Open Letter to the Commissioner Julian Fantino

Dec 26, 2008
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.

Ken Hewitt