Is it time we sent Blair packing?
There is a new mayor, an officer is facing charges in the Adam Nobody case, and inquiries into police actions at the G20 are likely to raise more questions. Should Chief Bill Blair stay or go?
GIVE HIM THE HEAVE-HO FOR MULTIPLE FAILURES
Dump Bill Blair for falsely claiming a 1939 wartime law gave him power to detain anyone within five metres of the G20 security fence; failing to prevent rampaging Black Bloc vandals; failing to ensure his officers at the G20 wore ID badges; failing to prevent assaults on peaceful demonstrators; failing to properly investigate those assaults; failing to prevent “kettling” of innocent bystanders for four hours in the pouring rain; and retaining G20 sound cannons and extra surveillance cameras to this day. What did those protestors chant? Hey, ho, ho, Bill Blair has got to go.
Jan Wong is a Toronto author at work finishing her new book, Out of the Blue, a Memoir of Workplace Depression
PUNISH OFFENDING OFFICERS, REBUILD PUBLIC TRUST
Giving Bill Blair the boot solves nothing. Uncertainty fixes even less. The numerous reviews into the G20 need to move quickly to conclusions. Toronto Police need to find and punish the offending officers firmly. Earning back the public’s trust will take time, but this was a brutal weekend, not a broken police force.
Rob Granatstein, columnist, Toronto Sun
DON’T BLAME BLAIR FOR A FEW BAD APPLES
Absolutely not. Bill Blair did an admirable job in keeping our city safe during the G20 conference. Thanks to his strong leadership, the police acted in a responsible manner and kept violent behaviour and destruction of private property to a bare minimum. He cannot be blamed for the inappropriate actions of a small handful of reckless police officers. It’s important for Torontonians to look at the big picture with respect to the G20, and I believe Blair passed with flying colours. Keep him in his job.
Michael Taube, columnist, former speechwriter for Prime Minister Stephen Harper
SACKING BLAIR ONLY A START
Under Bill Blair’s oversight, the police spent the G20 attempting to harass political organizing through pre-emptively arresting activists, using massive displays of indiscriminate violence to discourage people new to protesting and silencing front line coverage of the protests by beating and arresting journalists. Blair was supposed to be a fresh face to Julian Fantino’s oppressive image; however, little has changed for Toronto’s poor, people of colour and social justice activists. And the G20 was a big confirmation. Sacking Blair is only a beginning, the Toronto Police need institutional overhaul — from the beat cop through to the top.
Jesse Rosenfeld, a freelance journalist beaten and arrested while covering the G20