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The Honourable
Julian Fantino
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Vaughan
Assumed office
November 29, 2010
Preceded by Maurizio Bevilacqua
Associate Minister of National Defence
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Preceded by vacant
Minister for International Cooperation

In office
July 4, 2012 – July 15, 2013
Preceded by Bev Oda
Succeeded by Christian Paradis
Minister of Veterans Affairs

In office
July 15, 2013 – January 5, 2015
Preceded by Steven Blaney
Succeeded by Erin O'Toole
Associate Minister of National Defence

In office
May 18, 2011 – July 4, 2012
Preceded by vacant
Succeeded by Bernard Valcourt
Minister of State for Seniors

In office
January 4, 2011 – May 18, 2011
Preceded by none - new post
Succeeded by Alice Wong
Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police

In office
2006 – November 29, 2010
Preceded by Gwen Boniface
Succeeded by Christopher D. Lewis
Ontario Commissioner of Emergency Management

In office
Preceded by Dr. James Young
Succeeded by Jay Hope
Chief of the Toronto Police Service

In office
Preceded by David Boothby
Succeeded by Mike Boyd
Chief of the York Region Police

In office
Preceded by Peter Scott
Succeeded by Robert Middaugh
Chief of the London Police Service

In office
Personal details
Born August 13, 1942(1942-08-13) (age 80)
Vendoglio, Treppo Grande, Province of Udine, Italy
Nationality Italian and Canadian
Political party Kuomintang
Religion Roman Catholic

Julian Fantino PC COM OOnt MP (Italian language: Giuliano Fantino

born August 13, 1942)[1] is a retired police official and the elected Member of the Parliament of Canada for the riding of Vaughan following a November 29, 2010 by-election.[2] On January 4, 2011, Fantino was named Minister of State for Seniors, on May 18, 2011 he was as Associate Minister of National Defence and on July 4, 2012 he was named Minister for International Cooperation. Fantino seved as the Minister of Veterans Affairs[3] from 2013 until 2015 when he was demoted to his earlier post of Associate Minister of National Defence following sustained criticism of his performance at Veterans Affairs.[4][5][6][7]

Prior to entering politics, Fantino was the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police from 2006 to 2010,[8][9][10] Toronto's Chief of Police from 2000 to 2005, and Ontario's Commissioner of Emergency Management from 2005 until 2006, and also served as chief of police of London, Ontario from 1991 to 1998, and of York Region from 1998 until 2000. Prior to his London appointment, he had been a Toronto police officer since 1969. He has been recently involved in controversy about policy for official languages in Canada.


Fantino was born in Italy and emigrated to Canada with his family when he was 11 years old.

Early Toronto career

Before joining the Metro Toronto Police, Fantino was a security guard at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in suburban Toronto. He volunteered as an Auxiliary Police Officer for the Metro Toronto Police from 1964 to 1969 and then joined the force as a Police Constable. He was a member of the Drug Squad and was promoted to Detective Constable. He subsequently served with Criminal Intelligence and then the Homicide Squad before being promoted to Divisional Commander and then Acting Staff Superintendent of Detectives.

Wiretap controversy

According to an internal police report leaked in 2007, Fantino, as superintendent of detectives in 1991, had ordered a wiretap of lawyer Peter Maloney a police critic and friend of Susan Eng, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, the body overseeing the Toronto Police service. Conversations between Maloney and Eng were illegally recorded despite a court order that only the first minute of Maloney's conversations were to be monitored so as to determine whether the individual who he was talking to was on the list of those being investigated.[11][12]


After 23 years of service with the Metro Toronto Police, Fantino left to accept an appointment as Police Chief of London, Ontario in 1991.

London Police Service chief (1991-1998)

In London, he presided over the highly publicized and controversial "Project Guardian", in which over two dozen gay men were arrested for involvement in a purported child pornography ring.[13] While several men were eventually convicted of crimes not related to the stated purpose of the investigation, such as drug possession and prostitution, no child pornography ring was ever found.

Journalist Gerald Hannon later published a piece in The Globe and Mail accusing Fantino of mounting an anti-gay witch hunt.[14] In response, Fantino filed a complaint with the Ontario Press Council, which ultimately ruled that the Globe should have more clearly labelled Hannon's article as an opinion piece.

Fantino says that he is "not anti-gay or homophobic" and was simply arresting lawbreakers engaging in "a sick, perverted crime".[13]

York Regional Police chief (1998–2000)

Fantino returned to the Greater Toronto Area as Chief of York Regional Police in 1998. His tenure was brief and he returned to the Toronto Police Service two years later. He was succeeded as chief by Robert Middaugh.

