Yesterday a group of self promoting professional activists intentionally caused a disturbance at Toronto’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. The pack was led by Davyn Calfchild/Ouimet, an indigenous/Yemeni protester who has been tried the same trick for three years in a row now- march into the ceremonies wearing fatigues (with a Bob Marley Lion of Zion patch sewed on) and battle for his right to fly an indigenous flag.
It’s a Quixotic battle, and Ouimet knows that. Last year he admitted that he’s never reached out to ask organizers if he can bring his flag. It was a staged incident, they wanted to create a media event and they succeeded. One day later the protester’s story is continuing to unravel, and people are beginning to see through the deception. Many have realized the distastefulness of Ouimet’s protest, including a well known elder indigenous activist.
Criticism of their protest has come from people of all races and backgrounds, but some of the most hard-hitting comments have come from indigenous people. One First Nations veteran wrote on Facebook that their actions were ‘shameful’ and that he was “proud of how the military treats natives”. Closer to home, Ontario John Fox Sr. tore the protest apart:
Fox expressed two key thoughts about what he saw in the video of the arrests. First, he embarrassingly exposes Ouimet’s ignorance about indigenous land claims- explaining how Toronto isn’t Iroquois land (as Ouimet had explained to the police), and that it was originally the territory of the Mississauga of New Credit. Oops.
Next he questioned whether Ouimet was a veteran, claiming that “Canada was never at war with the former Yugoslavia”. The latter statement was true, but Ouimet claims to have been on UN Peacekeeper duty (he’s also claimed to be a hereditary chief and a reverend), so it’s still possible he’s telling the truth. Some veterans have commented that it seems unlikely a Canadian soldier could earn three medals in the short five year time period Ouimet claims to have spent in the military.
More importantly, Fox points out his thoughts on how First Nations veterans are treated in this country:
“native veterans are honored in each FN’s community and are certainly “not forgotten” and our flags are respected”
Fox posted a later statement criticising Ouimet’s poor choice of language:
Fox is a long-time indigenous activist who created the Grassroots Committee Ontario- a group that’s done a lot of campaigning against the Children’s Aid Society. Fox’s family faced a tragedy in May when his daughter Cheyenne Fox fell off the top floor of an apartment block in May. The family believes there was foul play, the police have been investigating a suicide. They led a protest about the investigation in May.
In another development, APTN did an interview with the Toronto police today that helped clarify their position on the arrests. Spokesperson Wendy Drummond (who was on the scene at Fox’s May protest) explained that the protesters were arrested because of their belligerent behaviour and Ouimet’s use of obscenities- they were disturbing the peace during what is supposed to be the country’s most peaceful moment.
Here’s a video of the APTN interview. It’s interesting how the Toronto Police Service so got their own (unedited) version of the interview up on YouTube so quickly- could this by symptomatic of there being some distrust?