An MP explains Julian Fantino

By all accounts, Ed Holder, the MP for London West, is popular among his colleagues from all sides of the house. He is also, I am told, popular back in London, where, in 2008, he upset Liberal incumbent Sue Barnes and then successfully defended his seat in 2011. But Holder, like, I suspect, a lot of Conservative backbench MPs who work hard and are popular enough back home in their constituencies, has had to take some uncomfortable questions from his voters about some recent behaviour by Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino [Video here gives a you flavour of how upset veterans are] Fantino issued an apology himself today.

Londoners would know Fantino, of course, because Fantino used to be the city’s chief of police.

Today, Holder issued the latest issue of his electronic newsletter “Holder’s Happenings” with this opening anecdote/explanation about Fantino. I find it noteworthy for his tone but also for its substance. Conservative MPs, I’m pretty sure, cannot be seen to be uncaring about veterans:

This week, I received a copy of a book from a World War II Veteran who now lives in British Columbia. The gentleman’s name is Frederick Price and the book he has written, Wounded…Three Times in 70 Days, reflects on his memories and experiences during the War. What is particularly poignant is that he served with my Dad – Donald Holder and my Uncle Byron Holder with the New Brunswick Rangers Regiment. They enlisted on September 01, 1939 when war was declared against Hitler. I suppose in some ways it was new and exciting for them; it certainly was a slow time economically where my Dad came from (Holderville if you didn’t know) and in the advent of the depression and with the prospect of a job, an adventure and a sense of doing the right thing, they enlisted. So did my Mom’s brother, Chuck McIntyre, from Glace Bay, Cape Breton who enlisted with the 48th Highlanders. Fast forward to 1962 and I am eight years old. I went up to the attic in our house, opened up a trunk and discovered my Dad’s medals and dog tags. I rushed downstairs declaring my dad a hero. He said “I’m no hero, son”. I protested that he had medals so he had to be a hero. He gently pushed back and challenged me to do ‘good things’ out there when I grew up and I would get my own medals.

You see, Dad never talked about the war. I now know it was because his brother, Byron never came home. He is buried in Belgium at the cemetery in Ardagem along with 700 other Canadian soldiers. I had the personal honour to visit my uncle’s gravesite and will forever respect his service and the memories of the others who also never came home. How can we not also honour today’s Veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much in the name of Canadian values and to make this world a better place?

I have the most profound respect for our Veterans – and I say with conviction as do all Members of Parliament. I know that to be the case. Emotions were pretty evident this week in the House when one of the most honourable people I know, Minister Julian Fantino apologized for a perceived slight to several Veterans. You all know the Chief. He spent many years in charge of our London Police Service and served our community with distinction. He put the needs of Londoners first. He served in several other forces including his role as Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police. Julian has the deepest respect for Veterans as he continues leading a review of the New Veterans Charter. It’s interesting that much of the perception of how Veterans are regarded by the government centres around the closing of 9 Veterans Affairs offices across Canada. The decision was made to provide greater support for Veterans by utilizing every Service Canada Centre across Canada. That number is around 650 offices. As well, for those Veterans who require a home visit, they will be more easily accommodated. That’s the plan, and as we work through providing a consistent level of service across the country, I believe our Veterans will be better served. I think if you reflect on the levels of benefits available to Veterans today, you know they are significantly greater than at any time in Canada’s military history. To honour the memories of my father, Uncle Byron, Uncle Chuck – and to honour the service of Frederick Price, all Veterans, and those who died in the service of Canada, that is how it should be.

8 thoughts on “An MP explains Julian Fantino”

  1. Fantino is a walking traffic accident. His approach to policing is Broderick Crawford with a hammer. He enslaved all or Ontario with moronic traffic laws because he could not control the chaos that was limited to the GTA. He is a dinosaur that gets shuffled from post to post because of his latest embarassing behavior. We need people who know how to solve problems not just find someone to blame. John McPolin

  2. So, the Minister’s apology says he is “committed to having an open dialogue with the men and women who served Canada in uniform.” His approach as the Toronto Police Chief was the same, I speak and you listen. Notice the carefully crafted statement said the Minister “remains deeply committed to meeting with them and listening” which is hard to do when you are talking. He will continue to “do what’s right to support those who have stood up for Canada” because he thinks only the politicians have stood up for Canada and Federal tax dollars are for them. We had saying in the Canadian Armed Forces. “Nothing is too good for the men. Nothing is what they will get.”

  3. I have been lucky in that I have never had to go to war. I do how ever have two Uncles and two Grandfathers who did, not to mention 3 Cousins, 1 still serving, 1 retired and 1 deceased. Given we still have armed forces and given the new challanges facing these soldiers, (referring to many publisized suicides recently), I would have thought that Veteran’s Affairs would have looked at an expansion of their services, not a retraction. From the video shown on the news last night, Fantino arrived very late, and you could see him trying to leave pretty much as soon as he got there. He definitely one of those guys that has no time for you if you don’t agree with him.

  4. Just because Mr. Holder thinks Mr. Fantino respects veterans doesn’t make it so. I think Mr. Fantino is a self serving politician. I remember when he was police chief of London and he headed operation “Angel”. I believe it did more harm than good, I believe one honourable fellow commited suicide because of harrassment. When Mr. Fantino was running for his present position he refused to debate the other candidates. I also believe, like some veterans, that Mr. Fantino is a bully. Wasn’t there also some contoversy over his handling of the force when he was O.P.P. commisioner? Exiling certain outspoken officers to prevent certain testamony? Lots of questions floating around about Mr. Fantino.

  5. Fantino’s slight was not perceived. I watched the film with absolute disbelief. He scolded the veterans as if they were naughty children and then had the audacity to walk out on them. He, like too many others, has forgotten who his employer is. I’ll remind him – it’s the people of Canada. A culture that cannot celebrate its seniors and doesn’t respect its veterans is shameful.

  6. re your article on WWII veteran Frederick Price. War was declared by Great Britain on Sunday September 3rd. I was 11 yrs old & remember Neville Chamberlin announcements at 11 am.. I may be astray but I thought Canada declared war a few days later by Mackenzie King.

  7. Mr. Fantino Will show our veterans about the same amount of respect and consideration he showed the citizens of Caledonia Ontario absolutely none!

  8. I can’t believe that a sitting government who cries for us to support the military financially through fighter jets and numerous other pieces of equipment has the audacity to treat veterans this way. I am ashamed of the way our men and women have been treated, both by this and previous governments. These men and women have given selflessly through years of service, and at many times through years of torment. The lack of support for those who return from abroad with countless physical and mental scars is incomprehensible. The fact that Fantino thinks a veteran of 90 plus years of age would be better of with an app instead of an actual person shows just how far out of touch he is. If he was half the man that he has been trumped up to be, he would have shown some backbone, stood up in his ministerial role and fought for those who have fought for him. Once again his true character has come shining through, he is a great poitician no doubt, and he continues to prove it every time he jumps up does what he’s told, I wonder what he is in line for next? Must be a pretty important position to completely sell out for it.

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