Reefer mad­ness at Queen’s Park?

Toronto Sun - - COMMENT - JOHN SNOBELEN Snobelen was a cab­i­net minister in the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment of On­tario premier Mike Harris from 1995 to 2002

I blame it on le­gal­iz­ing the devil weed.

How else to ex­plain the reefer mad­ness em­a­nat­ing from Queens Park over the last cou­ple of weeks.

Con­sider the op­po­si­tion para­noia over the de­com­mis­sion­ing of a com­mis­sioner.

When the Ford gov­ern­ment an­nounced it would put off build­ing a French-lan­guage univer­sity and roll the French-lan­guage ser­vices com­mis­sion (a busy of­fice that ap­par­ently han­dles less than one in­quiry a day) into the om­buds­man’s of­fice all hell broke loose.

Heck, it was noth­ing short of the end of the con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected rights for fran­co­phone On­tar­i­ans.

Never mind that the Ford gov­ern­ment also an­nounced the sus­pen­sion of three other univer­sity ex­pan­sions.

The am­bi­tions of a hand­ful of fran­co­phone aca­demi­cians clearly out­weigh the fis­cal in­tegrity of the prov­ince.

The hys­ter­ics in­duced by the ill­fated at­tempt to con­sol­i­date a leg­isla­tive of­fice were wor­thy of a Cheech and Chong movie.

For the ben­e­fit of sober minded folks, protest signs should have con­tained the caveat “no ac­tual French-lan­guage ser­vices were threat­ened in this re­lo­ca­tion.”

But if the com­mo­tion over de­com­mis­sion­ing the French-lan­guage com­mis­sioner isn’t strange enough for you, take an­other toke and con­sider the weird­ness that sur­rounded com­mis­sion­ing a po­lice com­mis­sioner.

The gov­ern­ment set about finding a new OPP com­mis­sioner in the usual way. A con­sul­tant was hired. A non-par­ti­san board ap­proved a can­di­date. Cab­i­net con­firmed the can­di­date. Ho-hum, pass the Dori­tos. But wait. It turns out the new com­mish is a (ex­hale) friend of Doug Fords (isn’t ev­ery­body?).

And (long in­hale) he is a cop!

The cre­ative minds in the NDP smoke­house put it all to­gether.

Toronto cop Ron Trav­erner ap­plies to be the top OPP cop, is ap­proved by a com­mit­tee that in­cludes a deputy minister who (shock­ingly) knows him and then is con­firmed by a cab­i­net that in­cludes his friend the Premier.

By gosh, it’s a con­spir­acy! Now I’m not one to ques­tion the use­ful­ness of para­noid delu­sion, but a few facts might help get the NDP out from un­der the bed.

Know­ing some­one isn’t grounds for be­ing re­cused from de­cid­ing on fit and char­ac­ter for a pub­lic sec­tor job. If it were, half of cab­i­net would be out for most Or­der In Coun­cil (OIC) ap­point­ments.

It isn’t shock­ing that the deputy minister re­spon­si­ble for polic­ing knows a se­nior of­fi­cer who has served the City of Toronto for fifty years. In fact, it’s kind of re­fresh­ing.

And it isn’t at all un­usual for em­ploy­ment con­sul­tants to broaden the search cri­te­ria when look­ing for a pool of can­di­dates. They do it all the time, of­ten in an at­tempt to get a suf­fi­cient rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women, mi­nori­ties or abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in the can­di­date pool.

In this case it would seem the con­sul­tants wanted to en­sure there were can­di­dates with ac­tual polic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Again, that’s kind of re­fresh­ing.

Fi­nally, Doug Ford is a mem­ber of Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil. As such he has a re­spon­si­bil­ity, shared with other cab­i­net mem­bers, to ap­prove the hun­dreds of peo­ple who serve on On­tario agen­cies, boards and com­mis­sions.

Cab­i­net ap­proval isn’t a mere for­mal­ity. Min­is­ters are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that the char­ac­ter of the ap­pointee is a fit for the po­si­tion.

Based on ev­ery­thing that has been said (be­yond the para­noid po­lit­i­cal rhetoric) cab­i­net has done a fine job here.

Ron Trav­erner is ex­actly the sort of ex­pe­ri­enced, pro­fes­sional cop re­quired to lead the OPP.

Things are just fine. An­drea Hor­wath and the NDP can re­lax, roll a fat one and dream up the next grand con­spir­acy.


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