Sunday, July 1, 2007

Haldimand "My Bridge Sit In"

Well it was a very interesting three days, to say the least! It is amazing when I think of what compels a person to take a stand on any issue. For me it was the "fact that there were no facts", just "rumors and threats" about blocking all the bridges in Haldimand County. The problem with rumors and threats for me is the "unknown" and the "what ifs".

So for me as I pride myself in being a proactive person, I decided to take a stand against the "unknown". In the back of my mind I had hoped and prayed that everything would be peaceful on Friday.

My goal was to send a strong message to the OPP to uphold the law in case the "rumors and threats" of blockades on our bridges became a "reality".

A few lessons can be learned through our actions; One lesson is that not everyone will interpret what you are doing the same as you, and that needs to be respected! Another lesson that can be learned is that even the smallest action can have a "huge impact". The most important lesson that can be learned is that "we have no control" over how things will turn out!

My family and friends know me well; that I am a positive person, and I really believe that being negative is not productive. But at the same time I do call things as I see them! So I would like to step you through my three days on the beautiful Dunnville Bridge. You may need a coffee for this read.

"Day One";I arrived at the Dunnville Bridge around 2:30pm Wednesday afternoon, with my sign in hand that read "Mr. O.P.P. don’t allow "anyone" to block this Bridge".

I was only on the bridge about 20 minutes when 4 O.P.P. officers approached me. They had received a call from someone that I was there, and came to see what the fuss was about. I told the officers that my message was clearly directly to the O.P.P. to uphold the law, that I had a right to be there, and I was peaceful! They agreed.

I was asked if I had a cell phone, I said no, they told me they would be near by if I ran into any trouble. I took that exactly as it was stated to me, for my protection. What I did say to the officers was that I was standing on the Dunnville Bridge and I was okay.

I was asked my name, address and birth date. I gave that information freely, as I have nothing to hide. I was asked, "where is everyone else"? I told the officers that besides my husband and about 6 other people, there is only me. I explained that I felt that it only takes "one" person to do something good, as well as it only takes "one" person to do something not so good.

Now I will say that as I watched the officers walk towards me, my heart sank a big in my stomach, but that wasn’t out of feeling fear or intimidation, it was simply because I had never really done anything quite like this before!

The response from people driving by was incredible! People dropped off water, honked, waved and were very supportive of what I was doing. A few people approached me on the bridge to chat with me and keep me company. My husband Ted left work early, and joined me around 4:15pm. We left the bridge around 6:00pm.

"Day Two";I started my stand on the Bridge Thursday around 12:15pm with my sign in hand, and stood between the now 2 Canadian flags flying from the bridge. Wednesday there was one flag on the bridge when I arrived. Thursday there was a second flag flying. I knew the second flag would be there, as a woman who dropped off a cold bottle of water to me on Wednesday, said that she would be putting up another flag during the night, and she did! Thanks!

No O.P.P. officers approached me the entire day; they did drive by regularly, and waved as they drove by.

Again many people dropped off coffee, water, waved, honked, and I had a few visitors. I left the bridge at 5:00pm. It was a great day!

"Day Three";I arrived at the bridge at 6:15am with my sign in hand and sat between the 2 Canadian Flags.

At 8:00am I was joined by Mark Vandermaas from Voice of Canada. For those of you who are aware of Caledonia Wakeup Call, Mark was asked by Gary McHale to cover the events of the day. Mark has posted his events of the day on

Again the day was full of kind gestures; one woman dropped off a stool for me to sit on. One gentleman stopped to drop off a magic marker, as he said that the print on my sign was not dark enough. One person came with a case of water; others dropped off smarties, coffee, donuts, chocolate bars, ice cream, fruit, chocolate eclairs, ice tea mix, water etc…. People again honked, waved, and sent gestures of support.

I wasn’t alone on the bridge today. People joined me from the community; there were at least 5 of us on the bridge at any given time throughout the day. We were also joined by, Karen Best from the Chronicle, Bill Jackson from the Regional News, Paul Legal (hope I spelled that correctly) from the Spectator, and Al Sweeney from CHTV. The parking lot beside the bridge was also filling up with people, looking on.

