EXPOSED: How the McGuinty gov’t refused to investigate criminal allegations against Fantino


UPDATE March 17/10: Senior OPP officers charged w/Obstructing Justice in McHale case. 

UPDATE 1033 EST June 18/09: Additional court evidence supports  allegations in Part 1 of Fantino complaint:

UPDATE 1031 EST Feb 19/09: as of yesterday, our complaint to the Minister (right) had been downloaded over 5,600 times.

UPDATED 1534 EST Jan 23/09

This article explains how the McGuinty government refused to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino, following which lawyers for the Attorney General of Ontario then used the complaint document in what would prove to be a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to impugn the motives of CANACE founders during criminal and civil proceedings in unrelated actions.

The consequences of their failure will have far-reaching benefits to us and to the victims of Caledonia. One benefit is that this story can now be told…

Allegations against Commissioner Fantino

On May 30/08 I filed a 71 page complaint on behalf of Gary McHale, Jeff Parkinson and myself with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci asking for an RCMP investigation into the evidence in our possession that we believe supports the laying of 3 Criminal Code charges against OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino:

  • Obstruction of Justice, s.139
  • Influencing Municipal Official, s.123
  • Breach of Trust by Public Officer, s.122

Police Services Act complaint, May 30/08: Vandermaas-McHale-Parkinson v. Fantino

We were not asking that charges be filed against the Commissioner; we were reporting what we considered to be highly improper behaviour which we also believed – in good faith – may have crossed the line into criminality. We wanted a transparent, independent investigation, failing which we would use the only means remaining to seek justice – private prosecution. (By this time Gary McHale had been successful in having the court certify 9 charges of Mischief, Intimidation and Extortion against two native protesters via private prosecutions.)

Important evidence not available at time of complaint

Keep in mind when reading Part 1 of the complaint that, at the time of submission, we did not yet have the smoking gun emails that prove conclusively that Commissioner Fantino ordered his officers to target Gary McHale for arrest on Dec 01/07 before the investigation into the violent smokeshack protest had even begun:

Also keep in mind when reading the emails that on Nov 26/08 Fantino testified under oath that the OPP had not charged McHale with any crime prior to Dec 01/07 because they had no evidence to support any charges. This means that at the time he was ordering his officers to target him for arrest Fantino had NO evidence that McHale had committed any crime during our efforts to oppose racial policing prior to that day.

Clearly, the Fantino emails bolster our claim in Part 1 of the complaint that he perverted the course of justice by tainting the investigation which resulted in racially-driven charges in connection with the Dec 01/07 smokeshack protest at which peaceful non-natives and OPP officers were attacked by various violent natives.

The emails, coupled with his Nov 26/08 testimony, also support our claim in Part 3 that Fantino lied to the public and to Haldimand Council about McHale and his followers in order to suppress non-native opposition to OPP racial policing practices.

Had the Minister asked for and examined our evidence and then referred our complaint to the RCMP this additional evidence – and likely more – would have certainly have come to light. I would argue that given the previous complaints against Fantino – all dismissed by the previous Minister Monte Kwinter without investigation – he had a responsibility to use due care and diligence in reviewing and acting on allegations of misconduct against the Commissioner. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

Instead of doing the right thing, the Minister chose to cover Fantino’s back.

Minister dismisses complaint without investigating

The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services is appointed under the Police Services Act to receive complaints against the Commissioner of the OPP. Unfortunately, Bartolucci did not call the RCMP as we requested. He did not even ask for our supporting evidence. He simply dismissed the complaint and its allegations out of hand.

As shocking as the complaint itself is, the Minister’s eagerness to downplay the Commissioner’s role in targetting non-natives for minor charges while allowing natives who had atttacked OPP officers to go uncharged as explained in Part 1, and his refusal to even acknowledge the existence of Part 3 of our complaint speaks volumes about the government’s willingness to overlook Fantino’s outrageous conduct:   

Attorney General uses complaint to attack credibility of complainants

Instead of investigating the allegations in our complaint, the Minister instead passed it on to the Attorney General’s office; you can see that the source of the document was Minister Bartolucci’s office by the two ‘RECEIVED’ stamps on the title page of the complaint itself.

On Aug 14/08, less than one month after Minister Bartolucci dismissed our complaint, the Civil branch of the Attorney General began to use it without permission by filing it at the Cayuga courthouse against CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson and Mr. McHale in an attempt to prove that CANACE members were abusing the judicial process. We have attached the affidavit sworn for this very purpose to the front of the complaint document.  

 This action by the Attorney General put our private complaint into the court system and into the public domain.

