The mess that is the Caledonia land dispute may have claimed another victim. This one, however, is the master of his own misfortune. A court has ruled that Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Julian Fantino, must face an accusation that he tried to influence public officials by threatening them. A conviction for influencing or attempting to influence a public official can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Apparently, Judge David Crane has ordered a justice of the peace to issue a charge against Commissioner Fantino, after Fantino sent an allegedly threatening email to Haldimand County’s mayor and councillors regarding them supporting protests against aboriginal land occupation in Caledonia, Ontario.
According to the National Post:
“In the email, Commissioner Fantino warned the politicians not to support anti-occupation protests. The Commissioner wrote that he would hold the county directly accountable for any injuries suffered by OPP officers during protests by a contentious group known as ‘Caledonia Wake Up Call.’
“He also warned that he would advise the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services not to renew the OPP’s contract with Haldimand County for policing once it expired if councillors supported the protest group, led by activist Gary McHale.”
Rash words indeed conveying a very clear message to the politicians: do as I suggest or suffer the consequences. Only a week or so ago the Ontario government had to settle a court case in favour of Caledonia residents who claimed the OPP was not adequately protecting them. Now here we have an apparent attempt on the part of the head of the OPP to threaten the municipality’s political leaders.
What the heck is going on? Has the Dalton McGuinty government and its institutions lost their collective senses? How can this sort of behaviour be tolerated?
OPP members are supposed to protect residents of the province, not try to tell our politicians who or what they should support. Under what mandate does Fantino act that he thinks he has the authority to write that he will “advise the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services not to renew the OPP’s contract with Haldimand County for policing” if the municipality’s elected mayor and councillors do not do as he advises.
What gall. And to think these people are allowed to carry guns.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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