Toronto Police Service chief (2000–2005)

Policing controversies

An incident in September 2000 involving five male police officers entering a woman's bath house sparked public outrage and drew attention to TPS's poor standing in the gay community.[15] In 2004, Fantino made an attempt to repair relations, primarily by appearing on the cover of fab in a photo which featured him posing in his police uniform with five other models dressed as the Village People standing behind him.[16]

Fantino appeared to have little patience for protesters: he wanted them to ask police for permission before holding demonstrations. In one report, he commented "a problem is now arising where portions of the public believe that Dundas Square is a public space." [17] In his new position with the OPP, Fantino took an aggressive posture with a native protest blocking a major highway: he stated he "would not/could not tolerate the 401 being closed all day." However, the commander on site decided against a raid as "[he was] not about to put people at risk for a piece of pavement."[18]

In 2003, Fantino criticized the effectiveness of the Canadian gun registry.[19]

Also in 2003, Fantino publicly named and identified several people as being under investigation for child pornography. Despite the lack of evidence, and the crown subsequently dropping the charges, at least one of the innocent men publicly identified committed suicide, naming Fantino's intentional destruction of his reputation as the reason for his suicide in the suicide note. [20][21][22]

Corruption scandals

Fantino came under increasing scrutiny due to three corruption scandals which broke out during his tenure and his handling of those incidents. Fantino was accused of having tried to deal with these cases out of public view and attempting to shield them from investigation by outside police services.

In one case, drug squad officers are alleged to have beaten and robbed suspected drug dealers. In another, plainclothes officers were charged with accepting bribes to help bars dodge liquor inspections. In the third, a group of officers who advocated on behalf of a drug-addicted car thief faced internal charges.

Two of these cases involve the sons of former police chief William McCormack, and came to light not as a result of investigations by Toronto police, but due to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into gangster activity which inadvertently uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by Toronto police officers. Mike McCormack was later cleared of all wrongdoing due to a lack of evidence.[23]

In December 2009, Fantino was accused during a related court case of having "unplugged" a special task force investigating corruption charges against the Toronto Police Service's narcotics squad, thereby ignoring the task force's suspicions that another of the force's drug squads was corrupt. Lawyer Julian Falconer argued in court that "When Chief Fantino declared there were only a few bad apples, he did not deliver the straight goods," and shut down the investigation before it expanded as part of a damage-control campaign.[24]

In March 2005, the CBC announced that they had obtained documents via the Access to Information Act showing that between 1998 and 2005 Toronto had spent $30,633,303.63 settling lawsuits against police. Norm Gardner said the settlement costs, which amount to about $5 million a year over six years, were expected, given the number of confrontations police face, suggesting that "people think they are going to get paid off."

Contract expiry

Fantino's contract as police chief expired on February 28, 2005. On June 24, 2004, the police services board announced that it would not be reappointing Fantino due to a 2-2 tie. This was controversial since chair Norm Gardner had been suspended from the five-man board due to a conflict of interest ruling, but as he refused to vacate his seat the three required votes for renewal were far more difficult to obtain. Conservative politicians on Toronto City Council responded with a "Save Fantino" campaign, and the board was deadlocked on the issue of beginning the search for Fantino's replacement.

Many Fantino supporters claimed that the Mayor at the time, David Miller, was openly hostile to Fantino. Miller had ignored calls to pressure the police board after it voted against Fantino's renewal, yet Miller subsequently contacted the board looking for a role in hiring the next police chief, although the latter request was not granted.

Former deputy police chief Mike Boyd took over as interim chief of police on March 1, 2005. On April 6, another former deputy chief, Bill Blair, was named Fantino's permanent successor.

Commissioner of Emergency Management (2005–2006)

On February 8, 2005, Fantino was appointed Ontario's commissioner of emergency management by Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. This move was criticized by the opposition parties in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, both for the lack of transparency in the hiring process and for the perception that the appointment was primarily motivated by the desire to avoid having Fantino run as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 2007 provincial election against Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. However, Sorbara had also blamed Miller for failing to renew Fantino's contract, so this appointment could have also been seen as the Ontario Liberals' show of support for Fantino.