Our complaint was also used, again without permission, by the Criminal branch of the Attorney General against Jeff Parkinson to stop him from laying criminal charges against OPP officers. This second attempt to smear CANACE members in the eyes of the court failed miserably when Judge Marshall ruled on Jan 12/09 in the case of Parkinson v. Regina. Not only did Marshall order a new hearing into the charges, he also vindicated Parkinson’s motives:

The lesson is clear: if you file a complaint against the Commissioner with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services as per your right under the Police Services Act, 1. It will NOT be investigated; 2.You should not expect it to remain confidential, and 3. You should expect the document to be used against you or your associates in unrelated proceedings.

All this, of course, defeats the very purpose of police oversight. For all practical purposes, there seems to be no oversight whatsoever on the Commissioner of the OPP. 

Why we waited to publish this complaint

Part 1 of the complaint contains evidence obtained under Crown disclosure to Gary McHale to assist him in the defence of the ‘Counselling Mischief Not Committed’ charge laid by the OPP in connection with the Dec 01/07 protest by residents at an illegal smokeshack in Caledonia. It would have been improper therefore, for us to have released the document to the public. Once the Crown filed it in their defence to an unrelated legal action by Parkinson and McHale however, the document then entered the public domain.

Had it not been for the Attorney General’s silly and persistent attempts to help the OPP evade accountability by smearing CANACE founders instead of responding to the issues we have raised, we would not been able to publish this important document, and we would not have achieved an important victory in Parkinson v. Regina.  

Not the first time a McGuinty minister has covered for Fantino

As you will read in the May 30/08 complaint, this is not the first time a Minister has rejected complaints against Fantino without investigating them, including several by Caledonia residents who must remain un-named. The complaints below were all dismissed by the former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter: 

  • Police Services Act complaint, April 02/07: Vandermaas v Fantino (defamation)
  • Police Services Act complaint, May 01/07: Vandermaas v Fantino (violation of civil rights) LINK TO FOLLOW
  • Police Services Act complaint, April 16/07: McHale v Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
  • Police Services Act complaint, April 16/07: Kinrade v. Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
  • Police Services Act complaint, May 01/07: LT v. Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
  • Police Services Act complaint, May 01/07: ST v. Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
  • Police Services Act complaint, May 01/07: ST2 v. Fantino (re email threatening Haldimand Council)
  • feature: FantinoGate 
  • .

    Other instances where government lawyers have tried to deny access to justice by attacking motives of non-native activists

    1. On July 22/08 the MoAG lawyer for Julian Fantino and the two officers who arrested me while trying to raise a Canadian flag finally responded to my complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They refused to attend a scheduled mediation session, told the OHRC they were not going to provide a substantive response to the allegations, and then proceeded to argue that my claim should be dismissed as frivolous, vexatious, groundless, made in bad faith, etc. The only problem was that the evidence they provided to the OHRC actually supported my allegations. Unbelievably, Fantino’s lawyer tried to justify their actions by telling the OHRC that they believe they have the right to arrest innocent potential victims of violence as an alternative to protecting them and their rights:

    “Mr. Vandermaas’ actions in relation to the situation at Caledonia have made him a potential target of the more extreme element who do not share his views. It is the Respondents’ position that any actions it has taken in relation to Mr. Vandermaas have been to preserve the peace and to protect Mr. Vandermaas and his supporters from harm.”

    “The Respondents do not dispute that on December 16, 2006 and January 20, 2007 OPP officers objected to Mr. Vandermaas erecting or attempting to erect a Canadian flag across the street from the occupied area.”

    “It was the Respondents’ honestly held belief that the placement of the flag could provoke others to breach the peace and put Mr. Vandermaas and others in harms way.”

    Clearly, by the government’s own admission, my complaint was anything but frivolous. I submitted a 45 page response to the OHRC arguing against dismissal on Sept 02/08 along with even more supporting evidence. The good news is that the OHRC did not dismiss my complaint; the bad news is that the Commission is transitioning from an investigatory role into a tribunal function; all complaints not set for a hearing by Dec 31/08 will die with the complainants being forced to start all over again by filing a new complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario no later than June 30/09. Unfortunately, my complaint is one of them.

    2. On April 23/08 Commissioner Fantino told a Toronto radio audience  that Gary McHale and I were ‘involved’ in violence and had a violent ‘agenda.’ After giving Fantino the opportunity to apologize we each filed Small Claims Court suits for defamation.

    Fantino’s lawyers however, wrote back to insist his statements were true, and again they trotted out the same, tired ‘frivilous’ claim argument:

    “7. The Defendant pleads that the plaintiff’s claim discloses no reasonable cause of action, and is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process. Furthermore, the plaintiff’s claim has been brought for the improper purpose of furthering the plaintiff’s political agenda.”

