UPDATED 1226 EST Oct 17/08
Gary McHale, President/Executive Director of CANACE, is running as a candidate for the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. The riding includes the towns of Caledonia, Hagersville, York, Dunnville and Cayuga, all sites of illegal occupations by native protesters.
Mr. McHale has been receiving a warm reception at every event, including three All-Candidates meetings in Delhi, Kohler and Dunnville. Tomorrow, he will attend the Cable 14-sponsored debate at the Hamilton Spectator auditorium which will be broadcast live.
For complete details on the McHale campaign, please visit the authorized campaign website at www.GaryMcHale.ca.
4,821 voters say that Gary McHale speaks for them
There was disappointment, but also a sense of vindication as Haldimand- Norfolk Independent candidate Gary McHale earned more than 4,800 votes in Tuesday’s federal election.
The 46-year-old civil rights advocate finished in fourth place with 4,821 votes, earning 10 per cent of the total votes cast in the riding. Conservative Diane Finley was re-elected with 19,657 votes while Liberal candidate Eric Hoskins earned 15,577 votes and NDP candidate Ian Nichols received 5,549 votes.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, but at the same time more than 4,600 people at this point chose to vote for me and not for a party,” McHale told The Chronicle shortly after Finley’s re-election was announced around 11 p. m. on Tuesday. “As an independent it’s very hard to get anyone to vote for you. This also destroys the myth that somehow there are only 40 to 100 people who support me in Caledonia. Obviously there are thousands of people who want me to be a strong voice.”
McHale said voter support for his campaign provided a sense of vindication. “The government wanted to paint me as an evil person who created all the violence (in Caledonia) when the truth of the matter is that that’s not true,” he said. “The average person saw me as someone who had a strong voice for them.”
Mark Vandermaas, vice president and director of research for CANACE, has worked with McHale for the past two years and was alongside him throughout this election campaign. Even though the election results didn’t provide the “fairytale ending” that McHale and his supporters wanted Vandermaas viewed the final count of 4,821 votes as a great accomplishment.
“It’s just been such an amazing ride,” he said shortly after Finley was declared re-elected Haldimand-Norfolk MP. “If you look at where Gary’s been– he’s been arrested, had his life threatened, been attacked, sent to a hospital and lost his home for Caledonia. He’s had his reputation smeared especially by the OPP and supporters of the Douglas Creek occupation so to get to here I think that’s an amazing accomplishment. He’s made believers of about 4,600 people at this point.”
“I think it will be very hard for people to look at Gary and try to blame him for all the problems in Caledonia,” Vandermaas added. “Looking at the election results there are at least 4,600 people who disagree. From here on in I think the politicians ignore the injustices in Caledonia at their peril.”
Vandermaas said he expected McHale would take a short breather and then continue civil rights activities in Haldimand.
“We will continue to seek justice for people, native and non-native, in Caledonia,” he said. “We have a duty to continue to speak out for victims of injustice. Gary is just someone who never gives up–he won’t quit. He said to me that he didn’t care if anybody in Caledonia wanted him there. He would still go because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dunnville Chronicle, Oct 17/08: Independent McHale makes strong showing in first campaign