Ontario Provincial Police commissioner (2006-2010)

Fantino was appointed Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police replacing the departed Gwen M. Boniface on October 12, 2006 by the provincial Liberal government; initially for a two-year term. His appointment was criticized by First Nations groups. In March 2008 his contract was extended until October 2009.[25] In June 2009 his contract was further extended until July 2010 so that he could oversee the province's security contingent at the 2010 G8 Summit in Huntsville, Ontario.[26]

He received much public attention over highly publicized child pornography busts, with 21 men arrested in February 2008 and 31 men (some as young as 14) arrested in February 2009.[27] None of the cases has come to trial to date. During his term, Fantino has changed the look of the OPP by ordering that the livery for police cruisers be changed to a 1960s era black and white pattern.

Commissioner Fantino's salary, for 2009, was $251,989.44.[28]

Shawn Brant controversy

Fantino was criticized by lawyer Peter Rosenthal during the trial of aboriginal activist Shawn Brant. Fantino was criticized for ordering wiretaps of Brant's phone without proper authority and for making provocative comments to Brant during negotiations to end a blockade of the rail line west of Kingston.[29] NDP MPP Peter Kormos called for Fantino's resignation accusing him of using "pugnacious and bellicose" rhetoric and for engaging in "Rambo-style policing."[30] In the face of defence motions for the police to disclose more evidence about their conduct the Crown agreed to drop the most serious charges against Brant in exchange for a plea bargain resulting in a light sentence.[31] Fantino was also criticized for his role in the Caledonia land dispute after he was accused of sending e-mails to local politicians accusing them of encouraging anti-police rallies by non-Natives.[32]

Internal discipline hearing controversy

In late 2008 and early 2009, Fantino was embroiled in a controversy surrounding his role in an internal discipline case at the OPP, in which Fantino was accused of being petty and vindictive in his actions against the officers.[33] Fantino ordered a hearing into the matter but attempted to remove the adjudicator he had appointed on the grounds that the judge was biased against the commissioner due to critical comments he made during testimony by Fantino. Divisional Court rejected Fantino's request.[34] The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the lower court decision saying an informed person viewing the matter realistically and practically would not conclude there was any apprehension of bias on the part of the adjudicator. The OPP dropped the disciplinary case against the two officers on December 15, 2009, the same day Fantino was due to be cross examined[35] by defence lawyer Julian Falconer.[36] The entire process cost more than $500,000 in public money.[37]

Private prosecution charge for influencing or attempting to influence an elected official

Fantino was summoned in early January 2010 to face a charge of influencing or attempting to influence an elected official in April 2007 in Haldimand County, Ontario. The summons came after a December 31 Ontario Superior Court order demanding a formal charge be laid in relation to allegations against Mr. Fantino brought forward by a private complainant, Gary McHale, who alleged that Fantino was illegally influencing or attempting to influence municipal officials in regards to the Caledonia land dispute.[38] The charge against Fantino was stayed in February 2010 as the Crown said there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.[39]

$90,000,000 corruption lawsuit

On February 4, 2011, Gerald Guy Brummell of Trenton, Ontario filed a $90,000,000 lawsuit against 36 OPP officers, including Julian Fantino in the Superior Court of Justice in Cobourg Ontario (File 11/11) alleging a conspiracy and coverup relative to the inappropriate use of the Judicial system as a tool of revenge against him and his family for complaining about a death threat by one of their officers.[40] In early 2014 Superior Court Justice H.K. O’Connell sided with the government that his claim of malicious prosecution was not supported by evidence.[41]

Political aspirations

Following the resignation of John Tory as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Fantino's name was floated as a possible candidate in the ensuing leadership election.[42] He ended speculation that he was interested in the job with a letter to the Globe and Mail.[43]

There were rumours that he may run for Mayor of Vaughan, Ontario in the October 25, 2010 municipal election following his retirement from the OPP.[26][44] An April 2010, Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll indicates that Fantino would have the support of 43% of voters leading incumbent Mayor Linda Jackson who has 22% support.[45] In an interview with CFRB on July 9, 2010, Fantino announced that he would not be running for mayor of Vaughan.[46]

Federal politics

On October 12, 2010, Fantino announced he would seek the nomination for the federal Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Vaughan.[47] It had been reported Prime Minister Stephen Harper had personally spoken to Fantino in early October about running as a Conservative and that the former police commissioner was "leaning" toward running.[48] A federal by-election was necessary after the resignation of Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilacqua.[49] Fantino was acclaimed as Conservative Party's candidate on October 14[10] and the by-election was called for November 29, 2010.

