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Conservatives Against Fantino

”]James LeCraw-committed suicide July 19/04 claiming in his suicide note that Julian Fantino's public statements falsely accusing him of child pornography activities ruined his life. [all photos from CBC source article, click image to view]

“You may want to seriously consider a wrongful death suit, or whatever it would be called against the police and Fantino,” wrote James. “You know the complaint: Their reckless irresponsible media release destroyed my life. They should be held responsible for compensation. Also they should have to change their and all police department media ways so that others don’t get caught up in this crap.”

“On July 19, 2004, James drove to a country road, about 10 kilometres from his brother’s home in Newmarket, north of Toronto. He put a charcoal barbecue on the seat beside him and lit it. James died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes.”

  • CBC Documentary, 2005 : Weighing the Balance 

Earlier this morning VoiceofCanada editor/Conservatives Against Fantino co-founder Mark Vandermaas was tipped off to a tragic 2004 story about the suicide of an innocent man wrongly accused of being involved in a child porn by Julian Fantino and the Toronto police, both of whom were by blamed by James LeCraw in his suicide note for his ruined life. 

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The Vaughan Citizen – sponsor of the Nov 23/10 debate which Julian Fantino snubbed – has released a scathing editorial about his failure to face voters, and which questions Fantino’s fitness to serve as Vaughan’s Member of Parliament.

This is the relevant excerpt for Caledonia victims:

[…] Mr. Fantino’s contrary decision [not to participate in the debate] is particularly unfortunate because, while his prior career activities have made him the best-known candidate, they have also made him by far the most controversial.

They raise questions that voters should have been entitled to have a chance to put to him at Tuesday’s debate before deciding how to vote.

For instance, it appears indisputable that during the aboriginal occupation in Caledonia, Mr. Fantino as OPP commissioner ordered his officers to stand idly by without enforcing the law while the occupiers committed serious criminal acts.

At the same time, he had his officers intimidate and even arrest law-abiding local residents who tried to assert their rights.

Whether Mr. Fantino was acting on his own initiative or following directions from the provincial government, couldn’t this be seen either way as a breach of the oath he swore under the Police Act to “prevent offences and discharge my other duties faithfully, impartially and according to law”? If so, wouldn’t that make him unsuitable for elected office, let alone to be a potential minister? […]

Editor of the Citizen Kim Champion also made it clear in her editorial, as she did on debate night, that Fantino did his best to thwart her efforts to accommodate his schedule when organizing the debate:


Since Conservatives Against Fantino was launched I have been pleasantly surprised to see that the Vaughan Citizen has never backed away from covering us, or holding Julian Fantino accountable where a lesser outlet might have shied away from the controversy out of fear of losing access to him should he win. Fantino isn’t the type to let go of a grudge, so the Citizen must have made a wilful decision to fulfil their role as watchdogs knowing it could have negative consequences for them.

Editor Kim Champion, reporter Caroline Grech and the Vaughan Citizen remind me of the Regional News in Caledonia, its publisher Chris Pickup, and reporter Bill Jackson who was himself assaulted and his camera stolen by native protesters when he photographed an assault on an elderly couple in Caledonia. 

Bill Jackson takes notes at 2008 debate in Caledonia during 2010 municipal election

Bill Jackson takes notes at 2008 debate in Caledonia during 2010 municipal election

Not only did the Regional print hard-hitting letters from Caledonia residents and cover the stories without giving ink to the lies and propaganda of the native radicals terrorizing the town, Chris Pickup made the extraordinary decision in 2008 to give what some readers called the “devil incarnate” Gary McHale a weekly column so he could share details on the legal battles, protests and other matters related to our struggle in his/our own words. These columns provide an unequaled historical record of our work and Gary’s extraordinary use of the courts to seek justice on behalf of Caledonia residents, and they cannot be found anywhere else.

The Regional allowed Gary to use his column for other works he thought important such as my speech given at our flag raising protest on May 24/09 Provoking Violence? Lessons from Dr. King and the Little Rock Nine; and it became became the first media outlet in Canada to allow us to share the important lessons of our Ipperwash Papers project in our own words. The Regional’s gutsy decision to do so was recently acknowledged by the legendary Peter Worthington in Caledonia Crisis of Facts.

From our perspective the little, independent, weekly Regional News did more to stand up for justice in Caledonia and uphold its responsibility as ‘watchdogs of democracy’ than every other so-called mainstream media outlet combined. This is not an exaggeration. Other locals such as The Sachem, and the Dunnville Chronicle carried good articles occasionally and important coverage of our activities, but they did not take a clear, consistent editorial stand on the side of the victims. The MSM outlets were simply abysmal in their coverage; preferring to do mainly ‘he said/she said,’ ‘drive-by’ stories with occasional bursts of condemnation for those responsible for Caledonia’s misery.

