Thursday, November 18, 2010

Conservative author Christie Blatchford has made something of a name for herself over the years, but at least in Hamilton it seems she draws more protesters than fans. Regular readers of her columns in the Globe & Mail might think that she is a one note band devoted to kinky crime cases, but she's published on a lot more things over the years. The controversy reported here comes from her book on what seems to be the never ending saga of the Ontario town of Caledonia and the competing claims of land developers and local first nations people. Here's the story from the Ontario platformist site Linchpin.

Blatchford Abuses Privilege as Journalist

By Devon Ridge

[Hamilton, November 16th]- The momentum of concerned citizens confronting Christie Blatchford's speaking tour continued last night in Hamilton. Blatchford spoke to a relatively small and tightly-knit crowd consisting of several Caledonia Councilors, and a local MP.

About a dozen Hamiltonians from diverse communities gathered at the event to hand out resources and ask critical questions. They helped open doors for those attending the event and smilingly welcomed discussion. The group carried a Two-Row Wampum flag and signs stating 'Blatchford's Bad News' and 'Hamilton Does Not Welcome Racism'.

The group's focus was to question the strong media support Blatchford's book is receiving, while calling into question its undeniable ties to racist, anti-native organizing.

Blatchford’s book blames the government and police for a failure to protect the citizens of Caledonia, while neglecting to comment on the matter of land claims in the area, which is at the heart of the dispute. Blatchford has been known to publish material criminalizing anti-racist activists and accusing leftists of violence against their communities, meanwhile praising racist actors despite the violence that they perpetrate. This same trend is found in her book, Helpless, in which Blatchford gives praise to anti-native organizer Gary McHale.

Demonstrators felt the importance of creating a presence of opposition comes from a biased media slant, which suggests that the opinions of Blatchford reflect those of many people of Caledonia and the surrounding area. In fact, the Hamilton community did not support Blatchford's presence.

Many community members advocated for a constructive public discussion. Local Hamilton bookseller and businessman Brian Prince initially supported the event in Hamilton as a host - that is, until Blatchford, for whom democracy is, in her words, a 'game' denied his request to allow an alternative voice to speak at the event.

The vibrant and diverse presence of opposition to this speaking event demonstrated that many people in our community are opposed to the rhetoric of white supremacy that is blindly perpetuated by the corporate media.

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