Ottawa Police and Chief do battle
The ugly on-going battle between the Ottawa Police Service and its chief, Charles Bordeleau, now includes a messy human rights complaint, that alleges racism, filed by a Cornwall native and OPS veteran with a stellar service record.
Samir Bhatnagar (he of Cornwall’s prominent tennis family and a member of Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame) claims the movers and shakers have deliberately, on three occasions over the past five years, overlooked him for a promotion to superintendent from inspector (special operations).
He joined the Ottawa force 27 years ago after graduating from Trent University with a bachelor of science degree.
Over the years evaluations have praised Bhatnagar’s work.
His complaint claims racism is at the centre of the oversight. According to an Ottawa Citizen story he aced assessments to qualify for the promotion but three times a candidate with a lesser score and less experience was chosen over him.
To no surprise, the board and chief scoff at the racism allegation. The board claims that Bhatnagar is being held back because of his refusal to fall in line with the directions of the chief, and that he is part of a small group of senior officers who are undermining the chief. The board questioned his loyalty to the chief (sometimes called butt-kissing).
The disenchanted inspector is seeking $140,000 in damages.
As for that human rights complaint, it is not the first time a junior officer of a police force has filed a human rights complaint against a superior. And sometimes, as with one Eastern Ontario force, the complainant wins.
************* On the morning of April 18, 1934 a man who told the court he had no choice but to steal to survive was given two years in Kingston Penitentiary for breaking into Hollister’s Store on First Street West and stealing numerous grocery items.
“I was desperate. I had no work. No money and had to beg or steal,” the man told the judge in police court the morning after he surrendered to police who were looking for him. He said he had been imbibing too generously in vintage wine on the evening of the break-in and theft and couldn’t recall much of what he did. If he sought sympathy from the judge he didn’t get it. “You had money to buy wine. I don’t believe any leniency should be shown,” said Magistrate Mcdonell before passing his stiff sentence. A few hours later the convicted man was on his way to the federal prison to serve his full two years in the slammer.
Also this week in 1934 - Cornwall was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary as an incorporated municipality. The first village board meeting with four members representing two wards was held on April 21, 1834. The first official act was the election of a president and the passing of the first bylaws. .... Cornwall Street Railway asked council to extend the rail line from Water and Augustus streets to Cumberland to provide better freight and passenger service to the new C-I-L plant just west of the city. Cost of the extension was put at $15,000. ... Thieves broke into the A. J. Mcphail General Store in St. Andrew’s and made off with clothing, shoes, fountain pens, cigarettes and candy with a total value of $150. ... Local businesses were warned by the Ontario Provincial Police that while slot machines were legal in Quebec they were illegal in Ontario. ... The first patient cured of arthritis by Dr. Locke of Williamsburg died of a heart attack. Peter A. Beckstead, the village blacksmith, received a four-hour treatment form the young doctor in 1909 and was able to return to work. He was 67. .... A delegation from the Cornwall volunteer fire brigade told city council the present pumper was unreliable and new one was needed. ... Cornwall Police Board hired Hugh Omar to replace retiring constable George Crites who had been with the force for 32 years. Starting salary was $1,000 a year. The board also approved the purchase of a new sedan for the department. ... The Standard-freeholder purchased property on Pitt Street from the P.E. Adams Estate for construction of a new publishing and printing plant. The building occupied by the Gillet Furniture store was to be demolished. Circulation of the paper was 7,000. ... Fox’s Beauty Parlor was moving to 314 Pitt St. ... Bark’s Market, 111 Pitt St., had prime rib roast for 17 cents a pound, rib stew for seven cents a pound and veal chops for 15 cents a pound.
HERE AND THERE Cornwall native and St. Joseph’s Secondary School grad Anthony (Tony) Johnson who spent three years serving alongside United States military personnel at Southern Command headquarters in Miami will be returning to the U.S. The Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, currently second-in-command at Camp Borden, has been promoted to lieutenant-colonel and will be off to St. Louis. ... Here is a scary statistic: there is a drug overdose death every 12.5 minutes in the United States. .... Less than two months before StormontDundas-south Glengarry voters go to the polls in the provincial election and still the only candidate in the race is incumbent Conservative MPP Jim Mcdonell. The Liberals have one person seeking the nod at a yet-to-be-called nomination meeting and still no candidates for the NDP and Green Party. Can’t recall this so late in the game.
SPORTS STUFF Gilles Viau capped the Cornwall Curling Centre senior men’s season with a first-place finish in the 29-team Bray Construction closing bonspiel then captured the 12-team championship round, edging out Murray Halkett by one point. Peter Van Loon, filling in for Denis Doutre, took second place, three points back of the winner. Members of the Viau rink were third Denis Marion, second Ron Macmillian and lead Jim Secord. The Halkett rink included third Don Marsh, second Bert Zylsra and lead RJ Lauzon. The Van Loon foursome included third Ian Nurse, second Frank Ricci and lead Bob Cameron. The Nick Kaneb Spirit of Curling Award was presented to Roger Comtois. Kevin Cooper was voted top new player.
TRIVIA This international company with its head office based in San Francisco first set up shop in the cotton mills in 1972 before building a plant in the Industrial Park two years later. It employed 400 people.
TRIVIA ANSWER A made-for-television (CBS) version of Tom Sawyer was shot at Upper Canada Village in October 1972, after the attraction closed for the season. It starred Jane Wyatt and Buddy Ebsen.
ONE LAST THING Money can’t buy friends, but you get a better class of enemy.