Six Nations Chief Bill Montour is returning his Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to Governor General David Johnston after one was awarded to controversial Caledonia figure Gary McHale.
“I’m packing it up as we speak,” Montour said Tuesday. “I’m sending mine back because I don’t want to have a medal, carrying the same medal (as McHale) … This is recognition of what you have done to this point in your life, and I was quite happy and pleased to take it. After this has come about, I don’t want it.”
McHale, head of a group that stages contentious rallies and marches near a former Caledonia housing site occupied by Six Nations members since 2006, is to receive the medal Feb. 18 in Toronto. His rallies have brought out natives and their supporters, as well as the Ontario Provincial Police, who have to separate the two sides.
McHale was recommended for the award by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Non-profit groups were invited to nominate people for the 60,000 medals being handed out.
Natives say they occupied Douglas Creek Estates because it was built on unsurrendered land, a claim the federal government denies. McHale’s Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) accuses the OPP of practising two-tier policing and treating natives and non-natives differently. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Letter to the Editor:
Normally I simply ignore your puerile offerings but today I’ll tell you what I think. Not only are you a leftist hack, but you have no talent. You are never funny nor clever in your attempt at satire. Your drawings are pathetically inept and devoid of artistic skill; a waste of editorial space. You should thank your lucky stars that people like Gary McHale are out there putting everything on the line to preserve democracy and protect your cowardly backside.
David Strutt, Cartoonist
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I recognize that cartoonist Graeme Mackay’s job appears to be to sit safely in his office/home and be cynical of the doers in society. Hey, it is the very freedoms that we have worked so hard for in the past seven years that ensures Mackay can continue making a living. As SunTV has recently found out, the policing policies in Caledonia can quickly be used in Toronto to target reporters who are peacefully doing their jobs instead of dealing with angry protesters.
Imagine a day when Mackay’s cartoons caused certain groups to be upset and as a result the police would target Mackay in order to keep the peace throughout the area. Would Mackay be so quick to belittle the hard work of those who fight to ensure all Canadians have the same rights and freedoms?
If fact, MacKay’s cartoon is just another reason why so few have the courage to step forward and take a stand to ensure equality within our country. Often throughout history, those who enjoy the benefits of freedom rarely understand the cost nor appreciate those who take up the struggle. We continue to fight for Mackay’s right to publish cartoons that belittle our efforts ” whether or not he finds the cause worthy.
Gary McHale, Executive Director of CANACE, Binbrook
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I am a fan of editorial cartooning but I had to wince when I saw your Jan. 31 cartoon depicting Queen’s Jubilee medals being tossed willy-nilly to clowns and comic animals. Most of your readers will see this as a reference to the news that Caledonia activist Gary McHale has been awarded the medal. The list of puerile insults and indignities this magnificent man has stoically endured over many years beggars belief. If it was your cartoonist’s intention to add to this list he has succeeded.
Stuart Laughton, Burlington
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I have always admired political cartoons for the way they can so cleverly express an opinion. But that is all they are – an opinion and as such are often wrong. Your cartoon in the Hamilton Spectator of January 31 about the Queen’s Jubilee Medal being awarded to Gary McHale may have cleverly expressed your opinion but I assure you, you could not have been more mistaken.
From my perspective, up until a year and a half ago, Gary McHale was just some poor guy who kept getting arrested in Caledonia while protesting something that was none of his business. I had no reason to believe otherwise because that is what The Spectator stories said. Besides, I have always trusted the police to do what is right and I generally sympathized with the natives who only wanted to settle grievances even though I abhorred their violent actions at the Douglas Creek Estates. In any case my interests lay elsewhere, in stories related to the Middle East and to radical Islam and I had no time to take more of an interest in Caledonia
But then I learned that Islamist groups were very much part of what was going on in Caledonia. They were agitators who took part in the native protests and even flew Palestinian flags over the violently seized DCE. The unionists, the Marxists and the anarchists were there too, stirring up the already volatile group of natives who believed that their grievances gave them the right to behave criminally. Yet the police never arrested any of the non-native agitators, only Gary McHale. My interest in Caledonia changed.
