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Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us Paperback – Jul 26 2011

21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Canada; Reprint edition (July 26 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385670400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385670401
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #121,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for Fifteen Days:
"Learned more about the performance of our soldiers from reading Blatchford's book than I did from being on the ground for short stays... Bravo Zulu, Christie Blatchford."
— Major-General Lewis MacKenzie (ret'd) in The Globe and Mail

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD has been a high-profile Canadian journalist for over 25 years, with columns covering sports, lifestyle, current affairs, and crime. She started working for The Globe and Mail in 1972 while still studying at Ryerson, and has since worked for the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun and the National Post. She returned to The Globe and Mail in 2002. She is a winner of the National Newspaper Award for column writing.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ken Watkins on Oct. 30 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is a detailed blow by blow account of the Caledonia occupation, recounted by those directly involved. It is in effect a compilation of interviews etc the author accumulated while talking with virtually every person who had something to say about the various events. However, there is little discussion with the natives to give any depth to the story.

The book is really about the hardships faced by the Caledonians at the hands of both the occupiers and the OPP. It is very damning of the OPP, the OPP leadership, Mr. Fantino, and all the other Government officials involved in deciding what was to take place in Caledonia.

The book recounts how the OPP planted cameras in the house of one Caledonia residence to surveil the owner. Also, there was an incidence of planting a GPS locator on an officer's personal vehicle. The officer was personal friends with one of the central homeowners and was in the difficult position of having to do his job, while also act as a friend and counsel. This role was exploited by the OPP to their advantage.

Reading it, you can't help but think of those poor souls living in occupied Europe during the war, the KGB, the SS. The OPP broke nearly every law you can think of, while refusing to serve or protect people who badly needed their help.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By macgrad on Nov. 22 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a former resident of Caledonia during the occupation, this book brings back memories. For years we tried to get anyone to listen to what was happening in our town. The OPP abandoned us in so many ways. The book was very moving and I had to put it down several times as it stirred bad memories. It was a book that needed to be written, and I thank Christie Blatchford for taking the time to write it in a respectful way. I can't believe that people are calling this book racist. These people have clearly not read the book, and certainly did not live in Caledonia during those difficult times.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By talksforaliving on Nov. 30 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was so well written that I completed it in two (2) days.

It reflected the struggles of the people of Caledonia, Ontario (small town near Hamilton) where the natives of Six Nations took over a construction site and the police (OPP) turned a blind eye to their illegal actions. The Caledonia townspeople living around the construction site were constantly harassed and threatened but the OPP would not give any assistance. Even when there was a blockade, the OPP faced the townspeople rather than the natives.

There was anecdote where the home owner came home from a ball game but the natives would not let him pass their lines. Apparently, he missed a native curfew. Anyway, he got quite upset and drove past their line to his home and then was surrounded by a group of native who forced him into a vehicle and transported him back to the OPP line where he was arrested and spent the night in jail. The victim were arrested and the illegal action was condoned.

There a sections of humour in this book but also segments where one would have a hard time believing that this could happen today in Canada.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Kiff on March 21 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Imagine you live in a lovely small town - close enough to the big city to be convenient, but far enough away to be a quiet country hideaway. Now imagine that one day, without warning or provocation, a group of thugs arrive in your town and take a construction site hostage. In the months to follow, these interlopers "with a little help from their friends" will erect barricades, rip up the main street, push a van on its side and roll it off a bridge, and blow up a hydro facility, cutting power to the town.

Fiction? Not at all. This nightmare actually took place in the town of Caledonia, with members of the Six Nations reserve seizing control of the Douglas Creek Estates subdivision on February 28, 2006. Five years later, the occupation is still going on.

Columnist and crime reporter Christie Blatchford's Helpless is the tale of how the residents of Caledonia had their lives turned upside down - in the name of political correctness gone mad. Blatchford makes it clear right from the start that this book is not about the validity of native land claims, or a chronicle of abuses Canadian officials from an earlier time foisted upon our First Nations. What she is interested in doing is telling a story that few, if any, have had the courage to tell, revealing dark and difficult truths along the way.

Needless to say, there has already been something of a backlash to this book. Some have even gone as far to condemn Blatchford as a racist. Others point to her portrayals of the townsfolk as heroes and the natives as thugs and bullies. While showing several of the residents of Caledonia acting with great courage and patience, only one of the occupiers comes off well - Michael Laughing, a high-steel ironworker who volunteered at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I regret that it took this long for me to read Ms. Blatchford's excellent book, Helpless.

The tales of the residents of Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia are so heart-wrenching, so sad, so angering that you only wish this was a tale of fiction. You will find yourself shaking your head, teary-eyed and angry reading about how the OPP and Ontario government abandoned the poor souls caught in the middle of this illegal occupation.

Helpless is truly the perfect title. These people were completely abandoned by the police and the government and the only full record of what happened is in these 276 pages.

It's a cliché to say that this is a must-read for any freedom-loving Canadian, but it really is. If you care about the rule of law, no matter where you live in our great nation, you must read Helpless. You will hardly believe that this could have happened on Canadian soil in the 21st century.
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