Tough-on-crime Tories face tough-on-crime opposition to tough-on-crime candidate

Tough-on-crime Tories face tough-on-crime opposition to tough-on-crime candidate

Julian Fantino's 2008 autobiography 

When Stephen Harper picked former OPP commissioner Julian Fantino to run in the upcoming by-election in Vaughan, he must have figured that he had the law-and-order vote wrapped up. A tough-guy PM paired with a tough cop turned politician? A match made in tough-on-crime heaven. Well, turns out some Tories aren’t so sure. A group calling itself Conservatives Against Fantino has launched a campaign to get Vaughan’s Tories to hold their noses and vote Liberal or NDP rather than vote for the former commish. The catch? The group’s leaders, Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas, aren’t even from the riding.

According to the Post:

Tensions between the pair and Mr. Fantino began in 2006, when native protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve began their occupation of Caledonia.

Both sides made accusations of poor leadership and corruption. Mr. McHale argued that Mr. Fantino instructed the OPP to ignore unlawful actions committed by native protesters.

Mr. Fantino says that Mr. McHale provoked police and encouraged confrontations.

The Star, meanwhile, seems positively giddy that a dozen-person protest might derail the high-profile candidate:

Name recognition might have initially given Fantino an edge over Liberal candidate Tony Genco, former CEO of Downsview Park, said Nelson Wiseman, professor of Canadian politics at the University of Toronto. However, Wiseman said the Conservatives Against Fantino could help the Liberals maintain their hold in a riding where Conservative support has been growing…“This is not good new for Fantino,” Wiseman said. “This kind of publicity is bad, bad, bad.”

Still, we think Fantino probably has bigger things to worry about than the ghosts of Caledonia: last election, the Liberals went home with a commanding 49 per cent of the vote to the Tories’ 34.

• Fantino foes vow to keep former top cop out of office [Toronto Star]
• ‘Conservatives Against Fantino’ targets ex-police chief’s by-election run [National Post]