Thursday, February 10, 2000

John Duncanson

p. D4.

Police campaign raises $306,000

But union can keep only 20% of take

The Toronto police association's controversial telemarketing campaign raked in more than $306,000 in pledges in just 32 days, court documents show.

But in the deal it made with a telemarketing company, the association will see just 20 per cent of that total — about $76,500 — if all the pledges are collected, according to two groups opposed to the Operation True Blue campaign.

Of the $306,019 pledged by donors, approximately $81,820 has been collected. The union's 20 per cent cut of the collected cash is $16,364.

That means the bulk of the cash will end up with the telemarketing firm, say lawyers for the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and the Chinese Canadian National Council.

The figures are included in the group's statement of facts to be presented today in court as the legal battle between the union and those opposed to its fundraising scheme gets under way in the Superior Court of Justice.

The police services board is seeking a permanent injunction to stop the union from carrying out future fundraising drives for political purposes.

While the union officially killed the campaign last week, the police board and the association have decided to continue their fight in court.

The race relations alliance and the Chinese council have been granted intervenor status for today's proceedings. The two groups say the police union's lawyer provided them figures showing telemarketers made 130,000 cold calls to citizens in little over a month. That is more than 4,000 calls per day.

Of the money that goes to the telemarketing company, 70 per cent is put toward overhead costs, such as labour and postage, and the remaining 10 per cent is profit, a union source said.

The union maintains that Operation True Blue was meant to raise money to promote tougher penalties for young offenders and parole violators. Critics, however, say it was just a front for the union to build up its war chest, which is primarily used to fund spy activities against its critics, many politicians.

Len Wolstenholme, spokesperson for Xentel DM Inc., the telemarketing firm that handled the calls, refused to comment on the campaign.

Other police organizations say the fallout from Operation True Blue has taken a toll on their own charity efforts. "I've had calls about an old-timers hockey game in London and they asked me, 'Are these con people?' said Robert Wilson of the 950-member London Police Association.

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 8, 2000
Last modified: October 8, 2000
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