Ontario NDP leader calls for Fantino to step aside

I haven’t seen the show myself but Gary McHale called to tell me that NDP leader Andrea Horwath was on Cable 14 (Hamilton) yesterday and renewed her call for Fantino to step aside. This is in keeping with her position prior to the Attorney General withdrawing the charge against the commissioner on Feb 03/10.

The past six weeks have been a whirlwind and one of the important stories I didn’t have a chance to comment on was the strong position of Ontario’s NDP leader Andrea Horwath had taken on the Fantino criminal case prior to withdrawal of the charge.

On Jan 13/10 Horwath’s call for Fantino to step down was the title of this Hamilton Spectator story:

The New Democrats say McGuinty’s loyalty to Fantino is misplaced and the commissioner should be told to step down until the charge is dealth with in court.”

Hamilton Spectator, Jan 13/10: NDP urge OPP boss Fantino to step aside until charge dealth with [PDF]

The next day her words were the focus of this piece by the Toronto Star:

Premier Dalton McGuinty is rejecting NDP pressure to ask Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino to step down over allegations the veteran cop tried to influence municipal officials regarding the aboriginal occupation of Caledonia. […]

Fantino’s refusal to take temporary leave and McGuinty’s refusal to force him to do so does not bode well for the “fair and unbiased” administration of justice in Ontario, said New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath. “The thing I find most disconcerting is the premier is putting his loyalty to Mr. Fantino over and above the practical reality that it’s becoming more and more difficult for Mr. Fantino to do his job while he’s under this significant spotlight.” She added Fantino “should see that it’s time for him to take a back seat for a while, at least until this is dealt with.”

Toronto Star, Jan 14/10: McGuinty is too loyal to Fantino, NDP says [PDF]

NDP Justice Critic Peter Kormos spoke out in 2007

The position taken by the new NDP leader echoed Peter Kormos’ call back in 2007 when the FantinoGate affair first erupted after Julian Fantino sent his threatening email to Haldimand Council warning them of severe consequences if they supported Gary McHale’s protests against the OPP:

peter_kormos.jpg“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.”

NDP Justice Critic Peter Kormos on Bill Kelly show, April 19/07: see VoiceofCanada, Aprl 20/07: McGuinty’s lap dog neutered?

About Fantino’s email(s)

You can read Fantino’s email to Haldimand Council and others at the link below. Keep in mind while reading them however, that Fantino gave sworn testimony on Nov 26/08 that the OPP has never charged Gary McHale with any crime other than the single (bizarre) Counselling Mischief Not Committed (that he has pleaded not guilty to) because they had no evidence to do so.

Also, the CBC National News and the Globe’s Christie Blatchford have exposed the Fantino/OPP plot to target McHale even though they had no evidence. The CBC story also quoted from recently available emails that show McHale was charged in order to appease native radicals (these recent emails have not been released to the public, but can be made available to bonafide media outlets and politicians):

Not the only time Fantino tried to intimidate Haldimand Council

Believe it or not, the April 07/07 email to Haldimand Council was not the only time that Julian Fantino tried to intimidate Council into remaining silent. Here is an excerpt (beginning on p53) from a May 30/08 complaint that was dismissed out of hand by the current Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Affairs Rick Bartolucci without even asking for the supporting evidence:

We are in possession of evidence showing that Commissioner Fantino contacted Haldimand Mayor Trainer directly in a second attempt to influence her to stop her criticism of the OPP on behalf of residents.

This occurred during the period that Mr. Rod McLeod – a consultant hired by the former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Affairs to make recommendations on how to proceed with the existing complaints against the Commissioner – was conducting inquiries that had included meetings with Mr. McHale, Mr. Vandermaas and Mr. Merlyn Kinrade. Mr. McLeod also had discussions with Mayor Trainer. On June 25/07 Mayor Trainer complained to Mr. McLeod in frustration at the Commissioner’s latest attempt to influence her saying, “This man does not stop.”

The exchange between Commissioner Fantino and Mayor Trainer occurred via several emails between June 13/07 and June 25/07, and began with Mr. Fantino querying the mayor about a Canadian Press story entitled, ‘Occupation has led to loss of faith in OPP, mayor says’ which he quotes in his initial email:

“Haldimand County’s mayor says residents have lost faith in the OPP over an ongoing aboriginal occupation, and council will discuss not renewing their contract. Mayor Marie Trainer says residents are angry with perceived police inaction regarding a 15-month occupation by Six Nations protesters of a former housing development in Caledonia. The council committee, which meets next Monday night, will discuss options other than renewing the contract, which is worth about $7 million a year and ends in September 2008.”

FANTINO, June 13/07: Madam Mayor: Here we go again. Did you say the comments attributed to you? Did you actually say these things about the OPP?

TRAINER, June 25/07: Although these are only an interpretation of my words they are remarks I am receiving from the residents across Haldimand County and not necessarily how I feel.

FANTINO: June 25/07: Mayor Trainer: Thank you for the response. Well then are you speaking on behalf of ALL “the citizens of Haldimand County?” Also, I thought we had agreed to tone down the inflammatory rhetoric?

TRAINER TO MCLEOD, June 26/07: This man does not stop.

All complaints against Mr. Fantino suddenly dismissed before consultant’s report finished

Three days after complaining to Mr. McLeod about the Commissioner’s latest attempt to influence her the Minister suddenly announced, on June 28/07, that he had dismissed all complaints against the Commissioner, including those by Mr. McHale and Mr. Vandermaas. Mayor Trainer was shocked by this since she had spoken to Mr. McLeod twice that day who told her he hadn’t finished his report. The Mayor received a call from CP reporter Chinta Puxley around 3:00 PM shortly after speaking with McLeod during which Puxley asked how she felt about the complaints being dismissed. Puxley’s first story was published at 5:20 p.m. the same day.

Police Services Act complaint, May 30/08: Vandermaas et al v. Fantino [PDF, 71p]

See also…

VoC Comment

Thank you to the NDP for speaking out on this issue in 2007 and again in 2010.  It is very much appreciated. The issue of the fundamental principles of justice, human rights, respect for the courts and the protection of our Charter rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association is one that crosses political lines. For the life of me I can’t understand why members of the Liberal Party are content to sit in silent acquiesence while our province is stained with the racial policing abuses of McGuinty and the OPP. We can only hope they will receive their just rewards in the next election.

VoC working for the NDP?

I’ve never mentioned this before, but I grew up in a staunchly NDP household. My father worked at Stelco and served as a union steward. As a family we were very active in the party and elections. I met Lincoln Alexander and his family when he was a candidate, and I served as an NDP scrutineer when I was around 16 years old. During that provincial election I had the honour of meeting Stephen Lewis when he came to visit campaign headquarters in Grimsby. I’m embarassed to tell this, but I had no idea who he was at that moment when he stuck out his hand so I tried to hand him my coat. He and we had a good laugh over that one.

As I grew older my politics strayed more to the right, but I have never forgotten that the NDP has been very good for Canada, and its voice is an important one.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality


One response to “Ontario NDP leader calls for Fantino to step aside

  1. Oh Good grief, even the Dippers are poking their snouts in this scandal! Can Dalton’s political demise be far off?

    VoC REPLY: How ’bout that, huh? You obviously grasp the significance of that development, too. Thanks for writing, Jim. Regards, Mark