The problem with Ottawa Police Services Board Chairman Eli El-Chantiry is two-fold: the councillor is too damn nice a guy and he lives in the Jim Watson universe.
As a person El-Chantiry is a gem … warm, smiling, polite … the kind of person you want as a friend.
And the PSB chairman should be nice … until he begins representing the public in police affairs. Sometimes things go wrong with the police. You need a chairman with a little grit in his crop to get to the bottom of some of these incidents because he is the person who represents you and me with the OPS.
El-Chantiry has no business blowing off questions on police reinforced gloves. His job is to look into this question.
El-Chantiry does not represent Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, the OPS or Mayor Jim Watson. He is the watchdog of the residents of this community in police affairs. That’s what he is paid for and that’s what he is duty-bound to do.
Unfortunately El-Chantiry is also burdened with the Pleasantville attitude of Watson. Council doesn’t debate because that is not nice. Controversy is buried because it is not nice. Information is squelched because it is not nice.
Not nice is not nice. It can cost votes. So in the Watson universe El-Chantiry cannot afford to be not nice.
Well being the PSB chairman can sometimes be not nice. We don’t pay El-Chantiry to be nice. We pay him to be stern representive of the citizens of Ottawa in police affairs. Nothing more. Nothing less.
When Andre Marin, the former Ontario ombudsman and head of the Special Investigations Unit, says someone is “shirking” his duties, he’s shirking his duties. Marin has forgotten more about public advocacy than most of us know. He’s an expert … maybe THE expert.
Marin knows what he is talking about. So Eli El-Chantiry, forget about Bordeleau, the police and Watson. Remember you represent me and the rest of the citizens of Ottawa. Bordeleau, the police and Watson know how to take care of themselves. They’re pretty good at it.
They don’t need your help or fawning deference.
Get with the program.
If you call them the way you see them, people might not like you but they will respect you.
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