Complaint filed against OPP chief Fantino over Caledonia e-mail

Canadian Press - CBC News
April 17, 2007

A man in the southern Ontario town of Caledonia is lodging a formal complaint with the province over an e-mail from the head of the provincial police force regarding a 14-month-long aboriginal occupation of nearby land.

Merlyn Kinrade said he is asking the province to investigate the e-mail from Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino because he doesn't want his local councillor to be intimidated by the commissioner.

Fantino sent an e-mail to the members of Haldimand County council earlier in April that suggested local politicians were encouraging divisive rallies against the occupation.

There have been a number of violent clashes between town residents and protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve since the latter occupied a former housing development site in February 2006 over a land-claims dispute.

According to some council members who went public with the e-mail, Fantino suggested he would not support the renewal of the OPP's contract to police the town if any of his officers were hurt as a result of the rallies.

However, Fantino issued a statement on Sunday refuting what he called "erroneous reports" that he had threatened to stop policing the town. He said the provincial police force was committed to upholding the law in Caledonia.

A man in the southern Ontario town of Caledonia is lodging a formal complaint with the province over an e-mail from the head of the provincial police force regarding a 14-month-long aboriginal occupation of nearby land.

Merlyn Kinrade said he is asking the province to investigate the e-mail from Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino because he doesn't want his local councillor to be intimidated by the commissioner.

Fantino sent an e-mail to the members of Haldimand County council earlier in April that suggested local politicians were encouraging divisive rallies against the occupation.

There have been a number of violent clashes between town residents and protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve since the latter occupied a former housing development site in February 2006 over a land-claims dispute.

According to some council members who went public with the e-mail, Fantino suggested he would not support the renewal of the OPP's contract to police the town if any of his officers were hurt as a result of the rallies.

However, Fantino issued a statement on Sunday refuting what he called "erroneous reports" that he had threatened to stop policing the town. He said the provincial police force was committed to upholding the law in Caledonia.

Kinrade said he thought the e-mail was totally inappropriate and wants Premier Dalton McGuinty to ask for Fantino's resignation.

McGuinty has said Fantino can speak for himself. The premier has also defended the force, saying he thinks the OPP have been doing an excellent job of policing the tense situation.

Six Nations protesters argue that the land was taken from them by the Crown over 200 years ago. Six Nations negotiators are currently at the table with provincial and federal representatives, trying to work through the land claims that led to the occupation.