Anyone who knows anything about Julian Fantino knows that he’s no shrinking violet. Quite the opposite, actually. Which makes his peak-a-boo campaign in the Vaughan by-election all the more surprising.
There were signs early on that the Ottawa boys in the Prime Minister’s Office wanted to clamp a muzzle on their “star candidate” when, at his campaign launch event, the PMO tried to stop Fantino from talking to the media.
“I think this is the place that best fits my desires to make, hopefully, a significant difference on the things that threaten Canada, of which Vaughan is very much a part,” he told reporters after a Harper handler initially barred the media from speaking to him.
While Fantino was able to temporarily shake off the muzzle, it appears the boys in Ottawa have their wayward candidate back under their thumb. We’re a few weeks into the campaign and Fantino is still refusing to participate in an all candidates meeting with his opponents to debate the issues facing the residents of Vaughan. It’s been a week since Liberal candidate Tony Genco challenged Fantino to an open debate and, still, its crickets from Fantino.
“Voters will decide this election in just two weeks and Julian Fantino still won’t commit to debating healthcare, retirement security, and jobs in Vaughan” said Mr. Genco. “Vaughan residents should be given the opportunity to see for themselves that a vote for Julian Fantino is a vote for Stephen Harper’s wasteful spending and misplaced priorities.”
Fantino’s capture by the Harper straight-jacket is not going un-noticed. People are starting to ask just when Fantino is going to come out of hiding and start coming clean with the people of Vaughan on the issues.
Retired OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino is in political protective custody, his critics say.
The usually blunt speaking Fantino, the Conservative’s candidate in the Nov. 29 Vaughan federal by-election appears to be running a textbook peek-a-boo campaign.
He’s become a kind of virtual candidate. Voters can follow him on Twitter and listen to his messages on the campaign website but have yet to see him debate his opponents.
The Toronto Star had no luck reaching Fantino or even his office despite several calls and an email.
Just what is the Harper PMO hiding Fantino from? Why don’t they want Fantino to speak his mind freely? What are they afraid of?
- Is it Fantino’s opposition to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms as benefiting criminals and The Hells Angels the most? (Reminds me of Scott Newark)
- Is it Fantino’s support for the death penalty and capital punishment?
- Or is it that Fantino was an ardent supporter of the gun registry before he somehow, for some reason, completely reversed his position?
My guess is that the PMO doesn’t want Fantino trying to defend an indefensible Harper record that is out of touch with the priorities of the people of Vaughan. Like dropping $16 billion on stealth fighters without competion, instead of investing in priorities that Vaughan shares such as health and home care, pension reform and education. Or maybe they don’t want to defend their attempt to kill a gun registry that Vaughan residents support as an important public safety tool.
Of course, it could be that Fantino seems to be having trouble even getting Conservatives onside.
Former provincial police commissioner Julian Fantino can expect a heated campaign as the Conservative candidate in an upcoming Ontario byelection — and not just from his political opponents.
A group calling itself Conservatives Against Fantino says it will hold protests outside Fantino's campaign office over five days leading up to the Nov. 29 byelection in Vaughan, north of Toronto.
Actually, it’s no wonder the Harper PMO wants to keep Fantino in a box and away from the public. He has a lot to answer for. And it’s not like it’s a new strategy for the Conservatives. The Harper muzzle was out in full force in the last election, and in by-elections past.
And, of course, it’s not likely the muzzle gets loosened once a candidate is elected. No Conservative MP says boo without an OK from the un-elected young turks in the PMO. Just look how vocal the Saskatchewan Conservative caucus was (or wasn't) on the potash issue. The entire province was consumed with the issue, and the Conservative MPs were MIA.
It seems the question for Vaughan voters is this: do they really want to send another neutered Harper lackey to Ottawa? Or do they want an MP like Tony Genco, who last week reached over 8700 Vaughan residents in a telephone townhall?
It's hard to be in touch with the priorities of Vaughan when you've been ordered to avoid the people of Vaughan, Mr. Fantino.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers