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The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday January 6, 2011
Julian Fantino may just be the best thing ever to happen for seniors in this country. Or not.

Let me explain. Over the last two decades, it's been a rare thing to have an advocate for the country's seniors sitting at the cabinet table.

Until Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Sen. Marjory LeBreton as secretary of state for seniors in early 2007, Canada's seniors had not had such an advocate since Brian Mulroney had Monique Vezina take over that job in his final cabinet shuffle in 1993.

Fantino, on the other hand, arrives in the seniors portfolio with a champion's halo about him, having won a byelection in the Ontario riding of Vaughan last fall that had been held for more than 20 years by Liberals.

But more than just that, Fantino was a "star candidate," with a long and sometimes colourful career in policing.

As the top cop of the Ontario Provincial Police, Fantino was accused of being biased in favour of aboriginal groups in a land dispute centred around Caledonia, Ont. A petition was circulated at one point calling for a public inquiry into his handling of the dispute. One of those who signed that petition? None other than Diane Finley, who, as minister of human resources and skills development, is now Fantino's ministerial boss.

Earlier in his career, while he was a top detective in Toronto, he was accused by another cop of ordering wiretaps on a friend of Susan Eng, who was then the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board. Fantino denied such an order was ever given and the allegation was never proven. Continued...

Seniors get a star
Center lower