Gary McHale is back in the news and in Cayuga Court along with plaintiffs Randy Fleming, Doug Fleming and Jacob Van Halteren, all members of CANACE (Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality) a Caledonia citizens group formed following the Caledonia/Douglas Creak standoff of 2006.
CANACE believes the OPP has discriminated against them in their demonstrations and a number of staged provocations they have conducted against Six Nations land protectors.
CANACE is a group of around a dozen Caledonia area individuals who have alleged that they were targeted by police at demonstrations on Argyle Street and upon the land in question which was purchased by the Province, to relieve the tensions of the 2006 to 2007 stand offs, while Six Nations land protectors were favoured by police. The incidents specifically named are dated between 2009 to 2011.
Randy Fleming claims he was permanently injured by police during an unlawful arrest and won a judgment worth close to $300,000.
The charge of “two-tier justice” or race-based policing, with themselves as the ones treated unevenly by police while “natives” got away with everything from assault, to theft of an American police vehicle and files on some members of Six Nations participating in the reclamation, have been trumpeted by this group since then.
However, more than 100 charges were laid against Six Nations land protectors, who have served jail time and fines for incidents including all of those incidents listed by McHale’s group.
Members of CANACE have been arrested and charged with various charges related to instigation and provocative demonstrations threatening the peace at what is now known as Kanonhstaton, a name given the former Douglas Creek by the Six Nations, a Mohawk word meaning “the protected place.”
It seems the CANACE group have turned their sights away from the reclamation of the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) housing development itself and have since taken the OPP to task for, “allowing” it to happen by not going into the DCE with force and physically removing the land protectors.
An attempt was made April 20th of 2006 to remove the land protectors but was turned back by thousands of unarmed Six Nations residents. Today there is one house on the property, which is occupied by a few Six Nations residents to maintain their possession of the site. An iron fence has been installed around the perimeter of the site, by Six Nations, as well as a gate has been installed at the entrance.
The housing project was shut down by Six Nations and allies claiming the land along Highway 6, formerly known as the Plank Road, was never properly surrendered for sale, and never adhered to conditions of what they believe was a lease. It is part of a registered land claim filed by Six Nations in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The federal government has sidestepped the claim since then, but the claim is still on file and active.
The plaintiffs are suing members of the OPP, for a long list of charges, including wrongful arrest, malice and abuse of process, according to File No: CV-14-50, being heard at the Cayuga Court House. Earlier this month, the case was remanded to December, or early 2017.
The plaintiffs are representing themselves in court with McHale taking the lead role. Many of their allegations are based on their interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Named in the claim are OPP commissioner Chris Lewis, Sergeant Ben Gutenberg, inspector Phil Carter, Superintendent John Cain, and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario.
McHale and the others are asking a total of $17 million in damages. McHale is claiming $2.5 million, Van Halteren claims $2.5 million, Randy Fleming and his brother Doug Fleming are seeking $6 million each in damages. All are also seeking $500,000 in punitive damages.
McHale and the others are claiming racial prejudice against while people and favouritism toward Six Nations.
He claims the OPP were afraid to do anything to force evacuation of the site in light of the results and recommendations of the Dudley George inquiry where an unarmed land protector was shot and killed by an overzealous police officer during a similar protest over ownership of a former Canadian military base and park at Ipperwash.
An amended statement of claim was presented to the court in mid-July after the Crown refused a number of articles in the original statement of claim. The parties were to have met in court in October, however, the case was remanded to late December after both parties claimed they needed more time to prepare their case.
Although the Court refused 29 articles in the Statement of Claim, more than 90 still remain in the 31-page statement of claim. Scheduling issues may move the date into the new year.