Toronto police board mum on resignations
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair at the Toronto Police Board meeting. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)
After a G20 summit report uncovered failures by the Toronto Police Services Board in preparing for the event, questions of possible resignations from the board went unanswered as chairman Dr. Alok Mukherjee said decisions “were based on the best possible advice we had.”
“We acknowledge that mistakes were made,” he said.
Mukherjee did not say whether the board would apologize for the mistakes.
Friday morning, former justice John Morden presented 38 recommendations for the board providing civilian oversight to Toronto police.
Board member and councillor Pam McConnell called it a breakthrough.
“There was definitely a culture that continued to separate operations from policy, something that we challenged over and over again,” she said.
McConnell said Mukherjee should “absolutely ... not” step down as chair of the board.
“We must remember that it was the chair and myself who brought this forward.”
She pointed out that the board pushed on issues many times, and was pushed back.
“You don’t have the analysis that went into our racial profiling, our name tags,” she said of the questions left unasked and unanswered in the months leading up to the G20 summit.
The review began in September 2010 after the G20 summit resulted in more than a thousand arrests and the use of allegedly excessive force by the police.
“I think the other question is who in the federal government should resign for doing this to Torontonians,” she said.
The report concludes that the preparation time was too short for the G20 summit, there was a breakdown in communications between the board and the force, and police concentration by the interdiction zone fence resulted in a lack of police officers in other parts of the city.
“The reality is that the board did not have any concrete information about the command and control structure,” review counsel Ryan Teschner said.
Councillor Adam Vaughan says the board ultimately failed.
“I don’t think there’s any shame in saying we’re sorry,” he said.
He also questioned the accountability of the federal government.
“I’m outraged that they still haven’t compensated people in Toronto for the pain and suffering,” he said.
Police chief William Blair briefly addressed the report, saying that it was “entirely inappropriate” for him to comment on the board’s role.
“We certainly are quite prepared to acknowledge the things that we have learned,” he said.
The next board meeting is scheduled for July 19. Mukherjee says implementing the recommendations could take three to four months.