Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 6, 2019
Doug Ford’s role in OPP turmoil raises questions of political interference
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are political opposites who right now share something: both face allegations of political interference in the justice system.
Partisans will no doubt disagree on whose alleged political interference is worse: the federal Liberals’ handling of the SNC-Lavalin corruption case or the provincial Progressive Conservatives’ alleged meddling with the upper echelons of the Ontario Provincial Police.
You can read plenty of analysis throughout cbc.ca of why the SNC-Lavalin affair matters, why the testimony of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is resonating, and why the Trudeau Liberals are engulfed in a deepening crisis about just how much political pressure they exerted over a criminal case.
Why are Ford’s PCs being accused of interfering with the OPP? The government appointed a close friend of Ford to head the provincial police force, and fired a veteran officer who had produced evidence that Ford tried to influence police operations.
Why does it matter?
“The OPP can be called in to investigate provincial politicians, and the citizens of Ontario need to have faith that the OPP is truly independent, above political interference, and free from abuses of power,” said Brad Blair, the deputy commissioner who was fired on Monday after a spotless 32-year career with the OPP.
In a written statement Tuesday, Blair said he went public with his concerns about “real and/or perceived political interference” in the force because “the cost of a compromised OPP is too great a price to pay.” (Continued: CBC)