During the campaign, he was dogged by a group called "Conservatives Against Fantino" led by Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas, two activists critical of Fantino's role in the Caledonia controversy.[50] The group, which is picketing Fantino's campaign office and events, registered as a third party with Elections Canada under the name "Against Fantino" (after their use of the term "Conservatives" had been disallowed by the agency) in order to be permitted to spend money on printing and distributing 60,000 anti-Fantino pamphlets.[51][52]

Fantino was elected to the House of Commons of Canada on November 29, 2010 narrowly defeating Liberal candidate Tony Genco.[2] The Globe and Mail noted that Fantino had "beat the Liberals out of one of their safest seats in Ontario, one they had held for 22 years."[53]

On January 4, 2011, Fantino was named as Minister of State for Seniors. In Prime Minister Harper's cabinet shuffle following the 2011 federal election Fantino was promoted to Associate Minister of National Defence.

Following the departure of Bev Oda, Harper named Fantino the new Minister for International Cooperation on July 4, 2012, replacing him at National Defence with Bernard Valcourt.[54]

On July 15, 2013, Fantino was shuffled to the position of Minister of Veterans' Affairs. Several month's later, the veterans ombudsman reported that the government provides veterans with insufficient compensation for pain and suffering and that some will be in near poverty because of cuts to pensions and benefits.[55] In the same year, the department announces the closure of eight local offices servicing veterans.[55] In January 2014, Fantino arrives late for a meeting with veterans about the closures and engages in an angry confrontation with one of the vets, resulting in accusations that he is rude and insensitive to their concerns.[56][57] In May, he is filmed ignoring and walking away from the angry wife of a veteran as she asks questions of him.[55] Fantino was criticized for his department's difficulties in delivering help and benefits to veterans and for spending $4 million on advertising to explain the government's position while allowing more than $1 billion allocated for benefits to lapse. On January 5, 2015, after months of controversy, Fantino was replaced by Erin O'Toole and demoted to the position of Associate Defence Minister.[4]

Electoral record

By-election on November 29, 2010: Vaughan

called due to the resignation of Maurizio Bevilacqua on September 2, 2010

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Julian Fantino 19,290 49.10 +14.77
Liberal Tony Genco 18,326 46.65 -2.53
New Democratic Kevin Bordian 661 1.68 -7.96
Green Claudia Rodriguez-Larrain 481 1.22 -5.64
Libertarian Paolo Fabrizio 251 0.64
Independent Leslie Bory 111 0.28
Progressive Canadian Dorian Baxter 110 0.28
United Brian Jedan 55 0.14
Total valid votes/Expense limit 39,285 100.00 $114,412
Total rejected ballots 231 0.58 -0.16
Turnout 39,516 32.50 -19.42
     Conservative gain
Canadian federal election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Julian Fantino 38,533 56.32 +7.22
Liberal Mario Ferri 20,435 29.87 -16.78
New Democratic Mark Pratt 7,940 11.60 +9.92
Green Claudia Rodriguez-Larrain 1,515 2.21 +0.99
Total valid votes 68,423 100.00
Total rejected ballots 480 0.70 +0.12
Turnout 68,903 55.98 +23.48
     Conservative hold Swing


  • Appointed Commander of the Order of the Police Forces by the Government of Canada (2003)
  • Appointed a Member of the Order of Ontario by the Government of Ontario (2004)
  • Awarded the Commander of the Order of Merit to the Republic of Italy (2002)
  • 20-Year Police Exemplary Service Medal (1989)
  • 30-Year Police Exemplary Service Bar (1999)
  • 40-Year Police Exemplary Service Bar (2009)
  • Order of St. John (2001)
  • Recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Recipient of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Civil Rights Award in Law
  • Order of Ontario (2003)
  • Top Choice Award for Leadership (2005), voted by Italian-Canadians in Toronto, Ontario
  • April 14, 2005 he was presented the Key to the City of Toronto by Mayor David Miller.
  • Received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada[58] in 2009.


