Don’t send a cop to do a politician’s job.

Julian Fantino is in trouble again. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is so bereft of talent in his Conservative Party ranks in Ottawa that he felt he had to give former Toronto and Ontario top cop Fantino the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. That choice could haunt Harper long after he is thrown out of office by an angry electorate.

The Conservative Leader thought it might be a safe place to warehouse the retired ex-cop. He had no idea of the trouble that would cause. There is nothing compatible between a cop and the military. They are oil and water. And Fantino might be one of the oiliest.

Fantino is a wanna-be who started as a mall security guy and spent a police career in controversy. Judges seem to have had some stern words with him over the years for his forgetfulness over conditions for wiretapping. He is no stranger to lawsuits. He seems to often take refuge in the stance of a bully. And the gay community is not the only segment of society who might be leery of him.

One of the first things you learn if you ever work with cabinet ministers is that nobody really expects the minister to be expert in the work of their department or ministry. The role of the minister is political. This is the person who has to make nice. And who, in their right mind, would ever expect Julian Fantino to make nice as a politician.

When he ran in that by-election for Vaughan, some of us knew it was trouble right off the bat. We expected Fantino to not just kiss babies but to frisk them for weapons at the same time. We laughingly suggested that when he goes to knock on doors, he would take a SWAT team with him to make sure the homeowners would open the door.

And, to our horror, with his name recognition, he won. Harper gave him a series of low-level jobs. He was only in each of them briefly. Expecting Fantino to be sympathetic with fellow seniors was the saddest role. His nemesis was trying to explain the F-35 fighter aircraft costs. Peter Mackay had already bombed in that job and Fantino looked even more ridiculous.

Veterans’ Affairs is just the latest in the long series of Julian Fantino mishaps. He is a cop for goodness sake. What sympathy or understanding could he bring to any meetings with veterans? Sure, he apologized for that meeting the other day. Maybe those particular vets ambushed him. He walked into it.

But what if he ever has to meet with any vets in the future? Do our vets deserve that?


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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