The terrible truth is that until Christie Blatchford agreed to look at our evidence in late 2009 after the Brown/Chatwell trial began there had been zero investigative reporting in Caledonia since 2006, and not one media outlet had agreed to meet with us to go over our considerable evidence. Regional News stood alone with us to tell the truth, and it paid a price for doing so.

We wanted to honour the Regional and its staff for their commitment to the highest ideals of journalism in giving a consistent voice to Caledonia’s victims and those of us speaking out on their behalf, so we (CANACE and the Caledonia Victims Project) presented the Regional – at Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless launch party on Oct 27/10 – with a print of Barb Patterson Tuck’s award-winning painting ‘Caught in the Middle‘ which was signed by the artist and by us. Earlier in the evening we had given an identical print to Blatchford.

In a subsequent editorial Bill Jackson commented at length on the Regional’s approach to covering the Caledonia crisis; his gratitude at being honoured by CANACE; and the vindication of the Regional and CANACE activism in the light of Helpless. Bill’s editorial should be required reading in Canadian schools of journalism: 

  • Regional News (Caledonia), Nov 03/10: Comment by Bill Jackson [PDF] (re vindication of Regional News coverage and CANACE efforts to oppose racial policing in light of Helpless)

I thank the Vaughan Citizen for holding Fantino accountable with their excellent coverage of this campaign. If I/we ever manage to have enough income to do so (now that would be a happy day!), I would propose to my colleagues that we institute a joint ‘CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project Watchdogs of Democracy Award’ to highlight excellence in Canadian journalism, and the Citizen would be its third recipient – after Christie Blatchford and Caledonia’s heroic Regional News.

I can only hope that Ms. Champion and Ms. Grech can appreciate the tremendous compliment paid to them and the Vaughan Citizen with the comparison to Caledonia’s Regional News. They are in very fine company indeed.

Letter to Vaughan Citizen by Bill Dietz, Sgt., RCMP (retired)

Caledonia resident Bill Dietz is a former Sergeant with the RCMP. He wrote a letter to MP Diane Finley expressing his outrage at the party’s embrace of Julian Fantino which he allowed us to post here on CAF, and use in the 60,000 brochures we are distributing to Vaughan voters during the campaign. We used one of Bill’s quotes on the front cover.

Coincidently, as I was working on this article, Bill sent me a copy of a letter he emailed today (Nov 25/10) to Kim Champion, Editor of the Vaughan Citizen:

Hi Kim

I have just had the opportunity to listen to your introduction of the Candidates at Tuesday’s All Candidates meeting….courtesy of Jeff Parkinson of CANACE, and have just read the article posted online at the York regarding “Fantino Cops Out”.

I am so pleased and thankful that you have given us an ear, and taken the time to try to understand Mr. Fantino, I truly realize what a challenge that must have presented, when I first contacted you.

I understand that you have had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the members of CANACE; and while I am not a member of that organization, I fully support what they are trying to do.

Mr. Fantino seems oblivious to his surroundings and to the ordinary people that his actions affect deeply. I sincerely hope that the good voters of Vaughan, including members of the Conservative Party, will recognize that

this is not the type of person that should be representing all of us in Ottawa.

Thank You for Your efforts to understand the truth.


Bill Dietz
Sgt, RCMP (Retired)
Caledonia, Ontario

Thank you again Bill, for speaking out, and sharing similar thoughts. As a note, I’m not sure if Ms. Champion herself has met CANACE members, but I believe reporter Caroline Grech has.


POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas

NOTE: Mark was an original founder of CANACE as described in Helpless, but left in early 2010 to found the Caledonia Victims Project.

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Liberal candidate Tony Genco was there. The Vaughan Citizen was there. A good group of Caledonia residents was there handing out brochures on behalf of Conservatives Against Fantino.

But Julian Fantino, Stephen Harper’s annointed candidate, couldn’t be bothered showing up at last nights Vaughan debate hosted by the Vaughan Citizen. 

Kim Champion, Editor for the sponsoring Vaughan Citizen commented at length (see video below) on Fantino’s efforts to avoid making himself available, upon which she elaborated in a subsequent editorial (link below). CANACE/CAF co-founder Jeff Parkinson took this photo that says it all:

Fantino snubs Vaughan debate, but Tony Genco for the Liberals was there, Nov 23/10. Click to enlarge.

Fantino snubs Vaughan debate, but Tony Genco for the Liberals was there, Nov 23/10. Click to enlarge.

