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Helpless by Christie Blatchford
Paperback $18.50
Jul 26, 2011 | ISBN 9780385670401

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Praise for Fifteen Days:
“Learned more about the performance of our soldiers from reading Blatchford’s book than I did from being on the ground for short stays… Bravo Zulu, Christie Blatchford.”
— Major-General Lewis MacKenzie (ret’d) in The Globe and Mail

Author Essay

“We’ll address that,” he said. “This is actually news to me that this was still an issue. There is obviously a communication issue.” Then Lewis delivered a bombshell: “Short of somebody having a kid kidnapped and running onto the DCE, we’re not going to go onto that property. It’s just a recipe for disaster, and it will set things back there.”
Lewis also confirmed that the ART was still calling the shots—which meant, to those in the know, that Dick Hill and the occupiers were still running the show.
“There may be times that we have to go on there,” Lewis said, “but at the same time, we’ll do it and negotiate that through ART [to] the leaders in the First Nations community.”
He also said that the OPP would respond to calls—meaning emergencies—on the Sixth and Seventh lines, but general patrols would not take place in that area because “they [Six Nations] can’t control all the people in their community . . . So it’s a commonsense issue, and certainly, we’re not saying we will never go on there, but we really have to be very selective of when we do and how we go about it.”
Commissioner Fantino chimed in at this point, saying, “So enforce the law absolutely. We don’t stand by and allow violence and that to occur, but at the end of the day, if we can do it in a more strategic way, that’s the way to go.” Fantino also acknowledged the earlier incidents “when officers have either accidentally or otherwise gone on there [DCE]. It’s pretty difficult to extricate them once they get in there and they are surrounded and we’ve got hundreds of people on speed dial that converge on the area.”
Lewis, unable to resist describing what sounds like a little boys-will-be-boys hot-dogging then said, “Just for the record, the Commissioner and I went on the DCE and that was quite a day.”
“We were swarmed,” Fantino said.
“Yes,” Lewis added. “We were swarmed. We were driving by in uniform and the Commissioner told the driver, ‘Pull in there,’ and he said, ‘Like on the DCE?’ And the Commissioner said, ‘Yeah, I want to talk to those people.’ So in we went.
“Well, you can imagine all the roadblocks radioing in to the command post saying the Commissioner and the Deputy are on the DCE, they are out of the car, talking to people with guns on.”
When first I read this, I wondered who was wearing the guns, but it was apparently clear that Lewis was referring to himself and Fantino. Still, since Fantino didn’t take over until the end of October of 2006, it means that at some point between late in 2006 and April of 2008, the two most senior officials of the OPP had gone onto the DCE and been swarmed by native occupiers, just like everyone else. That ought to really comfort the residents of Caledonia, particularly those on the Sixth Line, and in the Thistlemoor subdivision.
And nothing can remove the shock of the bottom line of Lewis’s message: short of what cops call a “fresh” kidnapping, the OPP were not to venture upon DCE.
“Do your guys boo when they hear this BS?” I ask OPP Association boss Karl Walsh.
“No, they don’t,” Walsh says, “because they’re good soldiers. We’ve got a whole group—even though policing, by far, is a group of type A personalities, very strong personalities—there’s also a very strong paramilitary ribbon that runs through the OPP. So when the deputy commissioner stands up and says, ‘Okay, guys, if it’s a homicide or a sexual assault and you’re in fresh pursuit, you can go there. Otherwise, stay the fuck away,’ they stay the fuck away.
“They all leave the meeting, and then they all yell at me, right, and then I go and yell at them [the brass], and they go, ‘Too bad. This is an operational decision, the association has no business in the operations of the OPP, so butt the fuck out.’”
Still, the belated acknowledgement is the first and only official admission on the part of the OPP that, ninety minutes from Toronto, there is a slice of Ontario where their officers dare not and do not go.

Table Of Contents

Author’s Note
PART 1: JUNE 9, 2006
Appendix A
Appendix B

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