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Monday, January 10, 2011

Julian Fantino: The Minister for Caledonia

Well, look who showed up in Stephen Harper's cabinet last week:

Former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Julian Fantino, who narrowly won the GTA seat of Vaughan for the Tories just five weeks ago, was handed the junior cabinet post of Minister of State for Seniors.


The seniors portfolio gives Mr. Fantino a high-profile perch from which to address older Canadians, who tend to be among the most active voters in federal politics.

“Canada’s seniors will be in good hands, thanks to the experience he has accumulated and the judgment he has demonstrated over his long and illustrious career of public service,” Mr. Harper said of the former officer of the law.

Well perhaps not all seniors.

Take the case of Kathe and Guenter Golke, a couple in their late sixties who drove past the disputed Douglas Creek Estate, near Caledonia, in June of 2006. Their country pleasure drive provoked the wrath of some of the occupiers, who chased them to the parking lot of a local Canadian Tire Store.

An OPP officer took the couple into his cruiser for protection, and later to a police substation. Guenter Golke, a diabetic, was soon after transferred to a hospital for an irregular heart beat. The couple's car was stolen - likely in the presence of OPP officers - by some of the occupiers and taken for a joy ride. The car was returned to the Golkes two days later, with some three thousand dollars in damage. No one has been charged with the theft.

This is just one of the stories documented in Christie Blatchford's book Helpless. It is one of many incidents during the Caledonia Crisis when Canadian seniors, and Caledonia residents of all ages, were abandoned by the OPP. 

Julian Fantino became OPP Commissioner in October of 2006, months after the Golke's ordeal. This was not, however, an isolated car theft, beneath the attention of an OPP Commissioner. Nor was it a bit of adolescent carousing gone too far. Within the context of the Caledonia Crisis, it was a brazen act of anarchy.

The occupiers of the Douglas Creek Estates were testing the resolve of the OPP and found it wanting. While an attempted flag raising provoked the wrath of Julian Fantino, the attack on Kathe and Guenter Golke seems to have escaped his notice. The assaults on the home of Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell, which did take place during his tenure as Commissioner, attracted little of his time or attention.

This is the man Stephen Harper has chosen to represent Canada's seniors at the cabinet table. When real Canadian seniors were in harm's way, Julian Fantino placed politics above policing. When Caledonia's children were threatened, Julian Fantino did not act. When his duty demanded that he enforce the laws of Canada, he failed to act. This has been documented in news reports stretching back over more than four years. It has been documented in footage shot by local television stations. The events have been carefully shifted by Christie Blatchford in her book Helpless.

Perhaps the greatest scandal of the Caledonia Crisis is not the hypocrisy of our political class (which is to be expected), or the failure of will on the part of the upper branches of the OPP, but the media's dereliction of duty. We are solemnly told, most often by journalists themselves, that they have a duty to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." They declare themselves the conscience of the nation and watchdog of the state. 

The recent appointment of Julian Fantino to Cabinet has generated little mention of Caledonia. Instead there have been exhaustive discussions of the appointment's political implications. Many are hailing the appointment as a decisive step in the Prime Minister's quest for a majority government. A dozen more seats will give him, and his party, the power they've sought for two decades. 

Perhaps Stephen Harper will succeed in winning his majority. If he does, it will be due to the ignorance of the Canadian people. Our corps of investigative journalists, always ready to chase down a crooked used car dealer, seem completely uninterested in how a top level police officer, now a minister of state, failed to do his job.

Omissions of this kind are never accidental. Instead of outraged editorials about Fantino's Caledonia record, we are treated to semi-coherent ramblings about how the new minister is unlikely to mandate ground floor washrooms in new homes. Had the current Canadian MSM been around in the spring of 1940, they would have been filling detailed stories on how the Blitzkrieg was adversely impacting the wildlife of northwestern Europe, with a small line item about the fall of Paris.

Had the people of Vaughan been fully aware of Julian Fantino's conduct as OPP Commissioner, it's almost certain he would have remained a private citizen. The journalists of another era would have shown their readers the extent of the Caledonia tragedy. The people of Vaughan have remained in ignorance and so Fantino now sits in Cabinet, a useful political prop for the ambitions of an opportunistic Prime Minister.

There is a Caledonia Conspiracy. It is not a conspiracy of business suited men in back rooms, which would long ago have been exposed. It is an example of the most powerful type of conspiracy, that of ideas. Just as the OPP's two-tier policing was a product of reverse-racism, so too has been the two-tier reporting of Caledonia.

There have been honourable exceptions to this silence. But far too few. If Canada's journalists are unwilling to find and fight for the truth, even at the expense of questioning their own politically correct assumptions, Douglas Creek Estates will be only the beginning. There will be many more Caledonias, and many more Julian Fantinos. 


