Gary McHale is a Canadian political activist, who is noted for his involvement in the Grand River land dispute and his role in the founding of the advocacy group, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality, or CANACE.
In January 2013, McHale was the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to his community. Nominated by the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation, McHale's award sparked controversy, with prominent First Nations leaders returning their medals as a result of his nomination.
During the Enbridge Line 9 protests and occupation in Hamilton, McHale and CANACE claimed to have played an important role in disrupting the protest through lobbying the Hamilton Police Service. Threatening to engage in legal action against the Hamilton police, conservative blogs claim that McHale persuaded the police to act despite their reluctance. Hamilton police have denied McHale's claims and note that action had been planned before McHale's involvement.
Role in the Caledonia land dispute
During the Grand River land dispute, McHale organized protests against the occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates. Actions included the attempted removal of Aboriginal flags with the aim of replacing them with Canadian flags, for which he was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace. McHale was not charged, but was held in jail overnight and had to appear in court in Hamilton. The crown attorney, the duty counsel and the justice of the peace registered surprise that McHale had been held overnight without charges. "We have no jurisdiction against this man," Justice of the Peace Kerry Boone stated. McHale's protests have been described as 'antics' in the national media. Former OPP Police Commissioner Julian Fantino stated that the Caledonia protests were "counterproductive".
On November 8, 2007, the OPP Police Commissioner reported to Hamilton Spectator that McHale's rallies have cost police over $500,000. According to the newspaper, 22 OPP police officers filed a $7.2 million lawsuit against McHale for defaming them on his website. "McHale criticized the OPP officers who stopped him from hanging Canadian flags near the occupied site saying they were violating their oath of office." The photos of all the 22 police officers were also posted on the site under the heading "OPP: Hang your heads in shame," saying each one of them had violated their oath of office, the statement of claim said. 'The lawsuit comes as Fantino is being investigated by the province for an e-mail he sent to Caledonia politicians, suggesting they supported McHale's rallies.' Court papers of the lawsuit.
McHale was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mischief during a native smoke shop protest that turned violent in December 2007. As part of his bail conditions, McHale was barred from Caledonia and banned from communicating with certain individuals. Haldimand County, Ontario mayor Marie Trainer and Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant MPP Toby Barrett spoke out in his defence.
McHale’s asserts that the "two tier policing" policies on the part of the Ontario Provincial Police cause officers to stand by and watch as native protesters commit crimes against local residents. This message has been echoed by local politicians and residents during a convoy to Queen’s Park.
McHale, who represents himself in court, started a campaign of laying criminal charges against native protesters when the OPP refuse to do so. He has been successful in laying extortion, mischief and intimidation charges against two key native protesters and also won a judicial review case against the OPP for their refusal to appear in court when summoned by a subpoena. Some have stated that “McHale is filling a vacuum. Although the OPP has been investigating, no charges have resulted.” 
In the 2008 Federal election, McHale stood as an independent candidate against incumbent Haldimand--Norfolk Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, Diane Finley. He came in fourth with 10% of the vote.
During the Ontario Municipal Elections of 2010, McHale stood as a candidate for Haldimand County Regional Councillor. Standing in Ward Three, which comprises Caledonia and rural areas between the town and the region's border with the City of Hamilton, McHale came in second with 1,097.
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|New Democratic||Ian Nichols||5,549||11.53||-1.3||$5,509|
|Christian Heritage||Steven Elgersma||501||1.04||0.0|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||48,146||100||$85,391|
|Total rejected ballots||248||0.51|
|Craig Grice (incumbent)||1,578||41.43%||n/a|
|Note: All Haldimand County Municipal Elections are officially non-partisan.
Note: Candidate campaign colours are based on the prominent colour used in campaign items (signs, literature, etc.)
and are used as a visual differentiation between candidates.
|Sources: Haldimand County Clerk's Office|
- Gary McHale, "About", joincanace.wordpress.org (accessed July 15, 2013).
- Nora Loreto, "Honouring anti-Native protester Gary McHale", rabble.ca, January 31, 2013, (accessed July 15, 2013).
- Mark Vandermaas, "Gary McHale & CANACE shut down Enbridge pipeline occupation w/one letter to Hamilton Police," voiceofcanada.ca blog, June 26, 2013, (accessed July 15, 2013).
- Daniel Nolan, "Police move in on Enbridge protesters, arrest 18," Hamilton Spectator, June 26, 2013, (accessed July 15, 2013).
- "OPP arrest Caledonia protest organizer McHale". CTV.ca. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- "Rally organizer arrested at Caledonia occupation site". CBC News. 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- "Gary McHale held in jail with no charges". Canada Free Press. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- "John Oakley on the Media Antics of Gary McHale and George Smitherman". National Post. Retrieved 2008-05-18.[dead link]
- "Riot police keep order at Caledonia Protest". CTV. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "More Details About the McHale Lawsuit". CD98.9. Retrieved 2007-04-19.[dead link]
- "Officers suing Caledonia protest organizer". CTV. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
- "Court Papers of OPP Lawsuit". Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- "Charges laid in smoke-shop fight in Caledonia". CTV. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Man fights court order barring him from Caledonia". Toronto Star. 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Not the end of the line". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2007-05-03.[dead link]
- "McHale scores wins in court". Dunnville Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-07-11.[dead link]
- "Private charges". Brantford Expositor. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- Elections Canada. "Official Voting Results: Fortieth General Election, 2008 - Haldimand-Norfolk," elections.ca, (accessed July 15, 2013)
- Haldimand County, "Ward Map," haldimandcounty.org, (accessed July 15, 2013).
- Haldimand County, "Certificate of Election Results," haldimandcounty.org, (accessed July 15, 2013).