Quite some debate underway over former OPP boss Julian Fantino’s candidacy in Vaughan. Several Tory bloggers seem to be lining up on both sides of the debate, and I’m one of them who believes Mr. Fantino was, at least in part, responsible for the uneven enforcement of the criminal code as it related to actions at Caledonia during the current native occupation.
Some Tory bloggers apparently believe Mr. Fantino should be given a pass since he was only following the orders of Premier Dalton McGuinty—at least that’s what I take away from the debate. But that’s too simplistic a conclusion.
While there’s no doubt that, as premier, Dalton McGuinty must accept full responsibility for the shame that is the native occupation in Caledonia, Julian Fantino must also shoulder his own portion of criticism for being a major player in that shameful series of events, during which native and non-native Canadians were not treated equally under the law.
It seems to me that to prevent violence, or even the threat of it, OPP officers allowed natives to break the law while denying residents and outside Canadians the right to protest the lawlessness (ie., the sort of things outlined in Christie Blatchford’s recent book: Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy and How the Law Failed All of Us).
The debate over Mr. Fantino’s candidacy at Vaughan should not be a matter of deciding who is to blame for Caledonia, but rather whether Mr. Fantino’s part in that sorry affair tells us anything about the sort of MP and cabinet minister he’s likely to make. I believe it does, and it does not do him any credit at all.
The above notwithstanding, the voters of Vaughan have an even more important assessment to make: they have to decide whether his faults make him a lesser candidate than his opponents. My sense is that, despite his obvious shortcomings, Mr. Fantino is still the best candidate and should get the nod on Monday.
I do, however, shudder at the thought of Mr. Fantino being a future Public Safety minister.