Currently, as the Conservative candidate in Vaughan, he refuses to attend an all candidates' meeting. He won't respond to questions about his role in the wiretapping of lawyer Peter Maloney and whether that extended to former police services board chair Susan Eng.
February, 2004: He interrupts, browbeats and shouts down a citizen raising questions about the police budget:
Fantino often seems to have a short fuse.May 2004: Fantino fails to discover who leaked a vile memo smearing former police services board chair Alan Heisey with disgusting suggestions of sympathy for child molesters or child pornography.
For a couple of hours one night this week, he participates in a town hall meeting at Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School in the west end. People line up for questions and reaction to the chief is mixed, with one man commenting, “You are the guy!”'
Then, Kim Fry, a slim young woman with dark hair, steps to the mike. She complains about lack of public accountability for the police budget.
“HOLD IT, HOLD IT, HOLD IT,”' yells Fantino. “You're way off base. WAY OFF BASE. You don't know about the procedure. So you can't make those broad statements. Make us look like we are a bunch of thieves here.”'
“I'm, ah, not implying, uh, uh ... ” stammers Fry.
“JUST HOLD ON, HOLD ON,”' barks the chief.
“Our budget is, in fact, examined line-by-line by my boss, which happens to be the police services board. And, by the way, it's their budget, I'm only the manager ... I'm not going to sit here and pretend that we are going to take this kind of criticism.”
– Linda Diebel, Toronto Star, Feb. 7, 2004
Let's just dwell on that for a moment. Heisey, a Bay Street lawyer and Queen's Counsel, makes a few mild suggestions about reforming the police-complaints procedure, and a week after his appointment as chair of the board in January of 2004, the smear hits the papers. The source of the smear is a memo leaked from the police department, possibly even from Fantino's office. Fantino's internal investigation, (whatever it involves – maybe he looked under the sofa cushions or something), never discovers who was behind the leak (Minutes of the Police Services Board, May 27, 2004). No further inquiries are made.
So, for all his talk of duty and public service, Fantino seems to come up short when it comes to accountability within his own department.
Cowardice, arrogance, bullying and hypocrisy. He should fit in just fine with the Harper crowd.
(Cross-posted at Sister Sage's Musings.)