Chief Blair opposes arrogance and entitlement?

It seems that Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair wants his police officers to work to a higher standard. We hear he has made a video for his officers to complain about their culture of arrogance and entitlement. He is reported to have said in the video that “you don’t get to be an idiot in our uniform. You don’t get to be an idiot diminishing our organization…”

But what Blair seems to have failed to do was identify the chief idiot.

Who can forget the events of the summer of 2010? If there had been a proper judicial enquiry into the actions of police during the G20, Chief Bill Blair would have been fired. His police can hide their name tags, they can brutalize citizens, they can run rampant but there is a point when you find the person in charge and hold that person responsible. And that person is the Toronto Chief of Police.

He started by doing the right thing. He asked. He asked the Ontario government what law allowed him to keep citizens away from the zone being created—and fenced off—around the G20 meeting area. He was hardly given some secret law. He was given a hastily drafted regulation related to the Public Works Protection Act. All it offered was a description of the area being reserved for the G20 Summit. It allowed his police to restrict entry to the area.

The rest was pretence and sham. Bill Blair lied about his police authority that weekend. He had not been told to keep citizens away from the G20 area—only to keep them out. He had no special authority to chase peaceful crowds meeting in the area around Queen’s Park. He had no right at all to kettle peaceful citizens many city blocks away from the G20 meeting. He had no right to imprison anyone without charges.

And where he was irresponsibly derelict was in standing back and allowing a group of anarchists to create mayhem on normally peaceful streets in Toronto. He deliberately used the actions of a few to oppress the majority of citizens. It is a tactic of despots from the beginning of time.

Mr. Blair is probably very proud of himself for how he handled the G20 event in Toronto. His actions were not those of someone with the moral backbone to lecture others on their responsibilities to the citizens of Toronto. He owes Torontonians and Canadians his deepest apologies and his resignation as chief of police.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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