Saturday, February 5, 2000


p. J6.


Bromell backs down — gracelessly

The public firestorm finally got to Craig Bromell.

Roundly denounced by city council, the police services board, the chief and the public. the combative head of Toronto Police Association finally halted "Operation True Blue" on Thursday.

There was no apology from union brass for their inflammatory comments. No admission the controversial fundraising campaign was wrong. Just a press release which cited "misconceptions" as the reason for the decision.

That wasn't enough to spare the union the wrath of Mayor Mel Lastman. "Far too little too late," he said of the union decision. Indeed it was.

This city has had its fill of Bromell and his arrogance.

We've seen city councillors say they've been intimidated by the union; the vice-chair of the police services board say he swept his office for bugs and deputy police chief Bob Kerr say he's scared of Bromell.

Lastman spoke for many when he said "There is no way that this police union executive is going to hold our city hostage.

"I'm a strong supporter of the police. They do a tough job but the union has gone overboard. The bullying and the intimidation by the union has got to stop."

In an adroit move, Lastman said he would neither seek nor accept its backing this time around, should he decide to run again.

And he suggested other members of council to do the same. "I think politicians at every level must take a stand. We do not want support of this kind," he said.

Lastman's move effectively neuters the union, which had threatened to unseat politicians in the upcoming election.

One has to wonder, after what we've seen over the recent weeks, why anyone on council would want the union's endorsement for the November municipal election?

Who would want to be associated with Bromell's kind of law and order — typified by intimidation, bullying and the open defiance of the chief's orders.

Politicians referred to the debacle as a "soap opera." But it was far more serious than that. the union was in full revolt against its civilian overseers and the chief. That was a situation no one could tolerate.

"This police executive is not running this city. They are not running our police department. They are certainly running me," Lastman said.

Questions about the campaign remain. What, for example, will happen with the money that was already raised? If the union was smart, it would return the cash to donors or donate it to a worthy charity.

And what will it do with the record of who donated and who didn't? the union had earlier said those names would make a valuable database.

It's ironic that a campaign designed to make the union a political heavyweight has left it frozen out of the political process completely, at least at city hall.

Bromell has brought disrepute on his association, the force, and sadly even that of the rank-and-file officers who voted him into office.

Surely, it is obvious to them that Bromell is not serving their interests well. He's got to go.

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 8, 2000
Last modified: October 8, 2000
J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710