Wednesday, August 19, 1998

Jack Lakey And John Duncanson

p. B3.

Police ad tactics don't faze council

Union campaign targets politicians who are seen as 'anti-police'

City councillors say they won't be silenced by the Toronto police union and its plans to use aggressive ad campaigns to target politicians who criticize the force.

'Will backfire'

"If they want to start targeting politicians for asking questions, I think it will backfire on them. I'm not sure the public will accept that kind of tactic," Deputy Mayor Case Ootes said yesterday.

On Monday, Toronto police association president Craig Bromell revealed his strategy for dealing with politicians the union deems to have been unfairly critical of police.

They will be the subject of ad campaigns, either in the form of radio, newspaper or billboard ads, directed at voters.

The union is drawing up a short list of politicians it believes to be "anti-police," but won't say who may be on it. Bromell defended the tactics, saying the union wasn't trying to scare or silence politicians, but felt this was the best way to tackle critics head-on.

"We're looking for fairness," Bromell said, adding the union also plans to show support for politicians who help fight crime.

Ootes (East York) stressed he supported the police union in its criticism of the charges laid by the special investigations unit against two officers involved in a May 11 pursuit. The chase ended with the death of 73-year-old cyclist Clyde Barnaby.

But the police association may be taking its campaign to gain public support too far, Ootes said.

Last week, the union took out two large ads in The Star and The Toronto Sun condemning the SIU unit for charging Constable Karl Heilimo, 31, and Geraid O'Kane, 27, with dangerous driving in the Barnaby case.

Second phase

Today the union is beginning the second phase of its campaign against the SIU with radio ads that will eventually play on several stations.

Councillors criticized the union's strategy. "Everybody's wondering who do they mean?" when they say they will mount a campaign against some city politicians, said Councillor Blake Kinahan (Lakeshore, Queensway). "I don't scare so easily, myself."

Councillor Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough City Centre) said, "The best thing to do is not to pay too much attention to it. The public isn't stupid. They'll see through this right away.

Toronto Police clippings... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 15, 1999
Last modified: February 15, 1999

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