Julian Fantino – The Worst Political Candidate The Conservatives Could Have Found – Part Two

Julian Fantino won the by-election in the riding of Vaughn by 997 votes, or a 2.5% advantage. The winner was not declared until after midnight, the sign of an exceptionally close race.

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.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Thursday February 10, 2011

It's Just A Bunch Of Fags – A Straight Man's Look Back At The Bath House Raids

The 'RAGE' label from Xtra
The 'RAGE' label from Xtra

It’s thirty years since the bath house raids hit the gay community in Toronto. I didn’t realize it had been so long. Of course I wasn’t involved. That a bunch of fags got arrested meant nothing to me at the time. For that matter it meant nothing to most straight men and women.

Continue reading “It's Just A Bunch Of Fags – A Straight Man's Look Back At The Bath House Raids”

Mandatory Name Tags Remain For Toronto Coppers

Toronto Police Officers - Photo courtesy Joshua Sherurcij
Toronto Police Officers - Photo courtesy Joshua Sherurcij

Apparently the Toronto Police Association had appealed the rule forcing police officers to wear name tags while working, and now has lost the appeal. The Toronto Police Association is the union that represents police officers working for the Toronto Police Services. Continue reading “Mandatory Name Tags Remain For Toronto Coppers”

Police State Watch Canada

I’d started putting this idea together months ago, but between not feeling all that well, things got delayed, so today, Monday January 24th, 2011, is the official opening date of Police State Watch.

The idea came to me after watching some of the G8/G20 coverage in the fall, when it became more clear that certain elements in the police. It was obvious that there was no central place to document what was happening, or compare details.

Let’s consider the case of Alex Hundert, which I first heard of yesterday. I’d heard of Byron Sonne, who is also being held, but I hadn’t heard of Alex, who by the descriptions may have been railroaded.

Who else is still in jail? Who else is being penalized for what the Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has declared the greatest mass violation of rights during peacetime.

So I’ve opened the Police State Watch Wiki as a place to document things that have happened, and are happening.

Feel free to drop in an contribute. I’m only one man, and not in that good of shape anymore, so the Wiki can use all the help it can get.

Wayne Borean

Monday January 24, 2011

Undercover Agitators Everywhere – G8/G20 Too?

Is this a Cop stomping the Police car?
Is this a Cop stomping the Police car?

There’s been rumors going the rounds that the ‘Block Bloc’ protestors who trashed parts of downtown Toronto were actually police officers. For example, why, exactly was a police cruiser left unattended where protestors could destroy it? Continue reading “Undercover Agitators Everywhere – G8/G20 Too?”

Julian Fantino – The Worst Political Candidate The Conservatives Could Have Found – Part One

A week ago I had no idea I would be writing about Julian Fantino today. The man is fairly well known, over the years he has held positions as head of the Toronto Police Service, and head of the Ontario Provincial Police. If you haven’t heard his name, you’ve probably spent most of the last quarter century asleep, or playing World of Warcraft.

But while doing research on an article intended to ask Rob Ford if he really did mean to respect the taxpayers (in my mind allowing your police force to beat and intimidate the citizens of your city and visitors to your city isn’t respecting the taxpayers) I kept on running into Fantino. Time after time a source I was using mentioned his name. Time after time a source had information about him, and his actions that I hadn’t seen before.

Continue reading “Julian Fantino – The Worst Political Candidate The Conservatives Could Have Found – Part One”

Rob Ford – Show Your Respect For Taxpayers By Firing These Police Officers

Rob Ford ran a campaign for Mayor of Toronto based on the concept of respect for taxpayers. Now he’s mayor-elect, taking office in December. Is Rob Ford really going to show respect for taxpayers, or was it all a sham just to get elected?

Now admittedly Rob Ford’s campaign was about financial respect. He has for years complained about city hall wasting taxpayer money. But what use is ‘financial respect’, if he shows no respect for the people themselves?

Continue reading “Rob Ford – Show Your Respect For Taxpayers By Firing These Police Officers”

Do You Know Who You Work For Officer Bubbles And All Those Other Officers Who Took Off Their ID Badges

Adam Joseph is an idiot. Yes, I can prove this. Just watch the video.

Pardon me, but no employee talks to their employer like that. Yes, Office Bubbles, you work for the public.

