Rob Ford ran a campaign for Mayor of Toronto based on the concept of respect for taxpayers. Now he’s mayor-elect, taking office in December. Is Rob Ford really going to show respect for taxpayers, or was it all a sham just to get elected?
Now admittedly Rob Ford’s campaign was about financial respect. He has for years complained about city hall wasting taxpayer money. But what use is ‘financial respect’, if he shows no respect for the people themselves?
Specifically I’m talking about the policing situation during the G8 and G20 meetings which ran from June 25 to June 27, 2010 (further information on the G8 and G20 summits can be found at the G8 Information Center and the G20 Information Center, both of which sites are operated by the University of Toronto, and of course the Wikipedia G8 and G20 pages.).
During the G8 and G20 meetings, it became apparent that there is a rogue element of the Toronto Police Service. This rogue element took advantage of security concerns to abuse the public that they are sworn ‘To Serve and Protect’ (the Toronto Police Service slogan), and to breach the values exposed in the Toronto Police Service’s Mission Statement. I don’t believe that this rogue element is a large portion of the force. I’ve known too many cops, and the vast majority take their charge seriously. But there are always a few bad apples, and you cannot store rotten apples with good apples, or the rot will spread to the good ones as well.
I am making a serious charge, but I have the material to back it up. While I was not in Toronto during that time period myself, a lot of others were. Many of them have made statements, there is documentary footage available, and there are the admissions of the Police Service and Special Investigation Unit as well.
Let’s start with the most famous man in Toronto Police uniform, Constable Adam Josephs aka Officer Bubbles, who I mentioned in an earlier article. Constable Josephs is now suing everyone in sight, because they are being unfair to him, by judging him by his actions. Based on his actions, his employers, the people of Toronto should fire him, through their elected representative. Yes Rob Ford, we are talking about you. How can you claim to respect the people of Toronto, if you allow a bad apple like Adam Josephs to remain in uniform? If you don’t believe me, watch the video.
And that’s not the only video available. Thanks to a column written by Joe Warmington at ‘Fox News North’ (The Toronto Sun), I was alerted to the Toronto G20 Exposed site. The operator has been assembling footage from a variety of sources, and a DVD will be available soon. Oh yes, and Office Bubbles has a role. Here’s the teaser:
Isn’t that awful? Should your employees be allowed to treat you in this manner? What do you think Rob, would you put up with this sort of thing?
How about John Pruyn, who had his artificial leg torn off by police, and who had a picture of his arrest included in a MacLeans Magazine article titled G20 Thugs Don’t Deserve a Break. Curiously the online version of the article doesn’t show the picture of John, but thankfully someone scanned the hardcopy version, so we have a record.
How about the ninety Quebecers who came to protest, and were arrested at the University of Toronto dormitory where they were staying. The charges against them were eventually dropped, but the treatment they received at the hands of police was inexcuseable.
Christopher Hume writes for the Globe and Mail, and in an article on the more recent G20 meeting in Seoul he noted that we showed ourselves to be nasty oafs. Sorry Chris, gotta disagree with you on this one. It wasn’t you or I that were kicking and beating up protesters, it was the police. They, our employees, were the oafs. And right now we are waiting on another employee, Rob Ford, to prove that he wasn’t lying when he said he respected taxpayers.
In Toronto, the Special Investigations Unit is supposed to investigate police malfeasance. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? The only problem is that the Special Investigations Unit was under investigation itself at the time of the summits. The investigation into the SIU resulted in the Marin Report, which made 46 recommendations. However the report was actually completed before the summit, although it wasn’t released until October. Implementation of many of the recommendations will require legislative action, and so isn’t likely to help the protesters and bystanders who were assaulted by police.
Oh, and just before it’s release, they replaced the director of the SIU. Let me get this straight, you’ve got an agency that is under investigation, and you appoint a new director just before the report is tabled? The new director could be the greatest guy in the universe, but now he’s hobbled. Because he was appointed in a back room manner, he will never have legitimacy with the public he supposedly serves. In fact the impression is that he was appointed to cover something up, and that is an impression he will have to live with. I’m surprised that a man with his experience accepted the post under those conditions.
And of course there’s the supposed SIU website. I say supposed, because this is what you get when you try to view it:
Assuming that maybe it just didn’t like Firefox, I tried Safari:
Oh, that’s better. What a fantastic website! You have to worry about the competence of an agency if they can’t even get their website working properly. My thanks to @pmoharper on Twitter for pointing this out – here’s his screen grab.
Catherine Porter of the Toronto Star has written an excellent article about the problems. Catherine attended hearings into the actions of police during G8-G20 summits conducted by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and National Union of Public and General Employees. In her words:
I sat in a plain, ordinary downtown hotel seminar room for two days this week, listening, one after another, to utterly jarring stories of police sadism at the G20.
