Julian Fantino to defend himself again against racism claims
Julian Fantino, March 7, 2012, in Woodbridge. (QMI Agency/STAN BEHAL)
OTTAWA - Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino has to once again prove that he wasn't being racist when he fired a First Nations police chief.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario exonerated Fantino in 2010 but the former police chief, Lawrence Hay, asked the province's Divisional Court to reject the decision and order the case re-heard.
Arguments on Hay's application begin Monday in Toronto.
Hay claims that Fantino, who was commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police in the late 2000s, is a racist.
Hay's court factum alleges he was fired because he is aboriginal and as a reprisal for insulting the country's police forces.
Hay is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and in 1998, after serving 19 years in the RCMP, became a First Nations constable and police chief for the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service, in southeastern Ontario.
Hay told a student newspaper in 2007 that the RCMP, as well as the provincial police forces in Ontario and Quebec were "racist organizations."
In reaction to the comments, Fantino fired Hay in 2008 after an investigation. Fantino said that Hay's comments hurt relations between the OPP and aboriginal communities.
The Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Fantino's actions were justified and "not because of racist or culturally insensitive attitudes held by (Fantino)."
Fantino's court factum states that Hay refused to co-operate in the investigation and adds that the tribunal's decision was "reasonable and consistent with legal principles."
Fantino's office did not respond to QMI Agency's request for comment.