Tuesday, August 25,1998

Paul Moloney

p. B1.

Ads could mean budget cuts, police warned

Don't bite hand that feeds you, councillor advises

Toronto police could see their budget cut if their union carries out a plan to use aggressive ad campaigns targeting politicians who criticize the force, a police board member says.

City Councillor Judy Sgro said yesterday it would be counter-productive to conduct an advertising blitz against the very politicians who control the police department's $500 million-plus budget.

"When I try and fight for additional funding for the police budget next (spring), if this is the approach they (police union) use, we won't get an extra cent," Sgro predicted. "In fact, they'll probably cut us another $20 million and that then jeopardizes the safety on the streets for everybody."

Police association president Craig Bromell said last night that some of the ads will be positive ones. "For every person we feel has been unfair to the police there's going to be 10 good ads. The ratio is literally 10 to 1."

But he warned, "If you cut the budget, the only people you're going to hurt is the public."

Sgro welcomed Mayor Mel Lastman's decision to meet tomorrow with Bromell, who heads the 7000-member Toronto Police Association.

"I think no doubt the mayor will explain exactly the same things that most of us feel; that this is not helpful, this does not bring people together."

Lastman, who won the police union's backing for his mayoral campaign last fall, said he hopes both he and Bromell will be in a position to make a statement after their meeting.

"I don't think it's the right way to go , and I want to discuss it with him," Lastman said. "And I'm not one of these guys that's going to be on that list (of targets), I don't think."

The union said last week it will mount an advertising blitz against politicians who it believes have been unfairly critical of police actions.

The ads are to be similar to the newspaper and radio spots used to criticize the province's special investigations unit for charging two Toronto officers with dangerous driving in a pursuit that ended in the death of 73-year-old cyclist Clyde Barnaby.

Toronto Police clippings... [Fiona Stewart]

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

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