Bulldog To Broadcast Special Police Board Meeting

 

You know this all started because The Bulldog didn’t get a press release that CTV Ottawa received.

Your agent awoke Wednesday morning to discover that a release had been circulated around the media in town about a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board this Friday at 10 a.m. That’s not quite correct actually. It was circulated to the city’s media except for The Bulldog.

So knowing that The Bulldog is a sensitive type and that our feelings were hurt by being left out, your agent emailed the city’s media relations types to discover what had happened. That city department said the release was the domain of the OPSB. But I had received police board emails for a couple of decades but they looked as though they had come from the City of Ottawa.

Let’s Get The Police Fully Staffed: PATTON

I was told I was wrong, that they came from the OPSB despite the fact that they looked identical in style with your garden-variety city releases. So then I contacted the OPSB which said it copied the city release contact list when it came to sending out its missives. I checked and, sure enough, I was still on the list. That might have been the result of an angry outcry from media across Canada when former mayor Jim Watson cut off press releases to The Bulldog early in the Watson epoch. That was the same trick pulled by the late former Toronto mayor Rob Ford on the Toronto Star because Ford didn’t like its coverage. Ford’s action flew in the face of open government and democracy. But no matter. What does open government and democracy have to do with municipal politics? Not much, it seems. Ethics … so transitional and situational.


Now why Watson did the same thing to The Bulldog he never said. But city media relations said it was done because The Bulldog was “just a (oh bad word here) blog.” Well that appeared downright unhospitable. Your agent wished they’d used different wording understanding how sensitive The Bulldog is. But let’s move on. Watson backed down on the Bulldog ban.

Now the OPSB said The Bulldog must be on its mailing list despite this publication not receiving that release. Then the board clarified its position by saying that particular release did come from it. In fact, that missive was sent out by the Ottawa Police Service and that if your agent signed up for that, The Bulldog would have received the release. So The Bulldog, being a trusting sort, did just that.

But maybe the OPSB should be more careful. The board is the oversight body of the OPS. So the two entities, that is the OPS and OPSB, should have some kind of church and state separation of interests. Sometimes, …  correction, most times … that is not the case. In fact, one of the greatest complaints against policing in this city is that if the OPS and OPSB were any tighter, they’d have to get a room.

So let’s see if we all understand this. The press release didn’t come from the city, according to the city. The OPSB said it copies the city press release list so your agent would be on it. But we didn’t receive the release. That was because the OPS, not the OPSB, announced the special OPSB meeting on Friday. Those two entities might be offended by this so we apologize in advance … the OPS sending out an OPSB press release is a very bad look. Just to clarify … it looks as though the oversight board is not providing oversight but rather the two entities are all in this together. Which is not good oversight.

But then perhaps The Bulldog is over-sensitive or too suspicious or just plain wrong.

We tend to doubt that.

For the OPS has a rather checkered recent history that doesn’t show good judgment. Its former police chief called the force racist and misogynist. That’s not good. And the OPS embarrassed the city around the world by its gross mishandling of the Freedom Convoy. It also flew in the face of civilian and police mandates to quell this unruly protest.

City Practises Avoidance, Not Governance

But the police made up for this and saw to it that such misconduct would experience (that favourite police phrase) zero tolerance. One officer was suspended for a week because that person’s role played in the convoy fiasco.

But there’s much much more. Officers tend to show up repeatedly in Today In Court which would not be so bad except they are often the defendant. As well, they plucked a young boy out of a school bus and gave him a bad time when he flipped the bird at the officers despite the fact that surprisingly the Supreme Court has ruled that flipping the bird is a legitimate form of expression. So reinforce your freedom by flipping the bird at someone today. They’ll appreciate your support for your Charter-given right.

On the subject of rights, a group of community activists have mounted a Charter challenged of the OPSB’s draconian curtailment of speakers and speaking times at its meetings. And things have become so bad that one city school board does not want uniformed officers on its property. By the way, those are learned educators, not a bunch of wingnuts.

Accordingly, it’s hard to know exactly why The Bulldog is careful about its dealings with the OPS and OPSB. Could the board and the force be working at cross-purposes to the public interest on numerous occasions? Perhaps so.

Thus rather than just announce a special OPSB meeting on Friday, The Bulldog will broadcast from this website to tens of thousands of its readers the special gathering of the board. That said if the tech types at the board and the city can make this happen.

So tune in here at 10 a.m. on Friday for the special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board.

Ken Gray

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