Confusion in the ranks

Fantino's in - no, he's out - no, he's in!

Police board chair Norm Gardner’s not denying that Julian Fantino is up for Toronto’s top cop job – just that he said so.

Gardner is also denying published reports claiming that Fantino will be considered for the gig whether or not he’s applied.

“I didn’t say that,” Gardner insists.

“I said, ‘A guy like Fantino would make any short-list for a chief of police.’ That’s what I said. I think they mixed up part of what I said with what the mayor may have said.”

As for Mayor Mel Lastman – he confirmed in the daily press that Fantino missed this month’s application deadline.

“But the mayor didn’t know,” Gardner says.

Or at least that the mayor shouldn’t have known.

“I’ve got a privacy act to adhere to,” Gardner says. “The mayor was warned about it.”

Gardner says he doesn’t know whether Fantino has sent in his CV, but it sounds like headhunters would be awfully interested in talking to somebody like him.

“I imagine that they would have touched based with some of the high-profile people,” Gardner says.

“I have not had a report back from them as of yet.”

Though Fantino has been assuring his York Region comrades that he hasn’t applied, it’s believed he’ll sign on if asked.

While the Toronto Star initially pegged Deputy Toronto Chief Mike Boyd as the man to beat, the paper reported in two lead stories earlier this month that Fantino is now a shoe-in.

Deeming Fantino “a staunch law-and-order police leader,” the paper speculated that police commissioner Olivia Chow might reluctantly back Fantino. Contacted at city hall, however, Chow won’t go there.

“No one has asked me to come and vote for him,” she says.

“I haven’t seen anybody’s application, so to judge at this point is not useful.”

But in terms of process, Chow admits the city’s new chief might not have to apply.

“That’s possible, but it will have to mean that no one from the first list qualified,” she says.

Nonetheless, the Star reported that York Region is resigned to losing Fantino.

The Toronto Sun bit back with the front page headline “Toronto Gays Fear Fantino” next to a photo of two Miss Teen Canada contestants.

Inside, Downtown City Councillor Kyle Rae was warning Lastman that he’d better be not be planning for Pride if he fingers Fantino.

“We don’t want to work with someone who has a track record of disrespecting the community, of creating hysteria,” Rae said.

“It was terrible when [Fantino] was in London.”

While chief of that force, Fantino rounded up scores of gay men on kiddie porn charges – many of which were thrown out.


“He turned it into a witch-hunt,” Rae said.

So the mayor roasted Rae. “I’ve never seen anyone as negative as Kyle Rae,” Lastman said.

“I wish Kyle Rae would shut up and stop talking so much.”

Lastman was also looking at Rae as “the ringleader” of a mysterious Anybody-But-Fantino campaign.

Neither returned Xtra’s calls.

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Power, Politics, Canada, Policing, Media, Toronto, Ontario

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