So do an unknown number of other officers, who against regulations, removed their identification during the G20 protests. There is only one reason to remove your identification – so you won’t be recognized. And the only reason that you wouldn’t want to be recognized, is if you KNEW BEFOREHAND YOU WERE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN A CRIMINAL ACT.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair knows this. So why is the punishment going to be loss of a single day’s salary? Because Toronto Police have forgotten who they work for. Toronto Police no longer believe in their slogan, ‘To Serve and Protect’. They no longer believe that they work for the public. No, they think they run the show, and that the public is supposed to be meek little lambs and do what they say.

Not every police officer in Toronto thinks this way, however the recent G20 arrests make it clear that a large number of officers, probably including their Chief, do think this. Hell, they’ve proved it by their actions, as documented by P2Pnet, Free Byron, Murray Dobbin, and for that matter testimony given before the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee.

The cops know that they are in trouble. The two lawsuits filed against them have let them know.

The problem is that it seems unlikely that the police will do anything about this. Officer Bubbles hasn’t been tossed in jail for issuing threats, and if the police continue on their current path, he won’t be. And the SIU seems toothless.

Something needs to be done. One suggestion that I’ve come up with, is a system for citizens to be able to directly fire officers who do not carry out their duties properly.

What I think is that Courtney, Officer Bubbles target, should be able to file Termination Papers for Officer Bubbles. Any Termination Papers, filed by any citizen, would then be addressed by a citizen committee. The citizen committee would be composed only of people who have never served as a ‘Peace Officer’ at any time in their lives. The committee would publicly evaluate the complaint, and issue a public recommendation as to the action to be taken, which the police chief would be obligated to follow. Any office who disagreed with the committee’s actions would be free to ask a court to overturn the recommendation, but would not be a member of the force while the court challenge was in process.

After all, the police are our employees, and employees have to be answerable to their employers.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Wednesday November 10, 2010

Stephen Harper And Michael Ignatief – The Men With The Most To Lose In The Next Election

Being the Prime Minister of Canada is a thankless task. Being Prime Minister of Canada with a minority government is worse. There are huge pressures on Stephen Harper. Many of these pressures come from his apparent inability to win a majority government. His problem is that his chance of ever winning a majority government is virtually non-existent.

Canadian politics are different. Unlike the United States, which effectively is a one party state, Canada has a far wider range of political options. And these options are shaped by Canadians themselves. Canadians on average are better educated than Americans. Canadians on average are better informed than Americans. Canadians on average are different than Americans. Way different. I can remember walking through the streets of Washington D.C. at 2:00 AM feeling perfectly safe, while the Americans who I was with were terrified to leave their hotels after dark.

Canadians are different. Way different. No other nation on the planet is like us. Talk to any immigrant, from any country. They tend to sound shell shocked for the first few years that they live in Canada. Because Canada is different.

Stephen Harper knows this. And that’s his problem. Americans are followers. If he was an American politician he’d do fine. The population would imprint on him, and would quack quack quack behind him, following wherever he led.

Canadians are like cats. Canadians do what they want, when they want, and to hell with what the politicians think they should do. While many Americans seem to think that their President was sent to them by god, Canadians consider the Prime Minister to be one of those unfortunate nuisances you have to live with, like the aunt who insists on giving a young woman a Barbie doll as an eighteenth birthday present, causing much embarrassment.

Stephen Harper’s problem is that he has been unable to communicate to Canadians why they should back the Conservative party. He’s adopted an ideology which he thinks is best for Canada, but it’s an ideology that many of Canadians don’t agree with. The only reason that he’s had any success at all, is that the other party leaders are just as disconnected as he is from the Canadian public.

With the option of voting for Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dumb, and Tweedle Dumber, Canadians are often opting to vote for the Seperatists (at least they seem honest about what they want) or the Greens. The Greens gained a million votes in the last election. This has the traditional parties scared witless, because the Greens, like the Bloc Quebecois also seem honest about what they want. And honesty is something that Canadian politicians are nervous about. The idea that the electorate would actually expect them to keep their pre-election promises seems to be some sort of evil perversion to them. If they could, they’d love to tie it to a real perversion, like pedophilia, but they know that Canadians would see through the attempt.

Michael Ignatief, Liberal, and Stephen Harper, Conservative
The two men with the most to lose in the next election. Images courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons.

Even worse from the point of both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatief, is that they know that a large number of the members of both their parties would love fit them with concrete boots and toss them overboard, and fully intend to do so if they don’t manage to win a majority of seats in the House of Commons. But Canadians have had an experience with minority government, and most Canadians have decided that they like it. Minority Government means that the two big parties can’t get away with the sort of ideological law making that they’ve done in the past. The two big parties hate this. They dream of the days of Trudeau and Mulroney when they could literally get away with murder. But Canadians don’t want that. They dream of a government that they, not the politicians control.

