‘Caledonia Warrior Organizes Israel Conference’
SHALOM TORONTO, Feb 14/13
Doris Strub Epstein
The Israel Truth Week conference, to be held in early March, is “born of Nazi occupied Holland and the Caledonia crisis,” says founder Mark Vandermaas, who was adopted at the age of six by a Dutch couple who had survived the Nazi occupation of Holland. He grew up hearing about the plight of Jews under the Nazis and forged a deep connection with the Holocaust. Later, as a member of the Canadian Forces, he served with a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Middle East. But it was his experience with the violence and break-down of law and order by “racially biased” police against the residents of Caledonia that galvanized him to action on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
The Caledonia crisis began in February 28, 2006, when a handful of protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve, walked onto Douglas Creek Estates, (DCE) which was then a residential subdivision of Caledonia, under construction, and blocked workers from entering it.
Over the next four years until today, as the occupation continued, the rule of law was destroyed. Major roads were closed and lawlessness ran rampant. Those who lived adjacent to DCE, about 450 families, were openly terrorized while the OPP police stood by. “They destroyed houses on a construction site; they burned down a bridge, attacked a builder in the home he was building for his daughter and left him with brain damage, they tore up the road. The non natives were victimized,” Mark said. “People had to get passes to get to their houses.
I saw the rule of law collapsing. I saw racial policing. Innocent people being victimized while the police did little or nothing. People were terrified even to speak out.”
Mark was then working in real estate, selling homes in Cayuga, Hagersville and Caledonia, communities which would be victimized by illegal occupations, extortion and intimidation. After his arrest on December 2006 – the first of five arrests – while attempting to raise a Canadian flag in Caledonia- Mark put aside his promising real estate career and award- winning online real estate college course and became a full time, volunteer, activist, with the goal of permanently ending the race-based policing in Ontario. A man with a massive frame and ernest blue eyes, he has massive, tireless resolve.
He is mentioned several times in the book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All Of Us, by Christie Blatchford. She writes: “The town was for all practical purposes, abandoned by the State… The book is about the failure of government to govern and to protect all its citizens equally. …The Ontario Provincial Police stood by while occupiers broke the law, often violently, right under their noses.” she writes.
Why should Jews be concerned with Caledonia? “Caledonia is the front line in the struggle against the extreme left who use Palestinian militants as pawns for their own anti-capitalist agenda just as they use Six Nations extremists. None of us are safe if the lessons of Caledonia are not learned,” says Mark.