TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - On February 12, 2014, two members of the Toronto Police Services Board complained about
Councillor Michael Thompson's comments to the Toronto Star. Councillor
Thompson, who is also Vice-Chair of the Board, had criticized the
Toronto Police for its strip search practices and over-spending, and
said that he would not support a renewal of Chief Blair's contract.
The Board held a meeting the next day to discuss the complaint.
Councillor Thompson was not given a copy of the complaint; in fact, the
complaint was never put in writing as required by the Board's own
policy. Councillor Thompson was not given an opportunity to respond to
the complaint. Nor was Councillor Thompson even allowed to attend the
Even more Kafkaesque, the two complainants were allowed to attend the
meeting and vote on their own complaint. With a quorum of four (two of whom were
the complainants), the Board decided that Councillor Thompson "appears"
to have "potentially" breached the Code of Conduct. The Board
requested that the Ministry of the Solicitor General conduct an
investigation, despite having no power to do so unless it actually
"determines" that there has been a breach. The Board made no such
If there was any doubt about the Board's intention, it was made clear in
the last sentence of the letter that Councillor Thompson received later
that day: "The Board urges you to not participate in any matters which
may pertain to personnel [personal], legal or contractual issues
involving the personal interest of Chief Blair, as opposed to the
organizational interests of the Toronto Police Service." The Board is
trying to silence criticism of Chief Blair and protect his contract
Councillor Thompson has retained Clayton Ruby and Gerald Chan to bring
an application for judicial review, which seeks to quash the Board's
decision and prohibit the Ministry from conducting an investigation.
Simply put, it cannot be a violation of the Code of Conduct to criticize
the Chief of Police. To say that this is potentially a breach, as the
Board has done, is to stifle public debate, violate free expression,
and undermine the Board's own mandate of exercising vigorous civilian
oversight of the Toronto Police.
The Board also violated the most basic rules of procedural fairness by
allowing the complainants to vote on their own complaints, which
creates an actual conflict of interest and apprehended bias, and by
refusing to give Councillor Thompson a chance to respond.
SOURCE: Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan
For further information:
For more information, please contact Clayton Ruby or Gerald Chan at (416) 964-9664. You may also email Mr. Ruby at firstname.lastname@example.org and Mr. Chan at email@example.com. For copies of court documents, please go to www.rubyshiller.com and click on "Documents".