Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Update on Caledonia

This past weekend a group of Caledonia residents and others staged a small protest outside the home of Julian Fantino, the chief of the Ontariario Provincial Police. Demanding answers for what they see as police inaction and uneven enforcement of the law.

Sometimes Canajun politics gets interesting.

Mr. Fantino wasn't home. He was in Caledonia.

Coincidence? We think not.

There was some controversy because politicians, including Gory Tory the Leader of the Tories, said it was improper to take your protest to a private home. My take on this is that it's fair game, since it's the residents' private homes and property values which have been devastated by the intransigence of politicians. Good on 'em, I say.

Not that it actually did much good on 'em.

The next day I got to hear both Mr. Fantino and the leader of the protest, Merlyn Kinrade, on a Steeltown radio station. They were interviewed separately. Mr. Fantino started off calmly, but as he warmed up, he warmed up, until by the end of the interview he was positively hot under the collar. (In passing, this is my experience with law enforcement people, or anyone accustomed to authority: they have a wonderful veneer of caring and reasonableness. But the veneer is thin. The merest breath of opposition is likely to arouse the urge to exert power.)

Mr. Kinrade, on the other hand, derided Mr. Fantino's remarks. Fantino had suggested that the protesters and others of their ilk needed to do better research. (My question: Research? What better research than actually living there? Mr. Fantino does not make a habit of living where he works. When he was chief of Hawgtown he lived not in Hawgtown but rather the safe white suburbs north, which is where he still lives.) Mr. Kinrade suggested he would let Fantino use one of his bedrooms for a week.

I'm coming across as critical of Fantino and the police. On balance, yes I am. But I truly understand Mr. Fantino's frustration. He repeated that it's not his job to solve the Caledonia problem. He and his forces are stuck in the middle. Clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right. (I leave you to decide which are which.) He also repeated that he has received no directives of a political nature at all. But I still don't believe him.

And his going to Caledonia when he knew that people were travelling to his home strikes me as typical of an arrogant copper who loves to be a smartass and knows he can get away with it cuz he's got a gun. He claims he's having dialogue with the Caledonians. True. Just not all of them.

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