UPDATED 1748 EST Jan 13/07: Thanks to readers, Mike, Betsy and Dennis for identifying the two CHTV reporters for me. I tried to do it using the CH website, but the photos were too small for my sleep-deprived eyes. Glad for your help, cause I like to give credit where and when it’s due, and these two reporters sure deserved it.
VoC readers may recall my open letter to OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino in which I asked him for an apology for the inaccurate and downright slanderous statements he’s been making about Gary McHale and the un-named others (like me) who have gone to help Caledonia. I’m still waiting for him to get back to me. Meanwhile, Gary McHale and I just received some astounding CHTV footage of an interview they did with Commissioner Fantino on the 5:30 news, January 9/07.
For almost 9 full minutes, CH reporters, Donna Skelly and Mark Hebscher bounded after Fantino as he dipsy-doodled around the real issues, going after him like hungry cats after a T-bone steak. They asked him if his officers would stand around and watch if someone were being assaulted. Instead of taking that opening to show ‘there’s a new sheriff in town’ Fantino evaded the question by talking about the ‘discretion’ his officers have. Still, the CH tigers wouldn’t let it go – Fantino again weaseled his way out of giving a yes/no answer. It was pathetic. I wonder how he’d feel if it was his son or daughter or parent being attacked while his officers ‘used their discretion.’
At one point, one of the interviewers actually defended Gary McHale when Fantino started to attack him. First time that’s happened, folks! I was stunned and immensely pleased. (Did I mention that I lived in Hamilton for many years? Huh, how ’bout them Cats, eh!]
When attacking Gary McHale didn’t work, Fantino tried a different approach – attacking the reporters! (I did that myself on Dec 16/06, [video only 3.48min] but it’s not generally a good idea. As someone once said, “you don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” I got away with it because I was a private citizen fighting for a cause I believed in; a ‘professional’ like Fantino doesn’t have a prayer doing it.)
I’m seeing a theme here in Fantino’s media messages:
The OPP isn’t the problem; my officers aren’t the problem; there’s no such thing as Two Tier Justice; everybody misunderstands us; life in Caledonia would be just wonderful if only those outsiders like Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas would stay away. If I don’t mention the violent natives and their crimes maybe you’ll forget about them and focus on those evil outsiders trying to provoke violence with their damn flags. Oh yes, and it’s the media’s fault, too.
Fantino’s whining reminds me of when I had a conversation with Inspector McLean after our arrests, Dec 16/06 during which I told him about the Toronto Star and St. Catharines Standard editorials. His reply? “I guess they don’t get it either.” Yeah, no one in Ontario gets ‘it’ but the poor, misunderstood OPP brass.
“Someone give Fantino a teddy bear and send him to his room. He sounds like a five year old throwing a tantrum.”
CHTV – well done for holding our OPP Commissioner accountable, and for not letting him off the hook. Five VoC Media Watchdog Gold Stars for you! Plus, you get a place of honour on the VoC blogroll. Sorry…no cash value.