Fantino talks tough on native protest

By JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU
Ottawa
Sun
April 1
3, 2007

OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino is threatening to pull out of Caledonia if the county council continues to fan the flames of confrontation with Natives who have occupied a residential development site for the past year.

In a blistering April 7 e-mail sent to the mayor and council and copied to senior provincial officials, Fantino accused county politicians of working against OPP efforts to keep the peace.

Fantino's anger was directed at one councillor in particular, Coun. Craig Grice, over an e-mail he sent to Gary McHale, a controversial Richmond Hill resident who has staged protests in Caledonia against the OPP and Six Nations presence on Douglas Creek Estates.

'LIGHTNING ROD'

"We have Councillor Grice commending someone that he knows is a lightning rod for confrontation and potential violence," writes Fantino.

Fantino then writes that he will recommend pulling police out of the county in 2008 when their contract comes up for renewal and will hold the county and McHale responsible for any injuries suffered by an officer.

McHale has planned a march to the Six Nations site for April 22.

Grice said he does not support the April 22 march and does not endorse McHale's actions.

But he does agree with McHale that the OPP has created a "two-tiered" justice system in Caledonia.

"Caledonia citizens are frustrated with the OPP," he said.