Watch­dog rep­ri­manded for se­cret chats

Court rules in­de­pen­dence in in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Toronto con­sta­ble was com­pro­mised

StarMetro Halifax - - CANADA & WORLD - Colin Perkel

Toronto—back-chan­nel chats that led On­tario’s po­lice watch­dog to set aside its own find­ing of mis­con­duct against an of­fi­cer were in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­der­mined the in­tegrity of the process, an ap­peal court has ruled.

In a de­ci­sion this week, Divi­sional Court said the Of­fice of the In­de­pen­dent Re­view Di­rec­tor had com­pro­mised its in­de­pen­dence and or­dered it to rein­ves­ti­gate a com­plaint against a Toronto con­sta­ble from scratch.

“As is em­pha­sized by the name of the de­ci­sion-maker, the Di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Re­view was obliged to con­duct an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion and reach an in­de­pen­dent de­ci­sion,” the Divi­sional Court panel said in its rul­ing. “Here, in cir­cum­stances which be­lie the in­de­pen­dence of the OIPRD, the di­rec­tor had undis­closed dis­cus­sions with the TPS about chang­ing his de­ci­sion and, ul­ti­mately, he did change his de­ci­sion.”

The case arose in April 2014 Gerry Mc­neilly, the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Re­view Di­rec­tor, has agreed to re­open the in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Toronto po­lice con­sta­ble Chris Howes.

when Toronto po­lice searched the Stan­ley fam­ily home based on a tip about the pres­ence of a firearm. None was found. The Stan­leys al­leged po­lice mis­con­duct, in­clud­ing that Const. Chris Howes had stomped on one of the fam­ily mem­ber’s head or neck while they were ly­ing hand­cuffed on the ground. Among other things, they al­leged as­sault, that po­lice de­lib­er­ately de­stroyed their prop­erty and made racial slurs. OSHAWA, Ont.—union­ized work­ers at the Gen­eral Mo­tors assem­bly plant in Oshawa, Ont., staged a sec­ond work stop­page af­ter the com­pany con­firmed it would not re­con­sider plans to close the fa­cil­ity.

Uni­for said the protest Wednes­day morn­ing lasted close to two hours be­fore it ended and fol­lowed about a five-hour sit-down at the plant the evening be­fore.

The labour ac­tion came af­ter union pres­i­dent Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tues­day to talk about pro­pos­als the union had made to ex­tend the life of the On­tario plant, but came away empty-handed.

Fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the in­de­pen­dent re­view di­rec­tor in March 2015 re­ported find­ing enough ev­i­dence to sup­port an al­le­ga­tion of “se­ri­ous mis­con­duct” against Howes. The di­rec­tor no­ti­fied the fam­ily and said the file had been passed onto po­lice for dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

In re­sponse, an in­spec­tor with the po­lice ser­vice con­tacted the watch­dog via phone and let­ter to com­plain about its de­ci­sion.

Work­ers at Oshawa’s GM plant hold work stop­page over clo­sure

The union has em­pha­sized the wider eco­nomic im­pacts of the shut­down and re­leased a study Wednes­day putting some hard num­bers to the claims.

“We’re look­ing at tens of thou­sands of jobs and a di­rect hit to the GDP,” Dias said in a state­ment. “Should GM pro­ceed with plans to close Oshawa, the eco­nomic im­pact would be sub­stan­tial, both in the short and long term.”

The eco­nomic anal­y­sis es­ti­mates the clo­sure of the plant by the end of the year will re­sult in 14,000 fewer jobs in On­tario and 10,000 fewer jobs out­side the prov­ince by 2025, com­pared with keep­ing the assem­bly plant open.

Those would in­clude 4,400 jobs at GM Oshawa and its parts sup­pli­ers in On­tario that would be lost in 2020 as well as lost di­rect and in­di­rect op­por­tu­ni­ties from keep­ing the assem­bly plant open for an ad­di­tional five years.

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