From the Editor
Toronto Police Chief Blair no stranger to leftwing politics
by Judi McLeod
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Rookie Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is no stranger to leftwing politics.
It seems that Blair long ago paid his dues to the leftwing force that always covets control of local policing.
With 28 years of experience, Blair was appointed Toronto's new police chief by a Toronto Police Services Board that even the mainline media calls "dysfunctional".
He may not be aware nor even care, but Bill Blair and Canada Free Press go back a long way--all the way to the dismal days when the fractious Susan Eng was chair of the Toronto Police Services Board.
In those days, CFP was a monthly community newspaper known as Our Toronto. Our Toronto, later renamed Toronto Free Press focused on the level of Canadian politics that the public remains the most apathetic about, municipal politics. OT was openly pro-police. Fans and detractors alike nicknamed it the "Our Cops Are Tops newspaper", because of its regular feature of the same name.
The feature was our constant reminder to the public that without the thin blue line there is only anarchy.
These were the days when cop-bashing councillors like Jack Layton, Olivia Chow and Pam McConnell were constantly making headlines in their unrelenting criticism of police. The trio was the darling of the left-leaning mainline media, and remains so to the present day.
These were the chapters when tax lawyer Susan Eng, whose original claim to fame was refusing to swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, took over the chair of the board. Eng's disdain for Police Chief Bill McCormack, who defended his ranks against the politicians, was legendary.
In that era, Mayor David Miller was still an obscure councillor. Although always a staunch socialist Coun. Miller took a back seat to the likes of the more media savvy Jack Layton.
In the face of the sometimes-rampant anti-cop sentiment, Our Toronto took its job to heart. Suspecting that Layton and Chow were behind the appointment of Susan Eng, we once dispatched a pony tailed university student to a community meeting where Layton was waxing passionately about the need to bring on Eng, and later sent the tape to police headquarters.
OT was not so welcome at City Hall, where some councilors had staff waiting to discard distributed copies. But copies were welcome at all police stations in the city. Over the years, we made many contacts and friends among the force's rank and file.
One day in 1994, orders came down from on high. Tipsters told us that Susan Eng had ordered the papers out of police stations. The name of the officer who followed the orders to rid the rank and file of copies of Our Toronto? Bill Blair.
To us, Blair was a PC PC, a politically correct police constable. We politically incorrect guys would have had little in common with him. Some of Blair's colleagues told us they rated him as a "self-serving kind of person with unbridled ambition".
At the end of the day, police hierarchy fought the move and OT was once again accepted at police stations throughout the city.
For the City of Toronto, criticism of police is a season that never ends, and that's the way it will always be as long as the left controls City Hall. Jack Layton went on to be the leader of the federal New Democrat Party. (We weren't the only ones who celebrated his move to Ottawa). Still a municipal councillor, Layton's wife Olivia Chow made it all the way to a seat on the Toronto Police Services Board. Present for the June 2000 Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) Queen's Park protest that saw police officers doused with paint and some of their mounts hobbled by marbles, Chow resigned her seat on the board shortly after the protest, but claimed her voluntary resignation had nothing to do with the violent protest.
David Miller is now Toronto mayor. Coun. Pam McConnell is an outspoken member of a Toronto Police Services Board and was elated in announcing the appointment of Blair as new police chief.
Our Toronto is now Canada Free Press. Although we still cover the cellar of politics, municipal government, the lion's share of our reporting is dedicated to the international level reporting on things like the United Nations oil-for-food scandal.
Now that Blair is chief he's destined to learn the lesson of so many others who went before him: politics and policing don't mix.
Meanwhile, something prevents Toronto's new police chief from turfing us out of circulating Toronto police stations.
It's called the World Wide Internet.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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