Toronto
2 min

Outwitting Julian Fantino?

Community must work out who & what it wants, says politician

EYES ON THE PRIZE. Unofficially, Julian Fantino is looking into moving to TO. Credit: Aldrin Fernando

The city’s newest police commissioner says it’s up to the gay community to stop Julian Fantino from riding what some have called his “gay witch-hunt” back to Toronto.



Downtown Councillor Olivia Chow won’t reveal her choice for

Toronto’s new chief of police, saying she doesn’t want to prejudice the process. And she won’t sling any mud at Fantino, either.



“I don’t want to predetermine what the community will say, who

might apply, and what the criteria would be,” Chow says, who took her seat on the Toronto Police Services Board in June. “In my mind, a new chief would be someone who understands community policing, and does not have homophobic or sexist attitudes or actions in the past.



“It’s not directly answering your question, but someone who might

point us in the right direction.”



Fantino left Toronto a few years ago, after getting caught leaking crime statistics based on race while he was head of 31 Division.



He became chief of London’s police.



There, Fantino created a stir over a mysterious child pornography ring. In the end, dozens of charges were laid in Project Guardian – many of them against adult men hiring underaged male hustlers.



In one instance, a 27-year-old man was branded a paedophile and banned from seeing his 17-year-old lover for two years.



London gay activists condemned Fantino’s “gay witch-hunt,” and a number of the “victims” have asked him to stay out of their sex lives.



Fantino took a run at the Toronto chief’s job when the call went out last time, in 1994 – only to lose out to compromise candidate, David Boothby, promoted from within.



Fantino has since moved closer – to York Region.



Current Toronto Chief Boothby announced back in May that he wouldn’t seek to renew his contract. Now he’s operating as a lame duck, though he’s on the job until Feb 28, 2000.



Fantino’s unofficially hoping to ride a broom back to Toronto. And he’s likely to be on the city’s short list this time around, too.



Although Chow’s holding her cards close, she says the gay community better make itself heard real soon if it wants a top cop it can work with.



“I think what the community can do is actually have a session – sponsored by Xtra, maybe – a round table discussion with community leaders for people to say, if we’re looking for a chief, what kind of people are we looking for? What are some of the qualities we want?



“Let’s put together a two-pager that describes this ideal chief and submit it.”



Meanwhile, one of Chow’s first tasks as a police commissioner was to moved a motion requiring the city to hire a management firm to search for a new chief. She says the process with be a public and open one.



Someone should by hired by November.



As for Fantino’s chances, Chow says it’s too early to say.



“I don’t know,” she says. “I don’t know. I’m one out of seven votes.”