    McHale and I didn’t just fabricate an imaginary radio interview story to make the Commissioner a target of a phoney lawsuit. For two years, we have been trying to stop him from making false statements about us without success. The Minister has refused to silence him, so a Small Claims action seemed like the most expeditious way to force Fantino to ‘put up or shut up.’  How can it be an abuse of process to demand that the Commissioner of the second largest police force produce evidence in a court of law to back up his statements against two people who have never been charged with a violent crime? 

    Why Attorney General lawyers attack our motives

    There can be no doubt that the McGuinty government knows full well that Fantino is using his office to try to silence non-native opposition to the disgusting practice of race-based policing. As citizens of Ontario we and others from Caledonia have done our democratic duty to bring the truth to their attention. Since two separate ministers have now refused to act on the information we can only assume the obvious – that Fantino is doing exactly what he was hired to do. 

    One might argue that we owe Minister Bartolucci, Minister Kwinter and the Attorney General’s office a huge debt of gratitude in that their conduct shows just how utterly devoid the government and OPP are of any lawful justification for the conduct of Fantino and the OPP.  

    Certainly, if the Liberals or OPP had any legal basis (thankfully, the tainted Ipperwash Inquiry does NOT have the force of law) for allowing the OPP Commissioner to lie to the public and enforce race-based policing against non-natives they would be shouting it from the rooftops. Their silence betrays them. The fact that they feel the need to use their legal muscle to try to prevent non-native activists from gaining access to the courts speaks volumes.

    Why Attorney General lawyers will be unsuccessful in attacking our motives in the future: Parkinson v. Regina

    Jeff Parkinson is a co-founder of CANACE (Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality). It was his persistence – with research assistance from Gary McHale – that resulted in an Order of Mandamus being certified by Judge Marshall in Superior Court on Jan 12/09. The Order forces a new hearing into private prosecution charges brought by Parkinson against two OPP officers. As discussed earlier, the Crown was initially successful in stopping the prosecutions by trying to paint Parkinson as a vexatious complainant due in no small part to his association with CANACE and the May 30/08 complaint discussed herein.

    In granting the Order of Mandamus, Judge Marshall had this to say about Parkinson’s motives and those of reformers generally:

    [23]…the incriminating evidence or intent, is virtually all in the video of the police helping to erect the barricade. It is hard to see how animosity in the informant could taint the video.

    [24] Besides this, and in any event this discretion to not issue because of vexation or ulterior motives should in my respectful view be very carefully exercised. If it is not, I would expect there would be few private prosecutions. These cases are after all, generally brought by people because the crown or police for reasons of their own apparently have not proceeded in the usual manner through the police and the crown. A private prosecution such as this is an important part of the public duty to oversee the administration of justice. This is clear on the authorities I have referred to.

    [25] Often, much public good is done by people wishing to advance their own ends. The great example outside the law is of course the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith and much philanthropy is, one expects, undertaken with some less laudatory motives than the public good. If one were to pursue motives — one can always find ad hominem motives in a reformer.

    [26] We should look – except in the clear case – at public benefit not private demons.

    [28] I note, in reviewing the transcript there is evidence of good motive too. Mr. Parkinson stated at line 20, page 23 of the transcript: “I’m not here out of vengeance, I’m here because of what I saw that day” and finally at page 24, line 15: “And, I’m here simply because I believe that these people should be held as accountable as anyone else would be for their actions.”

    Superior Court decision, Jan 12/09: Parkinson v. Regina

    See also:

    Thanks to Jeff Parkinson, Gary McHale and Judge Marshall the Crown will no longer be able to impugn the motives of CANACE members – or other activists -as a means to deny access to the courts, and citizens are now free to file criminal charges against those the police refuse to charge including police officers and politicians. As Gary McHale wrote in his Regional News Column of Jan 13/09:

    The Crown worked hard to ensure that Mr. Parkinson and Mr. McHale were not able to get a Justice of the Peace to issue process of criminal charges because they are well aware that paperwork had already been filed to lay criminal charges against senior OPP officers and a cabinet minister in McGuinty’s government on the charge of Common Nuisance for failing to protect Sam Gaultieri at the Stirling development. The Government had already received paperwork accusing senior OPP officers of Breach of Public Trust.

    This ruling by Marshall truly means that if any citizen has evidence that a crime has been committed they will see those charges laid and if not they can use an Order of Mandamus to COMPEL the Justice to issue process.

