We’re often critical of Julian Fantino for refusing to answer Caledonia related questions, but in all fairness to him, Mr. Fantino did do one interview about the topic. In January 2007 he sat down with CHTV to discuss the issues, and the result may explain why he’s acting like a mute these days.
I just happen to have a transcript of that interview and I am pleased to share it with all of you now. Please note that the spelling and grammar mistakes are not a result of my writing. They are a result of his speaking. I have taken the liberty of highlighting some of his more insightful comments in bold. Let’s review this historic first, and last interview with Fantino about Caledonia! January 09th, 2007. CH live at 5:30.
Please note that every word of this interview is 100% real. I’m not making it up, and I have not altered one single syllabal. Everything you are about to read came directly from Julian Fantino on CHTV.
Q. Commissioner, Critics and cynics in Caledonia are calling this visit by you today just a public relations exercise. What do you say to that?
A. Well uh in actual fact, I’ve been here a number of times already uh, this is probably the more public uh uh meeting that I’ve had here with uh different entities in the community, I was here the very second day of my job as uh the new OPP commissioner, I’ve been here since uh a number of times including Christmas day so I’ve been in and out, and I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the issues here and uh but I wanted to as well uh make myself more available to the community at large, and also of course uh this morning I sat down and had a very frank and open uh discussion with uh Haldimand council as well so..
Q. And what did you conclude? What did you discuss?
A. Uhh I concluded that we’re all in this together I concluded uh as we all have that we need to to work very diligently to preserve the peace to normalize the situation as much as we can, and allow the negotiating uh bodies uh at the various levels of government, and First Nations people to hopefully resolve this uh uh as quickly as possible.
Q. Commissioner, we can’t turn back the clock but I know it’s been suggested by many that that raid on April the 20th and the subsequent arrests precipitated the impact that we now have there, in hindsight was that raid a mistake? And would you consider launching an internal investigation into how it was carried out?
A. No uh I believe that the uh the uh activities of the OPP in that in that time frame uh were based on solid information and grounds uh to proceed, and uh I’m moving forward with uh my mission now is to look to the future, to uh to do what we can to stabilize our policing presence here, to preserve the peace at all costs and hopefully encourage those who are negotiating the land claim to do so expeditiously.
Q. Commissioner how do you answer critics who suggest that the OPP is only keeping the peace among the Non Native population, while turning a blind eye to lawlessness on the Native side?
A. Well I appreciate your asking that question uh we have uh presently some 31 persons uh charged with some 60 odd criminal offences, uh most recently we arrested another individual on a warrant uh for uh for hurting one of our police officers uh some 30 odd of our police officers have been injured here, some of them significantly enough to lose uh time at work, so I I think we’ve been doing uh uh uh a job to the best of our abilities so far, but we also need to pursue investigations as we must ongoing, and there’s a number of investigations active investigations that will probably result in further arrests as uh time goes on.
Q. Is there any circumstance in which you would instruct a member of the Ontario Provincial Police to stand by while an assault occurred?
A. Uh no there wouldn’t be a uh our people are well entitled, uh in fact they’re taught and encouraged to use their discretion. Uh their job is to not escalate a situation to deal with the events as best as they can… under the circumstances and be very mindful of their own safety and the safety of others. Uh not everything can be replayed as we do in the movies, Uhhhhh there’s a human dynamic here of what people in fact sometimes perceive as as their own biases, but I like to to to uh again stress strongly that to the extent that we know of criminal offences being committed, uh they are all being investigated and those things are going to be resulting in in persons being brought to justice to the extent that the law will allow. Q. Let me just clarify you said you would encourage them to use discretion?
A. Yes I would.
Q. Well then you could suggest then that may not intervene an assault occur.
A. Well uh uh you know like uhhhh uhhhhh policing is not a clear uh a cookie cutter kind of a situation, uh we have to allow latitude to our people to assess the situation and act as best as they can. Uhhh I think we have to be mindful of of uh of that discretion being used, uh in keeping with their training, in keeping with the laws of the land, and in keeping with what they’re well entitled to use in situations however they perceive them and however they’re presented.
