Now things get interesting. Fantino is used to being the boss. Not one thing I’ve read about him in my research describes him as a team player. Prime Minister Stephen Harper regards himself very much as ‘The Boss’ so personality clashes are possible.
Another issue is that as more information comes out on the G8-G20 security disaster, Fantino’s reputation may take a nosedive. It’s really too bad that Prime Minister Harper hasn’t implemented one of his party’s original platform planks, the ability to recall a politician that you believe no longer serves your riding.
Back to Fantino’s work history.
Julian Fantino – Commissioner of Emergency Management
Fantino was the Commissioner of Emergency Management for the years 2005-2006. There is very little public information from this time. We were fortunate that there weren’t any major emergencies during the time (this is not meant as a criticism of the job Fantino did – he may have done a fine job – but it’s like Fire Stations or Ambulances, you love to see them, they add to your feeling of safety, but you cringe whenever you hear the sirens because you know that some poor people are in trouble).
Julian Fantino – Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police
Fantino was the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police from 2006-2010. Originally his tenure was supposed to expire in 2008, but he was given two extensions, first to October 2009 and finally to July 2010, supposedly so he could oversee the G8-G20 Twin Summits.
There were a lot of people unhappy with Fantino as OPP Commissioner. First Nations groups were opposed to his appointment.
Gay rights groups also were skeptical of his appointment, and the controversial child pornography busts in February 2008 and February 2009 have done nothing to assuage their concerns. These new busts appeared to be a repeat of the London child pornography busts, which were seen as a thinly disguised attack on the gay community. Curiously the Lesbian community doesn’t seem to come under attack in the same way.
Fantino blocked the highly popular Cam Woolley, a long time favorite with commuters, from being the public face of the Ontario Provincial Police. Many Cam Woolley fans, including myself, thought that Fantino’s action was motivated by jealousy. Woolley was courted by the Provincial arm of the Conservative party to run in the 2007 election. It was strongly suspected at the time that Fantino had political ambitions, and that his action in blocking Woolley was an attempt to keep his own face in the spotlight.
Indeed it was during his time with the OPP that Fantino’s love of publicity became most noticeable. Both of the child pornography busts featured Fantino making virtually identical press announcements. Announcements which were similar to the announcement he made when he was leading the London Police, and an almost identical bust was made.
Also during this time Fantino came under criticism for remarks made in a phone call to aboriginal protester Shawn Brant. Many people who heard the tape of the phone call, took Fantino’s remarks to be threats. The only reason that there is any record of Fantino’s remarks, is that Shawn Brant’s phone was being wiretapped at the time.
And of course the final action by Fantino as OPP commissioner was to run security for the Twin G8-G20 Summits. While there is nothing to directly tie Fantino to the violence that occurred, there are strong suspicions in certain quarters that he was involved.
So Now Fantino’s A Politician
And the question is how long will he last. Despite several advantages he almost didn’t manage to win the by-election. Since the win, he’s mostly, miraculously, kept his mouth shut.
The odds are that come the next election, Fantino won’t win. All he has to do is be himself in public, and his opponent should do well.
Oh, and this also assumes that there isn’t an open inquiry into the G8-G20 security situation. Those of us who’ve followed his career closely, are pretty sure that he had to be involved in the mess that happened.
Thursday February 10, 2011