Haldimand delays making decision on renewing OPP contract

By Marissa Nelson
April 17, 2007
Hamilton Spectator

Haldimand County has delayed making a decision about a review of the OPP contract until May 28.

But councillors will be meeting behind closed doors Wednesday about a "policing matter," Mayor Marie Trainer said. She wouldn't elaborate because it's an in-camera meeting. While the meeting is about police, she said it isn't directly to do with the OPP contract.

Trainer said the vote to put off a decision was only won by one vote. She voted in favour of talking about it at Monday's council meeting in part because there were members of the public waiting to hear the debate.

While the council were scheduled to talk about the OPP contract this week anyway, interest was piqued after OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino sent Trainer an e-mail pointing to apparent support given to Gary McHale, an OPP critic who has been called an outside agitator. Fantino threatened to pull his force from the county when the contract expires in September 2008 if any more of his officers were hurt because of rallies organized by McHale.

That led to speculation in Caledonia that the OPP were already scaling back patrols -- something vehemently denied by the force's brass.

Friday is the one-year anniversary of the botched OPP raid of the former subdivision -- a move that prompted the Six Nations people to erect barricades across Argyle Street.