Q. Which could validate then the complaints that we’re hearing from the residents of Caledonia that they are being targeted if the law is being broken, while Native people are not because the police are using discretion and only challenging non native personnel?
A. Boy that’s a misconception and and you know we’re dealing with so much rhetoric and we’re dealing with so much misinformation miscommunication and uh we’re dealing with biases and all of that, but let me again set the record straight. Uh we’ve arrested uh first nations people uh we’ve arrested others, we will continue arresting those who commit offences, and uh we’re not concerned about their DNA, or who they are we’re more concerned about their activities, and those who break the law will be brought to justice, it may not be according to the movies, but we’re gonna do our job and we’re gonna continue doin it.
Q. Gary McHale (Fantino’s eyes start to roll) plans another protest in Caledonia later this month, we know he’s watching, what would you tell Gary McHale prior to this proposed protest?
A. To to stay home and use his energy in a much more productive way than than coming here to cause trouble.
Q. Commissioner that’s exactly what we were talking about. The last time that Gary McHale was in town was to raise flags on one side of literally the street while flags are raised on another. Why is the Native community permitted to do so and the non native community not allowed to put Canadian flags up?
A. Uh as I stated earlier circumstances are vastly different, uh it’s not about raising flags it’s about provocation, and it’s about trying to engage
Q. There’s Provocation on both sides.
A. Well there is, and we’ve arrested people on both sides, and we’ll continue doing what we have to do to keep the peace. You know the one thing that that’s missing here in this whole equation is you tell me how this situation is gonna help this community continue to live and enjoy a peaceful uh future if this kind of confrontation situation continues knowing full well how it it how passionate..
Q. He just wanted to raise awareness of it (fantino pretending to laugh) and he did it. As a resident I’m just thinking of the flags alone, as a resident of the community I’d be very upset if the Native people were allowed to raise flags and the residents of Caledonia were not allowed to put up Canadian flags.
Q. How can you not see the discrepancy there, the unfair approach by the police allowing one community and not another?
A. I I don’t think you’re in a position to be judging jury and executioner on what the actions have taken what the police are doing here. Our people have been very diligent, and working very hard to the point where so many of them have been injured, and and uh you know this whole business of peace and tranquility in a community is a shared responsibility it’s not up to the OPP only and solely to preserve the peace, uh uhhh uh I I I think you’re missing the boat here, the focus of your uhh concerns is the OPP, my concern is those who are coming here to cause trouble, unnecessarily so.
Q. How are the negotiations going? Do you know?
A. Well uh they they people are working hard and they need to time, these are very complex issues, and I and I trust that you’re well aware of the dynamic that play here. Uhhh .. All we can that uh people will be reasonable that they will observe the laws of the land that we don’t have an escalation of violence and you know uh uh aside from an out out war in in in Caledonia, what is it that people would expect the OPP to do? Uh it doesn’t matter what police agency is in here it doesn’t matter whether it’s the OPP, or APC police department the dynamics are the same, our mission is the same, we’re gonna continue preserving the peace and those who come here to commit criminal acts or those who come and violate a breach of the peace they’re gonna be dealt with.
Q. I think people would only expect that you would serve and protect the members of the community equally and that’s really all people there are asking for I believe.
A. Well I think if you play that clip uh and if you had bin here as I was back in December when Mr McHale and company came here you would see the commitment that the police have made and are making to keep uh to keep this situation from escalating, an escalation that would profit no one, that would cause problly no end of violence and grief and to what end uh I mean you know we’re trying to do best we can it may not be a perfect solution perfection is not of this world, but you know I’m not about to debate our mission here, our mission here is to preserve the peace and we’re gonna continue doing that.
End of interview.
Well there you have it folks. We may uh never hear from him again uh uh about Caledonia, but we will always have the greatness that was his first interview on the topic. I for one think it’s uh uh uh classic 🙂
Jeff Parkinson Caledonia Wakeup Call Jeff@CaledoniaWakeupCall.com