    Regional News, Gary McHale, Jan 13/09: Judge Marshall Rules in Favour of Mandamus

    VoC Comment

    caledoniasong1Even Fantino and McGuinty must see the writing on the wall: race-based policing is a disastrous experiment in politically-correct, bizzaro-world policing that never had any chance of success. The fact that CANACE founders have scored key victories in the courts should be a clue.

    The fact that MPP Toby Barrett, MP Diane Finley, three members of Haldimand Council and a couple thousand people have signed a petition condemning Fantino’s conduct and calling for an inquiry into Caledonia should be a clue.

    The fact that Gary McHale got 4,821 votes in the last federal election, winning every poll in Caledonia except the two in which he came second should be a clue.

    The fact that lawsuits against the OPP from Caledonia’s victims are piling up should be a clue.  

    The fact that MPP Toby Barrett drafted a proclamation calling for an end to race-based policing should be a clue.

    The fact that artists are creating works condemning McGuinty and Fantino’s racial policing policies should be a clue.

    The problem, however, is that even if their egos allowed it the purveyors of race-based policing in Caledonia simply cannot now admit they were wrong because it would expose the government and likely some individuals to enormous liability. It is not inconceivable that total civil claims associated with racial policing practices could exceed 500,000,000 dollars, not to mention the possibility of criminal liability for those who refused to carry out their duties to protect the innocent. And, of course, all this scandal and waste might affect Liberal chances in the next election.

    No wonder they won’t call in the RCMP to investigate Fantino. No wonder they have tried so hard to silence the voices raised against them.

    “In a time of universal deceipt, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

    George Orwell (Author of 1984 and Animal Farm)

    Let the revolution continue.

    Mark Vandermaas, Editor
    Voice of Canada 

    9 responses to “EXPOSED: How the McGuinty gov’t refused to investigate criminal allegations against Fantino

    1. It appears to me that lack of oversight is epidemic in Ontario. Look, for example, at the public school system: the school principals report to the school boards, which are the corporations. The Ministry of education does not oversee the corporate school boards, which means that there is no way to force the school boards to obey the laws and operate ethically. Basically, the school boards in Ontario can do whatever they they want.

      Your case shows that police can do whatever they want just as well. What else?

      VoC reply: Thanks for writing, Aaron. Our case should send a message to every community in Ontario with a non-OPP police force: get down on your knees and give thanks that your police chief and his officers are answerable to your Mayor and not a cabinet minister in McGuinty’s government. Thank God I live in London. Whatever the London Police cost, they’re worth every penny! Regards, Mark

    2. WL Mackenzie Redux

      The provincial force has been the private army for Queens park politics for as long as I can remember.

      It’s obvious in the Caledonia and Ipperwash incidents and so many other things …like using the OPP raids to intimidate farmers independent of marketing board cabals…my gawd you’d think raw milk was the new crack cocaine or something.

      Local councils really should look at their policing alternatives because it’s patently obvious the OPP are run by the kakistocrats in TO not the locals.

      VoC reply: Thanks for teaching me a new word, WL! I had to look up ‘Kakistocrat’ in Encarta:

      kak·is·toc·ra·cy [ kàkə stókrəssee ] (plural kak·is·toc·ra·cies)

      Definition: bad government: government by the most unscrupulous or unsuitable people, or a state governed by such people

      [Early 19th century. < Greek kakistos "worst"]

      Sounds about right to me!

      Thanks so much for the vocabulary less, WL. I always learn so much from you.

      P.S. I did pass on your suggestion to GM re the site. It wasn’t hacked or dangerous; it was a simple missing file. Problem now fixed. Sorry I didn’t get back to you on that; VERY swamped with legal work.

      Regards, Mark

    3. Dear Mark,

      Will you be re-instating your HRC complaint under this new Tribunal???? It appears the government of Ontario and it’s various Ministries are determined to make it virtually impossible for the average Ontarian to gain a voice against unlawful behaviour.

      It is even more serious when they continually protect an individual who is NOT elected, but appointed. This was a serious sore point during the Ipperwash crisis as well. One man, the Commissioner of the OPP, had the power to veto our request for RCMP policing, as well as not answer our questions concerning inadequate policing via the Police Act and the Charter of Rights.

      As you have found out yourself, thousands of documents, letters back and forth, from various Ministries, shows blatantly that everyone at Queen’s Park came on board with giving us either mis-information or no information.

      No one elected spoke out against the race-based, discriminatory, detrimental policy that put our community in chaos. Some of those non-action upstarts are still at Queen’s Park today.