The O.P.P. were also very visible today, as they drove over the bridge many times throughout the day and once again waved as they drove by.

Now a strange chain of events occurred with the O.P.P., the first was when an O.P.P. cruiser stopped on the bridge, said to me, (not his exact words) everything is being packed up, it’s over, and asked us to leave. Shortly after that, 2 O.P.P. officers walked up to us on the bridge had a bit of a chitchat, and left. The same 2 O.P.P. officers came back a short while after that, around 1:30pm, to inform us that his supervisor had asked him or as one person heard the officer say that he was "ordered to request the we leave the bridge". The question was asked of the officer are we doing anything wrong and his reply was "not yet". We were then all asked our names, addresses and birth dates. I said I would give my information last as I had already given that information to the 4 officers on Wednesday and I had nothing to hide anyway. What angered me the most was that all of a sudden because I wasn’t "alone" we were being asked to leave, my comment to a few people was that if it was that important the Supervisor should have personally come to ask us to leave. I told the officer that I was staying, and the rest stayed with me to the end of the day.

There were many "rumors" circulating during the day, and I won’t go into any detail as they were just that "rumors". In a small town news travels very quickly, and so do the rumors!
Again, thanks to all who supported my stand on the Dunnville Bridge!


  1. Donna a big thanks from Dunnville. You are a rebel for a good cause!

    Sue from Dunnville.

  2. I would like to tell you that you are a strong woman Donna, I drove by you several times, both when you were alone, and when others where standing with you.

    I would have loved to have joined you, but I don't do things like that. I wish I could.

    Thank you for being so strong.


  3. There you are, I couldn't find you. I usually read your blog directly from Caledonia Wakeup Call.

    I live in Hamilton and I am glad that I am not in the middle of things, but we should all be concerned over what is going on.

    I have to agree with you Donna, that if it weren't for rumors things wouldn't be as bad as they are.

    The press is always looking for something to blow out of proportion. And we all fall into the trap of believing what we hear.

    Job well done Donna

  4. Why did I have to find you in the back door?

    Your blog is usually right upfront on McHale's site? Is McHale finally gone fishing?

    Why is Voice of Canada's account of Friday different than yours?

    Who is telling the truth here?

  5. It was a pleasure helping a person who really cares Donna: and she got off her couch!!!
    Get involved to know whats really going on: it will be an eye opener when dealing with the OPP!!!

    Jim Smith

  6. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    It's funny I even had a hard time finding myself. I think there is something wrong with the feeds, I have someone looking into that right now.

    As far as the feed to Caledonia Wake up Call, I can't answer that question.

    Everyone has there own point of view, and obviously Voice of Canada's view was different than mine. I have said many times, we all have own own opinions, and that should be "respected".

    The fact is that this article is not my first post, I toned down the first one. I may revise this article again later tonight to reflect back to my first posting.

    And Jim, thanks so much for standing with me, it was my pleasure. I am sure you also had fun waving at all those black and whites driving by.


  7. Like a few other people who made comments Donna, rumors, threats and lies can do a lot of harm.

    All that needs to stop, we need to pressure the government to do their jobs, and settle things.

    Donna we are proud of you

  8. I read both articles and I also read the Chronicle. Karen Best has the story on the front page of today's paper.

    I hate to argue with you Donna, but there is more than a difference in opinion here.

  9. You are doing a great job Donna, I will put in a link in my blog to your blog.

    My focus is helping create extra income for people through self employment with the growing Internet economy to replace the jobs that have gone and will never come back again
    . I have posted a piece called Rural Blues which you should take a look at.

    The main reason why our local economy has crashed is because of the ineptness of this bumbling local councel and the Provincial and Federal governements to solve the crisis in Caledonia by peaceful means.

    We all need an end to the Caledonia crisis and a just solution that will work for all parties concerned and an end to extreemism from all sides. Confrontation is not the way to go.I want to live in peace with our native brothers and sisters,WE ARE ALL GOD's children and we must share this bit of paradise in peace and harmony, and work together to boot out these bumbling politicians who have had too long to resolve this issue.