's website. "But we have been unable to locate the owner of the website and open a dialogue."

McHale, who says he has no connection to the often vocal Caledonia Citizens Alliance or "anyone else in Caledonia, really," said he created the site because he felt major media in Toronto were ignoring the double standard of law being applied to residents and natives and because he feels the OPP has not enforced the law.

He said he is also concerned that native protesters appear willing to break the law knowing nothing will happen. They do that, McHale claims, because Ontario has "a two-tier approach" to law enforcement in situations which involve natives.

The self-employed Richmond Hill computer programmer is a member of the Progressive Conservative Party but hasn't paid his membership in three years and is just as critical of the federal Tories on his site as Dalton McGuinty's provincial Liberals.

"I want to let the politicians -- of all parties -- know that people are watching them and will hold them accountable.

"Right now, I am the squeakiest wheel in the country."

While McHale is sure his views will get him branded as a racist in some quarters, he insists all he wants is to see everyone in Canada treated equally, with "one set of laws for all."

Sergeant Dave Rektor, OPP media relations officer for the Caledonia standoff, said yesterday the "wanted posters" concern the officers who are "looking for a peaceful resolution" to the situation.

He also said while the individual officers may not like being the subject of a poster, they are "taking the high road" knowing this is not the first nor will it be the last time they will be criticized for doing their jobs.

McHale, however, says the days of "only following orders" are long gone and he feels the individual officers at the Caledonia site have a sworn duty to intervene when a crime is being committed. That is why he has no compunction about singling out individual officers: "It says a lot about individual morality."

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