NIPISSING FIRST NATION (October 12, 2006) – Anishinabek Nation leaders are congratulating new Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino on his appointment, while reminding him of the importance of maintaining good relationships with First Nations in the province.
“Although we have all the confidence in Mr. Fantino, we hope that the government and the OPP is not off on the wrong foot, given our exclusion from the selection process for the new Commissioner,” said John Beaucage, Grand Council Chief representing 42 First Nations in Ontario.
“There are a lot of expectations on the shoulders of Commissioner Fantino – ensuring our safety, enhancing First Nations policing services, and maintaining the good relationships created by former Commissioner Gwen Boniface between the OPP and First Nations in Ontario.”
The Grand Council Chief called on Fantino, a former Toronto police chief who currently serves as Ontario’s emergency management commissioner, to address the significant gaps in First Nations policing services.¼br> “We have communities going without adequate policing services.  Response times of 20 to 30 minutes by officers who may not know our communities is just not acceptable,” added Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
Beaucage said one of Fantino’s first challenges as commissioner of the 7,000-member provincial force will be to handle the eight-month-old land claims standoff at Caledonia.
“We trust that he would dismiss arguments from groups favouring a confrontational and violent means of dealing with the situation in Caledonia.  We have all seen the tragic results of the Ipperwash approach,” concluded Beaucage.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.