Police Chief Blair gets a pulpit.

It has been almost two years since Police Chief Bill Blair’s people ran roughshod over human rights at the G20 event in Toronto. Canadians watching the news at that time were horrified at the failure of the Toronto Police, augmented by police from across Canada, to rein in a group of anarchists on a rampage and the following day taking their revenge on helpless bystanders by kettling them in one instance and brutally attacking them in others. We finally had an opportunity to hear Chief Blair’s side this past Sunday on Global Television’s Focus Ontario.

This program is considered a pulpit because it is speaker-friendly. Hosted by John Tory, a former leader of the Ontario Conservative Party and news reader Leslie Roberts, the public affairs program is not known for sand-bagging guests or being particularly tough in its questioning. Chief Blair was allowed to use this friendly venue to go on at some length about how his police are so good at facilitating peaceful protests for our citizens.

It is more than a week since Gerry McNeilly of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director issued his 300-page report condemning police actions at the Toronto G20. The report states that ‘It is fortunate that, in all the confusion, there were no deaths.’

For all the anguish caused and the 1100 people whose rights were ignored when illegally detained by police, the report only recommends that 35 police officers be disciplined. What the report lacks is a condemnation of Blair. He should have been fired immediately after the event. He asked the Attorney General of Ontario under what law he could keep citizens away from the G20 meeting site. He was given the wrong law, he had to know it was wrong and he did not question it.

And then he allowed inaccurate information to be spread about the law supposedly protecting the summit.

The event itself was a failure in intelligence in more ways than one. With combined resources from national, provincial and municipal police forces across Canada, Blair was unable to place sufficient police among the crowds to keep track of what was happening. He was blind-sided by some anarchists who could have been stopped. He left them to their rampage. They did it when he was responsible.

The anarchists were used as an excuse to come down hard on the gawkers and bystanders. The mass arrests were a disgrace for Canada. They were also a disgrace for the politicians who made no protests.

Prime Minister Harper was to blame for wasting our money on a summit in a stupid location. Tony Clement had spent enough on Huntsville for a dozen G20 events.

Premier McGuinty and his Attorney General were to blame. We never saw them when the police were trampling on citizens’ rights.

And since Chief Blair did not have the grace to resign for his part in this, he should be fired. He disgraced Toronto, our province and our country.


Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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