Is Fantino dangerous to democracy and our fundamental values?

By Gary McHale

Recently Commissioner Fantino publicly endorsed his idea of new highway traffic laws to make it illegal for Insurance Companies to cover drivers in bad weather who refuse to drive in a manner that Mr. Fantino deemed appropriate. Fantino was upset that the media had a problem with a Commissioner would be playing a role in establishing laws instead of what his role truly is which is law enforcement. Fantino's response to his critics was the following public statement:

"It may shock your apparently misplaced sense of values to also be told that when I picked up my badge to become a police officer, I did not at the same time surrender, as you obviously have not, my rights as a Canadian citizen to speak publicly about issues that I happen to care deeply about. You don't have exclusive rights of free speech and trust me when I tell you that you will not be the one to deny me and my colleagues of ours!"

This is truly amazing that Fantino could possible say this with a straight face as he has been the one who has repeatedly attempted to deny others their Right to Free Speech.  This man truly is a Hypocrite.

Let's not forget how Fantino threatened Haldimand Council to be silent or that he personally tried to get Hamilton Police officer Dave Hartless, a resident of Caledonia, disciplined for speaking out against the injustice in Caledonia. We should not forget that since Fantino became Commissioner three people have been arrested for merely trying to raise a Canadian Flag on a hydro pole, which the Supreme Count has already ruled is a Right covered under the Freedom of Expression in the Charter. We should not forget that it is Commissioner Fantino who publicly goes on TV and radio and does newspaper interviews to attack Gary McHale for expressing his views on Race Based Policing in Caledonia.

Fantino's latest victim is once again Dave Hartless. Mr. Hartless, as over a thousand other people have done, signed the current on-line petition with the following statement, "I am a serving veteran police officer that resides in Caledonia and I have witnessed first hand the two tiered and biased policing practices of the Ontario Provincial Police. I have further witnessed the dereliction of duty by the OPP under direction of the current command and the suspension of the rule of law as it relates to the policing (or rather non-policing) of this community. I swore the same oath as the officers that have been tasked to this community and I am subject to the same rules and requirements of the profession as is any other peace officer in this Country. However it is quite apparent through both first hand knowledge, documentary and videography evidence that the practices and abject departure from the duties and responsibilities to the community is a "set in stone" policy that the sworn members of the Ontario Provincial Police are now required to adhere to. Internal policy, especially deeply flawed and biased policy do not supercede the laws and Constitution of this country."

We have now heard that the Commissioner has once again contacted Hamilton police to get Mr. Hartless disciplined. Maybe Fantino could read his own press release and answer why he thinks that when Mr. Hartless  'picks up his badge to become a police officer' that he 'surrendered' his 'rights as a Canadian citizen to speak publicly about an issue' that he 'cares deeply about'?

The Commissioner appears to have too much spare time because he had time to search the internet to see who believes they have the right to Free Speech in Ontario. We cannot forget that it was Commissioner Fantino who read Councillor Grice's statement that was posted on the internet then decided to threaten Haldimand Council by sending an email which included the following statement:

"I have no intentions of entering into a debate with Councillor Grice about Charter rights and freedoms of speech and the like which he apparently framed in the April 5 e-mail to McHale."

Fantino's view was clearly stated in his threatening email to Haldimand Council. If Mr. Grice was to publicly speak out in any positive way regarding Gary McHale then Mr. Grice, Haldimand Council, as well as all the people of Haldimand County will be punished.

Maybe Fantino could explain to the public exactly when did Craig Grice lose his right to Free Speech? Maybe it would be beneficial for the Commissioner to explain exactly how the residents of Caledonia lost their right to Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression and the Freedom not to be discriminated against due to their Race? Maybe Fantino can tell me exactly when I, as a Canadian citizen, lost the Right to hold my Government accountable including the OPP? Was it the day I realized my skin was White or the day Fantino became the Commissioner of the OPP?

Why is it acceptable for Native Protesters to raise flags, walk down the center of the road with a police escort, rally supporters from across North America and openly criticize the Government and police but non-Natives CANNOT?

Exactly when did Canada become this country where police and Governments enforce laws and systemically and publicly slander citizens based solely upon the colour of their skin or their Race?

It would be one thing if Fantino was just a Hypocrite but quite another when he is the head of a 7500 member police force. Fantino's own public statements demonstrate he spent $500,000 to ensure Canadian citizens could not raise a Canadian Flag in Caledonia. Fantino had no problem bringing in the London Riot Squad on Jan. 20, 2007 to ensure no Canadian Flag was placed on a hydro pole but he had no resources to protect Sam Gaultieri before he was almost beaten to death.

The Commissioner can directly order his officers to ensure they arrest Gary McHale on the alleged offence of merely suggesting someone block a road, while seemingly being unable to arrest Native Protesters who repeatedly block roads, and damage the roads, for days at a time.

In Fantino's world Free Speech means he has the right to support a key Native leader who has assaulted numerous OPP officers and been directly involved in repeated criminal acts of mischief. Meanwhile, Mr. Fantino testified in court that the OPP have never videotaped nor witnessed Mr. McHale committing a single crime but he has no problem publicly attacking Mr. McHale.

Fantino claims that as a Canadian Citizen he has the right to Free Speech. Too bad he doesn't believe other Canadians have the same right. The list of those Fantino has attempted to silence is growing and includes Mayor Trainer, Councillor Grice, Dave Hartless, Gary McHale, Doug Fleming, Bo Chausse, Merlyn Kinrade, MPP Toby Barrett and you.

If you are reading this and live in Haldimand then you too have been added to Fantino's list of those who have NO right to speak out.

Is Fantino a Hypocrite? – Yes. Is he dangerous to democracy and to our fundamental values as Canadians? – well you need to think about it and if the answer is yes then what are you going to do to help ensure your community continues to have Free Speech?