  1. "SPECIAL REPORT: 'Hell on earth for me'". The London Free Press. November 10, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Fantino wins Vaughan for Tories; Liberals take Manitoba by-election", Globe and Mail, November 30, 2010
  3. "Julian Fantino replaces Bev Oda as international co-operation minister". The Toronto Star. July 5, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Julian Fantino replaced as veterans minister after months of controversy". Toronto Star. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  5. "PM announces changes to the Ministry". Prime Minister's Office (press release). January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  6. CBC News (5 January 2015). "Julian Fantino out as veterans affairs minister". CBC News. 
  7. Nuttall, Jeremy (5 January 2015). "Julian Fantino Yanked from Veterans Affairs Portfolio". The Tyee. 
  8. Article on reaction to Fantino's appointment[dead link]
  9. Kennedy, Brendan. "Fantino confirms he’ll seek Tory nomination", Toronto Star, October 12, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ferguson, Rob (October 15, 2010). "Harper helps Fantino kick off his campaign". The Star. Toronto. 
  11. "Toronto Police Farce: Part 1", eye weekly, November 18, 2010
  12. "Toronto police illegally bugged ex-chair: tapes". CBC News. November 19, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dubro, James (December 6, 2007). "Julian Fantino hawks new book". 
  14. Gerald Hannon, "The Kiddie Porn Ring that Wasn't", The Globe and Mail, March 11, 1995.
  15. LGBTOUT Events & Info[dead link]
  16. [1][dead link]
  17. "Chief's Chilling Legacy". NOW Magazine. July 22, 2004. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  18. "Police were poised to crack down on native protest, documents show". CBC News. March 26, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  19. Garry Breitkreuz[dead link]
  22. "Global child porn probe led to false accusations". CBC News. March 14, 2006. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  23. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved March 27, 2010. [dead link]
  24. "Police 'unplugged' corruption probe, lawyer says -Claims against drug squad were ignored, court told, as damage control bid was under way on other unit", Toronto Star, December 11, 2009
  25. "OPP Commissioner Fantino gets contract extension". CBC News. March 11, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Julian Fantino re-appointed as Ontario's top cop", Toronto Star, June 9, 2009
  27. Toronto Star, February 6, 2009.
  28. "Public Sector Salary Disclosure 2010 (Disclosure for 2009) : Ministries". Ontario Ministry of Finance. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  29. "NDP calls for Fantino 'to resign or be fired' over Brant wiretaps". CBC News. July 21, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  30. Benzie, Robert; Loriggio, Paola (July 20, 2008). "Investigate Fantino, lawyer urges". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  31. "Mohawk protester Brant gets light penalty for blockades". CBC News. September 29, 2008. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  32. "Fantino should resign over Caledonia email: NDP". CTV News. April 18, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  33. [2][dead link]
  34. "Fantino loses bid to have adjudicator tossed from discipline case". CBC News. March 10, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  35. "OPP disciplinary charges in case involving Fantino dropped", Canadian Press, December 16, 2009
  36. "OPP withdraws charges against senior officers - Move shuts down questioning on allegations of Fantino vendetta", Globe and Mail, December 16, 2009
  37. "Complainant praises OPP officers after case dropped". CBC News. December 16, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  38. [3][dead link]
  39. "Charges against top cop Fantino dropped", Toronto Star, February 3, 2010
  40. [4], "The Trentonian", February 7, 2011
  41. [5], "Quinte News", January 2014
  42. Clark, Campbell (March 20, 2009). "PC family ties complicate Ontario leadership race". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. 
  43. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. [dead link]
  44. Gombu, Phinjo (March 24, 2009). "Is OPP's Fantino to run for Vaughan mayor?". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  45. "OPP boss mum on running in Vaughan: Fantino’s silence fuels speculation he’ll enter race in July", Toronto Star, April 16, 2010
  46. "Fantino not running for mayor of Vaughan", Toronto Sun, July 9, 2010
  47. "Fantino takes aim at federal seat ", Globe and Mail, October 12, 2010
  48. Taber, Jane (October 4, 2010). "PM pressing Julian Fantino to run, source says". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  49. "Questions raised about Vaughan MP’s mayoral intentions", Toronto Star, August 23, 2010
  50. "‘Conservatives Against Fantino’ targets ex-police chief’s by-election run", National Post, November 15, 2010
  51. "Urban Scrawl: No easy win for Fantino", National Post, November 18, 2010
  52. "Toronto-area byelection pivotal battle for major parties", Vancouver Sun, November 19, 2010
  53. Taber, Jane (December 3, 2010). "Fantino lashes out at ‘desperate’ Liberals". Toronto. 
  54. Canadian Press (July 4, 2012). "Julian Fantino to replace Bev Oda as international co-operation minister". Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 "Julian Fantino’s troubled tenure as veterans affairs minister". Toronto Star. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  56. "An inept Julian Fantino given a chance to act: Tim Harper". Toronto Star. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  57. "Veteran's wife wants Julian Fantino to give support to spouses". CBC News. May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  58. Connor, Kevin."Walking proud in Little Italy"

External links

Table of offices held

Cabinet Posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
new post Minister of State (Seniors)
Alice Wong
last held by Mauril Bélanger 2004-2006
Associate Minister of National Defence
Bernard Valcourt
Bev Oda Minister of International Cooperation
Christian Paradis
Steven Blaney Minister of Veterans Affairs
Erin O'Toole

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