For the past year and a half Mr. Mackay, I have gotten to know Gary McHale and many of the others who support him. I have attended several of his rallies at the DCE and to this day I shake my head in disbelief at what I have witnessed. This was not in the former Soviet Union. Nor was it in some despotic Middle Eastern country. This was in Canada.
Even if I was of the opinion that natives who broke the law should not be arrested (which I am not), why were the Islamists, anarchists and Marxists who reject our democratic values and who were behaving provocatively not arrested for breach of the peace? On the contrary, at each rally only Gary McHale and his supporters were summarily handcuffed, thrown into police wagons like dangerous criminals and subjected to humiliating periods in custody.
Gary McHale has never once expressed any opposition to native claims and while he opposes the violence that occurred at DCE, he has never disparaged natives, their culture or their rights. Yet I have witnessed anarchists and Marxists yelling vulgar insults at him and calling him a racist when nothing could be further from the truth. I assure you, if Gary McHale had expressed racist sentiments, I would not be writing this letter.
Do you understand, Mr. Mackay, exactly what has happened in Caledonia? Have you been to even a single demonstration to witness the biased and discriminatory actions of the police? Do you even remotely appreciate that what Gary McHale is protesting is the absence of the rule of law? Does it bother you, even a little, that anti-democracy groups have succeeded in undermining our political and legal institutions and have thus managed to chip away at our freedoms?
Gary McHale does. That is what he has been fighting. That is why he deserves a medal.
It is a shame that because of your bias against Mr. McHale, you managed in one brief, self-righteous moment to mock every other recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, past and present. You got it wrong, Mr. Mackay, because the real circus is in Caledonia where anarchists wear animal costumes and t-shirts emblazoned with expressions like “Fuck law and order”; where natives and their supporters are allowed to stand around holding weapons while Gary McHale is handcuffed and arrested for walking on a public road; where members of unions are permitted to behave disrespectfully and disruptively in courtrooms and receive no reprimand; where the police have wasted millions in taxpayer dollars while not doing what they have sworn to do – uphold the law; where the politicians have allowed this travesty to occur and where the liberal media helps pave the way for others like it.
Now that you know, perhaps you can draw a really, really clever cartoon.
S. Scheffer, Burlington
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My Response to the above letter…
I appreciate your feedback.
Timing aside, what leads you to think Gary McHale is the subject of the cartoon? Did you actually see Mr. McHale depicted in the cartoon? None of the characters bear any resemblance. Do you think Gary McHale is the only person who has stirred up any controversy following nomination to a Queen’s Jubilee Medal?
There is nothing in that cartoon to indicate my position on the situation in Caledonia. To understand my evolving observation on the situation there for the past 6+ years is a simple google search away if you really care to find the answer to some of the questions you ask. I could ask you, the same question as to whether you understand exactly what has happened in Caledonia, but I won’t, because in my opinion there is no right answer.
I think you know what I’m stating in the cartoon, but are instead using it as a convenient sounding board to advance an argument that everyone realizes is present and will only lead to more bloodied noses, blocked roads, and tax dollars spent on increased policing.
So for the record, the cartoon you’re writing about is a simple commentary on the farce that has beset a noble idea to recognize Canadians who have made significant contributions to this country. The majority are well deserved people who’ve earned their medals quietly and respectfully, while others have simply received them for having a title, or holding a certain office, or because they’re a friend of someone charged with giving out those awards. The final category that has made a farce of the medal are individuals who, while possessing tremendous merit in the eyes of their supporters, are so widely divisive it makes the award very questionable. These factors, not my cartoon, have brought mockery to this medal.
Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist The Hamilton Spectator Hamilton, Ontario, Canada