MPP lauds new Police Services Act
The government “has the back” of police officers, says Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Conservative MPP Jim McDonell.
However, some fear that the province’s reduced scrutiny will lead to less confidence in authorities.
“Ontario police officers and the families in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry (SDSG) who depend on them will finally be able to count on a fair and transparent police oversight process that will always put public safety first,” says Mr. McDonell.
The Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act “will finally fix the previous government’s Bill 175, which treated police with suspicion while making it increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs,” states Mr. McDonell.
“Every day our police in SDSG come to work with a simple goal: to keep our families safe,” says the MPP. “While we don’t always hear their success celebrated on the news, we take great comfort knowing the police are responding to emergencies and preventing crime. Some times this work entails risk, and it cer- tainly involves difficult decisions. But we rely on the police to keep us safe. Now they can rely on their government to have their back.”
The act will streamline the Special Investigations Unit investigation process.
But the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has charged that the province has capitulated to police unions.
The association’s executive director, Michael Bryant, a former Liberal attorney general, claims the “government has gutted police oversight, scrapped the police complaints commission, and really set the clock back on accountability and transparency of policing right now, at a time when the pendulum had been swinging in the other direction.”
With less oversight, the public will lose confidence in the system, he has cautioned.
The government maintains it is righting a wrong.
“Bill 175 was the most anti-police piece of legislation in Canadian history,” said Sylvia Jones, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. “It was a disaster. It ac- tively undermined policing efforts. And it undermined public confidence and trust in the work police do.”
If passed, the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act will enhance police oversight in Ontario by creating one window for public complaints, reducing delays in the investigation process, and ensuring more accountability.
“When we were elected one of our first orders of business was to pause implementation of Bill 175, so that we could fix it in a way that continues to ensure oversight – but does so in a way that is balanced, respectful and fair,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “Our legislation, if passed, will focus investigative resources where they are needed, on criminal activity, within a police oversight system that will ultimately help build safer communities on a shared foundation of restored trust and accountability.”
The new legislation has been applauded by police officers, chiefs and police services boards.