Caledonia residents launch petition for Fantino's resignation
Posted By KAREN BEST,
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Ken Hewitt and another Caledonia resident want an inquiry into Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Julian Fantino's handling of issues in Haldimand County.
On Dec. 22, they launched a petition which will be distributed across Haldimand County including Dunnville. It demands an inquiry into Fantino's actions and into overall policing based on the "tainted" report from Ipperwash, said Hewitt, who was a key Caledonia Citizens Alliance spokesperson in 2006.
The petition also demands that Fantino be suspended until the inquiry is concluded and be removed from his job if cause if found.
The petition will be circulated across Ontario and will soon be available on the Internet. The petition sprung out of frustration and anger over a recent letter Fantino wrote in support of Clyde Powless of Six Nations, Hewitt indicated.
OPP officers charged him with assault and mischief related to events at the Dec. 1, 2007 smoke shop protest on Argyle Street South in Caledonia."He defies the charges made by his own officers by submitting a letter of support (for Powless)," said Hewitt. "I question why the commissioner of the OPP would submit a letter on a misdemeanour."In the letter filed for a Dec. 5 court hearing on Powless's charges, Fantino wrote that Powless was "instrumental in diffusing serious conflict and confrontation" and has acted as a peacemaker.
In Fantino's letter, which was released last week by Gary McHale, the commissioner said he was making no excuses for Powless's behaviour. Fantino also said the volatile situation and provocation could simply be avoided if McHale and his followers were not in attendance. Three of five paragraphs in the letter mention McHale.
You can read the rest of the article here, Article ID# 136158
Open Letter to the Commissioner Julian Fantino,
(written by Ken Hewitt of Caledonia)
Mr. Fantino, unlike you, I have been involved with the ongoing land claim in Caledonia from the time the OPP botched up the removal of protestors from privately owned land known as DCE. I saw with my own two eyes, protestors pushing back the OPP and breaking many laws as we know them.
I saw the actions of men such as Clyde Powless exhibit very little concern for the people of Caledonia and much less concern for the misguided OPP officers on the street. Who were mostly un-prepared for the situations that they were put into.
I witnessed many occasions when the OPP, confused by the lack of leadership by both yourself and your predecessor Gwen Boniface, both of you allowing the Ipperwash Inquiry to influence your decision making, knowingly violated or ignored your own training and standard operating procedures.
I was thoroughly offended when you came to meet with business leaders through the local Rotary, to listen to you lay blame on the citizens of Caledonia for injuries sustained by your police force in several confrontations.
To hear you justify the lack of arrests made with respect to the many crimes committed by protestors around Caledonia. To hear you continue to use the phrase that you’re only the "meat between the sandwich" yet laws continue to be broken under your watch.
These are laws that have nothing to do with land claims but your fear and your mismanagement has created a fear amongst your officers in knowing when to apply the law and when not to.
On several occasions, to hear you comment on the ongoing costs of policing in Caledonia, and that it is not related to your inability as Commissioner to contain the criminal elements that still continue to exist, but to lay blame on those that choose to challenge you and the government of Ontario, how you have let the community of Caledonia down in what I would call an abysmal failure of leadership.
Most of all, however it is this most recent letter of support that you submitted in defense of Clyde Powless, that has finally brought me to this point in writing you, along with petitioning for your resignation as Commissioner of what was once known as an exceptional police force the OPP.
You were not there that day that Clyde Powless lead the protestors to block Argyle road for a month, you were not there when on his direction, the same road was dug up, you were not there when Clyde Powless and his associates specifically told me three days prior to the hydro station being destroyed, that should there be any resistance from the people of Caledonia, that the services such hydro or water could be targeted.
Instead, you allow your personal conflict with Gary McHale to cloud your judgement, and as such use your position of power to sway the courts in seeing Mr. Powless as a good man, a man who cares about his neighbors, and a man that would do everything to diffuse tense situations rather than the truth as already mentioned.
In football, they call this play the "Flim-Flam"; you have been played sir, and the confidence in your ability to lead and make the right decision without reservation is diminished.
This lack of confidence exists within and without your own police force; it does not only exist in Caledonia, but reaches beyond its borders.
The reality that Ontario will be heading into deficits for the next several years supports the idea of a public inquiry on your actions and those of the OPP and its decisions in the past three years in Caledonia. Up to now there has been a blank cheque and there is no clarity to the costs up to now let alone to the future.
As a taxpayer who must shoulder the burden of these deficits, have the right to call for accountability and the right to call for your resignation.
The following is the petition on line (written by Ken Hewitt);
To: People of Ontario
Petition for Caledonia Public Inquiry
TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO:
The background for this petition is as follows:
1. Commissioner Julian Fantino has proven through his own court testimony and published documentation that he is no longer unbiased or neutral. Along with native leaders having his personal cell number exclusively; he also uses his position to support them in court against charges by his own police force.
2. Following the flawed results and recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry, the OPP and the command decisions made by the OPP have violated and ignored the rules and guidelines as set out by a number of statutes. These include the Criminal Code and the Ontario Police Services Act. In addition the OPP have violated or ignored their training and standard operating procedures. There is documented and electronic evidence that the OPP did so knowingly.
3. The costs surrounding OPP is grossly underestimated. As taxpayers, we have the right to know the true costs of Caledonia. As the province of Ontario enters into years of deficits, how much more money will be wasted on flawed policing and the inability of leadership to change to tactics.
We petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:
1. To request the Premier of Ontario to immediately launch a public inquiry into the actions and decisions made by the Commissioner of the OPP Julian Fantino and impose his immediate suspension without pay and upon confirmation of the facts, his immediate resignation.
2. To request the Premier Of Ontario to immediately launch a public inquiry into the actions and decisions made by the OPP with respect to Caledonia over the past 3 years.
Here is the link to sign the petition on line;