Video highlights

  • CAF video, Jeff Parkinson, Nov 23/10, 3:00 mins: Opening remarks by debate sponsor (Kim Champion, Editor, Vaughan Citizen explains how her efforts to accommodate Julian Fantino’s schedule were thwarted)  
  • CAF video, Jeff Parkinson, Nov 23/10, 2:49 mins: Opening remarks by Liberal candidate (Tony Genco tells attendees that he had to cancel out on his 13 year-old daughter’s birthday trip to see Justin Bieber, that she understood it was important that he meet voters) 

News & Commentary


Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas and Caledonia residents handed out hundreds of CAF brochures at/around the debate and had the opportunity to meet residents and media. Here are some photos taken by CAF co-founder Mark Vandermaas:

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CAF Comment

Kim Champion and the Vaughan Citizen deserve a lot of credit for their reporting on the Fantino campaign, for hosting the debate, and for not allowing Fantino’s attempts to thwart his attendance at the debate to go unreported. I’ll comment separately in a new post on Champion’s hardhitting editorial on Fantino’s failings.

POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas

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Christie Blatchford, Chedoke Presbyterian church, Nov 16/10, Hamilton, ON

Christie Blatchford, Chedoke Presbyterian church, Nov 16/10, Hamilton, ON

Jeff Parkinson, co-founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), has released a short video containing highlights from Christie Blatchford’s speech to a packed crowd at Chedoke Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ontario on Nov 16/10.

In addition to commenting on the “national disgrace” of the lawlessness OPP officers refused to stop, she decries the targeting of Gary McHale by Julian Fantino:

“Fantino’s extraordinary campaign to hunt down and have arrested a man named Gary McHale – who is here tonight, too – culminated in the OPP boss writing a letter of support for a native man who had assaulted McHale was probably un-precedented and was deeply disturbing. Consider how furious women would be if the justice system reverted to the days of old when a rapist should defend himself by saying, ‘Geez your Honour, she was wearing these high boots and a short skirt.’ Thats the equivalent of what Fantino did. He wrote a letter to the court in support of the man who pleaded guilty of punching McHale and said McHale had been asking for it.

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Dec 04/07: 'Illegal Smokeshacks' news conference, Queen's Park Media Studio with (L-R) Doug Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Brian Hagan, Gary McHale)

Dec 04/07: 'Illegal Smokeshacks' news conference, Queen's Park Media Studio with (L-R) Doug Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Brian Hagan, Gary McHale)

Gayle and Brian Hagan are longtime Caledonia residents who have been strong supporters of the struggle to oppose Julian Fantino’s racial policing practices in their town.

Brian was a presenter at the Dec 04/10 ‘Illegal Smokeshacks’ news conference at Queens Park – after non-natives and police were assaulted by native smokeshack supporters on Dec 01/07, and  Julian Fantino had issued a press release falsely blaming them for the violence before the investigation had even begun.

Although the OPP refused to make a single arrest for the numerous assaults against non-natives and police that sent two people to hospital, Brian and Gayle’s son Kyle was arrested as he was quietly drinking coffee on the already blocked road. His arrest (seen in the slide show below) was the only one of the day and it was made by the same officer (also seen in the slideshow) who earlier refused to arrest the native smokeshack supporter who had assaulted CAF co-founder Mark Vandermaas.

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Brian and Gayle Hagan are asking for your help to support justice for Caledonia

Brian and Gayle have put out an appeal to their friends for help distributing our anti-Fantino brochures in Vaughan, and wanted to share it with all those who might care enough to help them and us reach out to the voters there:


Hi everybody,

Last Sunday was very successful in Vaughn.Despite rainy weather and short notice, we were able to pass out around 8000 Conservatives vs Fantino brochures on windshields in shopping malls in a couple of hours. It was easy to get to, reception was favorable, “Caledonia” seemed to be recognizable to most voters [no blank stares!].

People arrive for Conservatives Against Fantino protest and flyer delivery at Julian Fantino campaign HQ in Vaughan, Nov 14/10Many thanks to those who are participating in any way in this important campaign.Vaughan and the mighty Toronto media, including talk shows, are finally speaking out. The 3rd of 4 excerpts from C. Blatchford’s book appeared in today’s Globe and Mail.

Discounting the usual racist drivel it would appear that about 90% of opinion is in Caledonia’s favor, disgusted with revelations of government abandonment and O.P.P.discriminatory policies. FINALLY!

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Volunteers for Conservatives Against Fantino distributed approximately 8,000 of our new election brochures in the Vaughan area yesterday (Nov 14/10) after meeting with reporters in front of Fantino’s election campaign headquarters:

Merlyn Kinrade appeared on CFRB 1010 later in the day, and today, Gary McHale appeared on the Jim Richards Show during which Richards endorsed Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless repeatedly and told listeners to vote for whichever candidate Conservatives Against Fantino endorses. Thank you, Jim!

Can you help?

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Download our 2 page 8.5x11" brochure

Conservatives Against Fantino has now received delivery of 60,000 professionally printed brochures to be delivered to voters in Vaughan beginning today at 1pm.  We know it’s short notice, but if you can help that would be great. If not, then come out on another of our scheduled dates listed below.

These hardhitting brochures quote police officers and journalists to make  the case for traditional Conservative Party supporters to join us in helping to defeat Fantino’s candidacy.

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