Tales of women forced to pee through their jeans. Naked students ordered to lift their testicles for inspection. A woman snatched from a downtown corner and dropped off near midnight in the shadows of Scarborough, no directions or hope of finding her way home.
The hearings by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and National Union of Public and General Employees were focused on the summit this past summer in Toronto. But it often felt like a history lesson on 1935 Germany.
That last sentence of hers is terrifying in it’s simplicity. It’s also terrifying in it’s truth. Again, Rob Ford what are you going to do about it?
And then there’s the article that inspired this rant. The SIU won’t bring charges in the cases of six people injured by the police, because it says it can’t identify them. In some cases the police weren’t wearing badges (which is contrary to police policy). In one case the badge number written on a charge sheet doesn’t even exist!
There is only one reason for a police officer not to wear his or her badge, and that is because they intended to break the law, and wanted to avoid identification. Ninety police officers were docked a day’s pay for not wearing their badges during the twin summits. Chief Bill Blair testified that:
“I have a rule in the Toronto Police Service, it’s my rule, it’s in accordance with the policy of my police services board, that our officers will wear their names displayed on their uniforms,” Chief Blair told the committee.
Instead of being docked a day’s pay, the lot of them should have been fired, for not respecting their chief, and the taxpayers who they work for, don’t you agree Rob Ford?
Or maybe Chief Blair should be fired. If he can’t control his officers, he shouldn’t be in the position. On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t have the authority. Vern White, the Chief of Police of the Ottawa Police Service has raised this issue in the wake of a police assault on a 27 year old woman which only came to light, after Ontario Court Justice Richard Lajoie publicly denounced the woman’s treatment as offensive to human dignity.
The Ottawa Police Services Board is seriously concerned:
Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry also expressed concern that the public be kept fully informed of the disposition of the SIU investigation, suggesting the provincial agency should hold a public forum when it releases the results of its investigation.
El-Chantiry has said previously that he found the incident “disturbing,” and was worried that the police department’s reputation among immigrants and community groups that do not generally trust police could be damaged.
Chief Vern White would like to see police chiefs given more authority to handle rogue officers. His concerns are similar to the Board Chairman’s, that the public will loose faith in the police, unless the officers involved are properly punished, or removed from police service.
His concerns would require legislative changes by the Provincial Government. The premier says he’s shaken by this case. Of course he really didn’t have much choice about saying that, after the video was released, click here to view it (there was something wrong with the embed code).
But this is the same Government that was responsible for security for the twin summits, and has been claiming that everything was properly done, that there were no problems. In fact the government recently blocked a private member’s bill calling for an inquiry.
If the Premier is so upset about a strip search in Ottawa, why isn’t be upset about police beating bystanders in his capital? Possibly because he appointed the man who ran the twin summit security farce. Julian Fantino is a former head of the Toronto Police Service, and a former head of the Ontario Provincial Police. He is now running for a Federal Parliament seat in Vaughn as a Conservative. Julian doesn’t like the Charter of Rights, which as a cop he was supposed to uphold. Apparently the Liberals wanted him too, but the Conservatives lost. Yes, I said lost. Oh, I suspect he will win the seat, but Fantino isn’t a team player, he’s used to being the boss, and is likely to be a loose cannon in Ottawa. I suspect the Conservatives may end up wishing that the Liberals had got him.
But back to twin summit security, Fantino is the man responsible for the hordes of armed and armored cops roving Toronto, arresting and beating innocent bystanders (see note at end). In fact in some quarters it has been suggested that Chief Bill Blair has been hung out to dry to protect Fantino’s reputation so he can get elected, never mind the reputation of the man who appointed him, Premier Dalton McGuinty (also unaffectionately known as Dalton McSquinty in some quarters).
Now I’ve been yelling at Rob Ford, the respecter of the taxpayer all through this. No, he can’t fire the Premier. No, he can’t stop Fantino from running for office. And no, he can’t do much about the Federal Government, which didn’t show any respect for the taxpayer when it blew close to a Billion Canadian Dollars on the twin summits.
But as mayor, he can conduct an investigation, and release the findings. And if he really respects the taxpayers, that’s exactly what he will do. Because without that information, the taxpayer can’t take action, i.e. change their vote to punish the guilty parties.
Yes, we need to get those rogue cops out of Toronto Police Service Uniforms, but at the same time, we have to recognize that it is politicians who put them there, politicians who are our EMPLOYEES. And while we can’t directly fire the rogue cops, we can directly fire the politicians.
Rob Ford? What are you going to do?
Saturday November 27, 2010
Note: For those who think I’m overdoing this, after watching videos of burning police cars, consider this. To the best of my knowledge not one charge laid during the twin summits is being proceeded with. If someone throwing a molotov cocktail at a police car had have been injured during arrest, injuries will occur sometimes when a violent subject is being arrested. Injuries that occur when arresting a subject who’s charges are then dropped are another matter entirely.