Tuesday, February 1, 2000


p. A16.


Operation Trouble

The Toronto Police Association says it will end the most controversial parts of its fundraising campaign, Operation True Blue. It will stop handing out windshield decals to supporters, and has disowned earlier statements that it would hire people to investigate its political enemies.

Unfortunately, the rest of the operation continues; and if a newspaper advertisement by the union on Sunday was any indication of its bloody-mindedness, it may take the courts to shut the campaign down.

The ad said the media's response to the campaign had been "largely hysterical and based on false and misleading reports of our intentions. We have been accused of attempting to undermine democratic principles, in particular the 'bullying' and 'intimidation' of public officials. None of these accusations is true."

Perhaps we can refresh the union's memory. When the CBC-TV's the fifth estate spoke last year with union president Craig Bromell, it asked him, "Are you a bully?" He replied, "You can call me a bully." The interview continued:

Q: We understand that you were told by the L.A. guys that one way to get instant respect was to take down a mayor or a city councillor.

A: Correct. I think that if you found somebody who is an enemy of the police, we don't want him around. So you try and get him kicked out of office. Pretty simple. You're gonna keep all the other loud mouths… shut.

Q: That sounds like intimidation.

A: You can call it that.

Since the union remains intent on calling people at home to raise money on the police's behalf to (as the ad put it) "participate in the electoral process by supporting public officials who agree with" its position on law and order — and, by definition, working to defeat those who don't — the intimidation continues.

In its ad, the union claimed that a regulation under the Police Services Act "specifically permits the Toronto Police Association to raise funds through telesales." No, it doesn't. It gives the union a narrow exemption from what would otherwise be a "corrupt practice" under the act: "directly or indirectly soliciting or receiving a gratuity or present without the consent of the chief of police."

Elsewhere, the regulations clearly bar any police officer from the political activity of "soliciting or receiving funds." The association leaders remain police officers even while leading the union; that's why union representatives had to be specifically exempted from the "corrupt practice' noted above.

Operation True Blue must stop. If the union won't obey the law, the courts will have to force its leaders to comply.

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 7, 2000
Last modified: October 7, 2000
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