Fantino's anger off the mark

Wednesday, April 14, 2007

The head of the Ontario Provincial Police stepped over the line this week in threatening to pull the OPP out of Caledonia. Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer says Commissioner Julian fantino sent her an e-mail expressing his outrage over the ongoing rallies against the native occupation of disputed land in the town. fantino implied the town is encouraging the rallies.

And he sees the protests as potentially destabilizing with the very real possibility of putting his officers in a more dangerous situation on the protest site.

He's right in that fact, but very wrong in taking the political move of threatening to not support the renewal of the policing contract between the town and the OPP.

fantino is not a fan of the town council doing little, if anything, in his eyes to dissuade organized protests of the occupation. He should wake up. There is a group of politicians facing the reality that many of their constituents - the people who pay their salaries - are extremely angry over the ongoing dispute.

Overtly opposing these protests could very well curtail a councillor's re-election hopes in the future. It may not be right, but it's a political fact.

It is a person's right to express their opinions, whether fantino agrees with it or not.

In reality, the protesters should be in Toronto or Ottawa shouting their outrage. Senior levels of government, especially in Ottawa, continue to drag their feet on native land claims. The process is agonizingly slow.

All the delays do is fuel anger on all sides. It is apparent that anger has spilled over to fantino.