Archive for the ‘The Caledonia Eight’ Category

By Jeff Parkinson

He was the hero in every Western, & I don’t mean those half assed Acid or Spaghetti Westerns, but real horse riding, varmint wrangling, ass kicking men. The kind of rare mix of the best characters portrayed by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Gary Cooper rolled into one, but with far more style.

On October 6, 2012 Merlyn lost a valiant 12 year battle with cancer & we lost a friend, colleague, mentor, inspiration, & without question one of the most unique people our society has ever seen.

When a person dies there tends to be a lot of hyperbole about them because nobody wants to remember any flaws that their loved one may have had. In this case however you’ll find none of that because Merlyn Kinrade was a character that no writer in history could have dreamed up.

A socialite at heart, Merlyn loved to entertain, but he was never afraid to put the so called upper class in their place. Be it the mayor, the OPP commissioner, his local council, or a room full of negotiators, Merlyn always had the time and the fortitude to sit down and tell them why they’re wrong and he’s right. I don’t phrase that in the past tense because it remains true that they’re wrong & he’s right.

There are far too many stories of this occurrence to be told in one sitting, but one of my favorites is the night he walked in the back door of a closed meeting of federal negotiators at the Caledonia arena.

Not knowing he wasn’t supposed to be there, he made himself at home and spent hours taking everyone to task for failing his family and his community. They tried to feed him from their lavish tax payer funded buffet but he refused to touch it. They tried to calm him with platitudes but he refused to waver.

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January 12, 2012

On January 9, 2012 a note was left on Doug Flemming’s windshield exclaiming that “The Caledonia 8 is going down tonight and you’re the first to bite the bullet Flemming”. The night is of course over and nothing happened, but it was one in a long line of efforts over the years to intimidate us into backing off.

Winston Churchill once said “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” A sentiment that rings as true 7 decades later as it did during WWII.

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December 6, 2011

By Jeff Parkinson

For those who have not yet heard, The Caledonia Eight is a group of people who on December 3, 2011 were arrested on Surrey Street in Caledonia because of the color of their skin. A trait over which they have no control.

The group consisting of Gary McHale, Merlyn Kinrade, Randy Fleming, Bonnie Stephens, Jack VanHalteren, Mark Vandermaas, Doug Fleming, & Jeff Parkinson had their freedom taken from them for walkilng down a public road owned by the Corporation of Haldimand County by order of the McGuinty government who does not own the road.

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