There will have to be an election soon. Within the next year. Stephen Harper will wait until he thinks he has some sort of chance, call it, and hit the attack ads hard. Michael Ignatief will hit back just as hard. And while the two of them are fighting, the smaller parties, including the new and untested Pirate Party will make their move.

I don’t know how this is all going to play out. No one does. What we do know is that the Canadian electorate is undergoing a huge sociological shift. Fifty years ago when I was a child, Canadian society was very conservative in outlook. Improved communications, through an improved telephone system, widespread adoption of Television, cheaper transportation, cable TV, then the most disruptive technology of all, the Internet, have changed the country. Things that no one knew about, now everyone knows about. The murder of a Polish immigrant at the Vancouver airport by police would have been a non-issue fifty years ago. Now it’s a major issue, and the reputation of the Horseman (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), and all other police forces have suffered badly because of it. Note that while I’m calling this a murder, it may end up being ruled justifiable homicide, or self defense. Having seen the video made by a member of the public who was present, in my opinion it was murder. I’m aware that there are people (mostly wearing uniform) who disagree with me, and might be stupid enough to attempt to sue. Which is why I’ve been talking to a lawyer.

Canadians are now better informed about what is happening across the country, and for that matter across the world. Small groups who would have had no means of meeting, now can meet virtually using technology that is inexpensive, and reliable. Improved communications have helped the Greens become a force, and they will help the Pirates become a force too. A generation which has never known a time when they couldn’t communicate, is communicating, and much to everyone’s surprise, their parents are communicating too. Communication is changing the face of Canadian society, and no one can stop it. Unless they manage to make using the internet illegal. Which makes one wonder exactly why everyone seems to anxious to pass laws like Bill C-32.

There’s an old Chinese curse – May you live in interesting times. I suspect that Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatief feel that it was written for them.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Sunday September 26, 2010

Law And Order In Canada – Robert Pickton, The Vancouver PD, And The RCMP

Oh, dear, where to begin. First off, a friend of mine knows Robert Pickton’s brother, so there’s three degrees of separation between me, and the worst serial killer in Canadian History. Kind of scary, isn’t it?

Robert ‘Willie’ Pickton is a bad odor, that just won’t go away. Even now, when he is behind bars in a Federal Penitentiary, he still makes the news. This time in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s own online magazine RCMP Gazette published an article (PDF Warning) – an article that had people so upset that it was pulled from the online edition almost immediately, though the title of the article remains on the front page. Luckily the RCMP aren’t as efficient as Google, a quick search turned up several websites which had mirrored the article, and of course they are mirrored in Google’s cache as well.

The reason for the upset? The article is written as if the case was a success for Canadian policing – when it took the cops FOURTEEN YEARS just to notice that something was going on, and many years further to arrest Robert Picton, even though he had been pointed out to them years before by an ex-employee as a suspect. And he had been charged in 1997 with attempted murder of a sex trade worker, but for some reason the charges were dropped! Why, we don’t know, even now, nor why the cops appear to have ignored him.

Most Canadians I’ve talked to consider the Picton case to be an indictment on Canadian policing. While the various police forces involved have come up with many excuses, the biggest parts of the problem appear to be:

1) Institutional Racism on the part of the police (many of the victims were natives)

2) Contempt for lower class members of society (all of the victims were prostitutes and/or drug addicts)

Indeed calls for an open inquiry are still being made. Some work has already been done, but at least one report which was supposed to have been done by the RCMP has not been made publicly available. Many people close to the case (including some of the families of the victims), Native Rights Groups and others groups interested in social justice believe that a whitewash is in the works. And I have to admit that the longer it takes for an inquiry to happen, the more that it looks like they are right.

Something smells, and it’s not Picton’s Pig Farm.

My thanks to Wayne Leng of Missing People.Net for his work in archiving information on the Picton case.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Saturday August 28, 2010

Further Reading:

Tru TV Crime Library Article about Robert ‘Willie’ Picton

On The Farm: Robert William Pickton And The Tragic Story Of Vancouver’s Missing Women by Stevie Cameron (Indigo Books)

Missing and Murdered Women Blog – copy of ‘Snaring Picton‘ originally published in RCMP Gazette

Picton Tape Given to Police in 1998 – from Missing People.NET

Meet the man who alerted police about Robert Pickton more than three years before serial killer’s arrest – Times Colonist

VPD learned nothing from Pickton: Let’s have inquiry – The Province

Missing People.NET – Wayne Leng’s site about Picton – Twitter @Renegade98