      It will take time, but I believe that all that CANACE is doing will eventually clean up the mess of two decades of ignorance of the law by government officials more intent on passing the buck and saving their own asses than doing the right and just measures needed for the safety of all who live in Ontario.

      You are all to be commended for doing so much, for so many with so little support. Your effort alone makes me want to weep for those who cannot appreciate the enormity of what has so far transpired.

      VoC Reply: Hi ML. Yes, there will be a new complaint filed with the new Human Rights Tribunal. The OHRC sent me prefilled forms for that purpose.

      Thanks so much for your confidence, your support and all the kind thoughts. No one with the authority to act, or with the resources to hold them accountable can ever say we did not warn them. My/our/your conscience is clear and for that we can take some comfort.

      As for those who knowingly stood by and made excuses as to why they couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t get involved, they will carry that shame with them forever.

      How, for example, would you like to be one of those cops in the famous photos of those who turned the fire hoses and dogs on black protesters?

      Or one of the ministers who Dr. King blamed for the bombing deaths of 4 black children because they remained silent in their churches behind stained glass windows instead of speaking out against injustice?

      I, on the other hand, – at the very least – will have the knowledge that I stood with courageous people like Mary-Lou LaPratte, Gary McHale, Merlyn Kinrade and Jeff Parkinson who were prepared to risk all that they had to make Canada a place where all human beings are valuable and equal before the law in theory and in practice.

      Thanks again, ML. Mark

    4. Mark said:”As for those who knowingly stood by and made excuses as to why they couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t get involved, they will carry that shame with them forever.

      How, for example, would you like to be one of those cops in the famous photos of those who turned the fire hoses and dogs on black protesters?

      Or one of the ministers who Dr. King blamed for the bombing deaths of 4 black children because they remained silent in their churches behind stained glass windows instead of speaking out against injustice?”

      Or, how would you like to be one of the OPP in the video at the Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia watching a swarming and doing nothing to prevent it. Or, be one of the disgraceful OPP taped over and over facing the residents while their backs were to the criminals. The list goes on and on.

      Someday, I truly hope some of these officers’ kids see them in these videos and have to explain to them why they were doing what they were doing. I rest easy knowing that my kids see that I get involved and try to make a difference. Keep up the good work Mark.

      “PROUD Canace member.”

      VoC REPLY: Good to hear from you Larry. Yes, yes, yes…being on the wrong side of history is a bummer.

      I do have to say though, that we’ve come a ways since then: individual officers have risked their careers to send us evidence; more and more of them are thanking Gary when they see him him around.

      After all, they know who’s been lying to them and who’s been fighting for their rights, too. They know that McHale did his best to lay charges for assaults against OPP officers on Dec 1/07 that somehow never got laid. They know.

      There is no doubt in my mind that we are fast approaching a day when officers will openly refuse to obey illegal orders to conduct racial policing, and will step forward to voluntarily testify. Those will be the true heroes.

      Thanks for the compliments; we’ll have another important news announcement and major court document release within a week. Stay tuned, buddy and thanks for being a supporter all along.

      Oh yes, be sure to watch the Regional News for a two part story on how Caledonia is suffering because the Ipperwash Inquiry suppressed evidence. Part 1 will be published (subject to change of course) next week. It’ll be an eye-opener, especially for people who don’t go on-line.

      Regards, Mark

    5. WL Mackenzie Redux

      Larry said: “Someday, I truly hope some of these officers’ kids see them in these videos and have to explain to them why they were doing what they were doing.”

      The justification? They do it for a pay cheque Larry.

      Remember that Stalin had no problem finding guards for his interment camps or cops to keep them full of people who disagreed with state corruption.

      Some of the greatest civil atrocities in Canada (The police saber charge on Winnipeg unemployed, Armed charge and rifle volleys into civilian crowds in Regina, the police repression of the Doukabors, barn burnings in Quebec and well head explosions in Alberta) were “police actions”. Then, outside these periodic displays of uncivil prejudicious exercises of excessive force, there is a history and pattern of police tampering with evidence and bearing false witness routinely to make arrests and convictions….yes Larry a lot of civil oppression can be bought for the price of a pay cheque.

      Never forget: you can’t have a police state without police to staff it. A steady pay cheque and retirement perks erases a lot of ethical and civil principle.

      25 years in law reform advocacy have taught me that a civilly principled bureaucrat/cop/judge/official is a rare thing.

      VoC REPLY: Hi WL, you’re so right. As I’ve said in the past, the Nazi death camps were made possible, not by the stormtroopers, but by the police, lawyers, prosecutors, attorneys, judges and clerks who were ‘just following orders.’ How soon we forget. Thanks for writing. Regards, Mark

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