OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino was at Queen’s Park yesterday, and the poor guy looked like a sad pup who’s been to the vet and realizes he won’t be peeing with the big dogs anymore. Here’s what he had to say to reporters yesterday (April 19/07) as reported during the 6pm CHTV News report. [dial-up] :
“I’m afraid I’m here on some other business and I’m not going to mix the two.”
“The truth always comes out and I have tremendous faith in the system and I think that’s about all I can say. Thanks.”
So, what “other business” could have brought the Commissioner to Queens Park? I’m sure he wasn’t there just because the food’s good and he didn’t know where else to eat.
It looks like Fantino’s been neutered or at least muzzled by Solicitor General Monte Kwinter until he figures out what to do with him, and I’ll bet the people close to McGuinty to whom Fantino cc’d his now-infamous April 0707 email – Chris Morley, McGuinty’s press secretary; Tony Dean, Secretary of the Cabinet; and Peter Wilkinson, the Premier’s Chief of Staff – can’t wait for Fantino to be retired to the doghouse. All of them have been implicated in his outrageous attack on democracy, and they have to know that an investigation into Fantino’s relationship with them and their boss is coming.
Somehow I don’t think McGuinty’s going to be able to use the same approach to FantinoGate that’s worked so well for him in connection with the Caledonia mess, as explained here by Tim Hudak on CHTV News at noon, April 18/07 [dial-up]:
“There’s no doubt when it comes to Caledonia the McGuinty government’s approach is to duck behind their desks and hide.”
“If he doesn’t [apologize] then the Premier should fire him.”
“Does he [Fantino] think ‘peace, order and good government’ means he will keep the peace only if government follows his orders? Residents of the area want this all to come to an end and expect the law to be upheld and enforced. They should not be forced to endure threats from thsoe who they thought were there to protect them.”
The harshest critic of all, though, has been the NDP’s critic for Community Safety and Justice, the most honourable Member for Niagara Centre, Peter Kormos, who isn’t pulling any punches as to what he thinks about Fantino’s threats and his ‘police state’ tactics. It was an absolute pleasure to listen to MPP Kormos on the Bill Kelly Show yesterday (April 19/07):
“Police have no business directing the nature of political discourse or the types of debates or statements that politicians make.”
“Can Caledonians have any confidence in the OPP under the direction of Fantino?
Apparently, Kormos doesn’t think so…
“Fantino, by trying to direct politicians and direct the political debate has created a cloud and an aura that, quite frankly, reaches into the status of police state-ism. That’s exactly what we want to avoid in a democracy.”
“This is another black mark on a very regrettable history over the course of the last 12 months in Caledonia.”
“Fantino should have known better. This was an email that contained – not even implicit threats – there were clear threats, threats about holding people civilly liable. Holy cow! talk about trying to create a chill and interfering in the political activities of elected representatives. Those elected representatives are accountable to their voters not to Fantino or a police force.”
“What Fantino has done is he’s put his front line OPP officers now under a cloud so that their conduct may be questioned by citizens. That’s totally unfair to those officers.”
What can you say but ‘Way to go Peter!’ This guy gets it. He knows that politicians run the country, not police officers. I called Kormos’ office today to pass on my gratitude on behalf of everyone involved in the struggle against Two Tier Justice. I also tried to point him towards some key stories like Dancer, The Ipperwash Papers and some specific evidence found at FantinoGate.
Other promising developments…
People with grudges against Fantino are starting to come forward to us with evidence. In addition to my gratitude to Peter Kormos, I also passed on an email that we got today from an ex-RCMP Sergeant who claims to have experienced some of Fantino’s bully tactics that required him to go all the way to the Federal Court to clear his name and get his job back. Best of all he even gave us permission to publish it. Watch for a story on CaledoniaWakeUpCall soon.
I also had a call from the office of the Ombudsman of Ontario today. As per MPP Toby Barrett’s wise suggestion that the people of Caledonia keep the Ombudsman’s office informed, I decided to send them a copy of my latest complaint to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Service (OCCPS) regarding my Dec 16/06 arrest. They told me it was “very interesting.” They also suggested that I send a copy to the Human Rights Commission which I will do first thing next week.
So…what about Fantino’s future?
The sixty-four thousand dollar question is: will Fantino be fired or not? I can tell you that there are additional complaints against him in the works. If McGuinty or Fantino have any illusions about FantinoGate going quietly away, they’re sadly mistaken. In fairness to Monte Kwinter, however, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services has been saying the right things in public so I’m trusting he’ll conduct a fair and impartial review of the complaints against Fantino so far [1, 2, 3] and then do the right thing by relegating him to the doghouse. Woof, woof.
P.S. Hey McGuinty!!! Paying more OPP officers to stand around while rail lines are blocked isn’t going to help your image much as we roll along to election day. Better make it a duplex-doghouse for you and your lapdog. Arf.
The answer to your question, Iain (see article at link above), by the way, is an emphatic “NO!” Do not give up on justice. Instead, go see one of the most inspiring movies ever made, “Amazing Grace,” and take great comfort at what a small group of committed people can accomplish. I’ve seen it twice, and both times people applauded at the end, including me.
See you at our next March for Freedom!
- Vandermaas interview, The Right Side, April 17/07: Intro Part 1 Part 2
- McHale interview, The Right Side, April 17/07: Part 1 Part 2
Mark Vandermaas, Editor