Posted by Richard Anderson on January 10, 2011 | Permalink


Fantino just a typical cop , people who cant fight back are kicked to the ground. The natives at Caledonia were willing to fight back, so Fantino went into hiding.

Posted by: don b | 2011-01-10 9:05:20 AM

The PC media won't bring up Caledonia because not standing up to FN belligerence and not maintaining the rule of Law is PC. They were on his side. He's one of them. He's had his PC Litmus test and passed with flying colours. That earns him a free pass for a while.

A Police Commissioner is a quasi political position, one that can serve as a stepping stone for higher Office if one is careful not to upset the MSM, or conversely, a terminal career position for someone acting on principles.

On a related note, can anyone tell me why the position or need exists for a Minister of State for Seniors? Why not one also for Mallard Ducks, Teenagers, Dental Assistants, Lesbian Bank Tellers, ad infinitum?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2011-01-10 11:03:21 AM

"The PC media won't bring up Caledonia because not standing up to FN belligerence and not maintaining the rule of Law is PC. They were on his side. He's one of them. He's had his PC Litmus test and passed with flying colours. That earns him a free pass for a while."

I think this is the reason why Harper et al recruited the man. Not because he was a law and order kind of guy, but because he is the politically correct kind of guy the media prefer.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2011-01-10 11:21:48 AM

I wasn't even aware that we had a Minister of State for Seniors and I am a senior. This is right up there with someone in charge of women and who knows what else; a total waste.

I suspect giving him a post of any kind was an attempt to woe Ontario voters, since it has long been the practice of both the Liberals and Progressive Conservators to grant posts to members elected in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes as a carrot for voters.This backfired on the PCs in Quebec under Mulroney, and I doubt it will produce much this time.

Posted by: Alain | 2011-01-10 11:32:26 AM

Is there a Minister of State for Animals?
There should be

The Harper Govt could recruit from the Loyal Opposition and bring in a new era of co operation at the highest levels of government

Posted by: 419 | 2011-01-10 12:07:31 PM

They have painted themselves into a corner with Caledonia and Indians in general. All out of ideas on how to deal with them. Easier to just ignore them and hope the militancy dies down. Can't go in shooting, can't keep kissing their asses. Can't even break up all the illegal activities that continue to empower them. They are paying for the "special" status handed to Indians that was backed by our politically correct courts and a small army of taxpayer funded lawyers. Now no one has the balls to tackle the ever growing problem of militancy. If they think conditions will mellow out and improve , I have some terrible news for them.
It wont.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-10 9:15:42 PM

A nice safe posting, where he gets to pat seniors on their heads. Seniors will vote for anyone whose nice to them -- senility does that to people.

Posted by: AB Patriot | 2011-01-10 10:07:39 PM

I don't believe we actually had a minister of state for Seniors, the post is a new one if I'm seeing it right. So far as I can tell, this is one of the largest cabinets (if not tied for THE largest) in our history. Barack Obama has the assistance of a 23 member cabinet in a nation with approximately 10 times our population. The newest British government started with (and maintains) a 23 member cabinet.

Harper not only started with a 26 member cabinet but he also did so while proclaiming the benefits of keeping a trimmed down cabinet for the benefit of Canadians. He took the cabinet from Paul Martin's bloated 38 member cabinet down to that slim 26. Today, Harper's cabinet now includes...30 something? shucks, is it up to 38? Where Martin had left it? The answer is yes.

Posted by: Zach Bell | 2011-01-11 8:46:43 AM

"There will be many more Caledonias, and many more Julian Fantinos."

Nothing as violent, but nearby Brantford has had to put up with indian occupation at construction sites for years.

Posted by: Frank Ch. Eigler | 2011-01-11 10:56:14 AM

Thanks Zack for the clarification. I have always supported small government, so a good place to start would be to eliminate all these useless ministries.

AB Patriot, a new flash for you is that seniors in general are no different than any other group. To suggest that seniors as a whole will vote for a party because it created yet another useless and wasteful ministry causes one to question your grasp of reality.

Posted by: Alain | 2011-01-11 11:21:38 AM

Thanks for this, Publius. The 'Caledonia Conspiracy' of media continues to this day. Where, in the wake of Blatchford's Helpless, are the journalists asking the obvious questions about how it was all allowed to happen; what legal justification did the feds/province/OPP have for their (illegal) 'peacekeeping' mission; how do we stop it from happening again; when will the gov't, 6N and OPP apologize; why did the Ipperwash Inquiry not study violence against innocent third parties, etc.???

I see no signs that even one journalist in Canada other than bloggers are even interested in the answers to these questions.

For those who are, may I suggest this page on our HelplessByBlatchford site. Some of the issues related to Caledonia may shock you:

Preventing Future 'Crimes Against Democracy':


Mark Vandermaas
Founder, Caledonia Victims Project

Posted by: Mark Vandermaas | 2011-01-11 12:04:51 PM

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