A citizens' group that advocates for "the rule of law" and ending what it calls "race-based policing" caused a stir during a presentation to city councillors Monday.
Native media and activists had gathered for the meeting in the city council chamber, originally in response to the possibility that Gary McHale, a critic of policing in the land claims dispute, might make an appearance.
But McHale was participating in an all-candidates debate in Delhi, where he is running as an independent in Haldimand-Norfolk riding in the Oct. 14 federal election.
Instead, they found themselves listening to Merlyn Kinrade and Mark Vandermaas, officers of the group Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality, who gave a presentation carrying the same criticism as the controversial McHale about police handling of the land claims dispute.
"Our short-term goal is to preserve the rule of law and Ontario's economy by ending race-based policing and land claim lawlessness," Vandermaas told council, while three city police officers kept watch in the chamber.
"Our long-term goal is to force politicians to pass legislation to ensure this never happens again. We must create a province and a country where true reconciliation between natives and non-natives is possible based on truth, justice and respect for the rights of all human beings."
Vandermaas praised city police for being willing to lay charges in connection with recent illegal protest activities at construction sites. He said those actions differed from the "race-based" policing he said is being carried on in the native occupation of a Caledonia housing development and other incidents.
In a document circulated to council, the group decried the actions of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute in attempting to extract money from developers at contested sites, and the emergence of a new group called the Haudenosaunee Men's Fire.
The document made mention of actions by the HDI and the HMF in shutting down temporarily the Oak Park North industrial and commercial complex site being built by King and Benton in the city's northwest.
"What unaccountable new group will spring up tomorrow to try to extract money from developers?" it asks.
Just as Vandermaas finished, Vince Gilchrist, a member of the HMF, suddenly rose from his chair in the audience, and shouted "Heil Hitler!" while flashing a Nazi salute.
"Do not make that comment again," Coun. Dan McCreary, the acting mayor, warned Gilchrist.
An officer immediately walked to where Gilchrist had resumed his seat, and stayed beside him awhile.