Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino was today served a summons to appear in Cayuga court Feb. 3 on a charge of influencing or attempting to influence elected officials.
The private charge brought by activist Gary McHale, founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality, arises from an e-mail Fantino sent in April 2007 to Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer and other councillors. The letter stated members of council were not to support public rallies in Caledonia led by McHale, or make statements in support of the activist to residents of the town.
In the e-mail, which was wide circulated and reported on by the news media at the time, Fantino said he would recommend the OPP contract with the county “not be renewed” if members of council expressed support for McHale.
Fantino’s letter was sent during a tense time for both the people of Caledonia and members of the Haudenosaune Six Nations who, frustrated by inaction on historic land claims, had occupied a former residential construction site known as the Douglas Creek Estates.
McHale led a number of rallies in the town to protest what he viewed as a double standard of policing when it came to the lenience shown native protesters and the stricter enforcement of law for counter protests by the people of the town.
In a press release, Fantino once again stressed that he intends to defend himself vigorously on the charge. “Since this matter is before the courts and I respect the court’s jurisdiction, I will not be making any further comment until this matter is resolved,” the commissioner said.