Ah Toronto, the “safest large city in North America,” with the overall crime rate dropping severely in the past 10 years. Yet, Bill Blair, the Toronto Chief of Police just got canned, with his contract expiring next April. He asked to be on the job for another few years, and the council said “no,” and tossed himself. So why would the Chief of Police since 2005, who supervised the transition to an unprecedented age of peace and prosperity, be put out on the street so unceremoniously? Time to put on our tinfoil hats and find out.
1 . Rob Ford called in a favour
This one’s obvious. Rob Ford and Bill Blair hate each other. As the National Post so elegantly reminded us, Mayor Ford notoriously called Chief Blair a “c—sucker” on video in one of his drunken stupors earlier this year. That came after the police chief announced at a press conference that the Rob Ford crack video did in fact exist (but come on guys, at that point though everyone had already accepted it as truth, right?) and that he had watched it. In February, Ford actually challenged Blair to arrest him, after months of surveillance by the Toronto Police. Okay, we’re not saying that Rob Ford has shady friends that could have had the police chief fired (we’re also not not saying it though), but maybe the existence of these friends could also be the reason why Ford is, you know, not in prison. It is a little bit fishy how this guy hasn’t been arrested, we must admit. Or alternatively, maybe the board decided that Blair has to be the most incompetent police chief on the planet to have been following around Rob Ford and NOT having found evidence again. Seriously though. Given that Rob Ford is filmed by dozens of cameras every time he takes a step outside, if the police haven’t found him committing a crime yet, either he’s innocent or Blair wasn’t looking hard enough.
2. G20 Protest
Two years after the G20 disaster, which resulted in 1,100 arrests, Canada’s top civilian police watchdog released a report condemning the Toronto police for their aggressiveness and said that these events have killed the confidence of the people in the Toronto Police Services. Ouch. Now, politicians and councils alike ignore watchdogs allllllll the time, don’t get me wrong, but this G20 thing was all over the place. Every media outlet in Canada (and other parts of the world) clung to the story like a hipster to Pabst Blue Ribbon six-packs. The police looked really bad, and ya know, it’s possible that ‘fascist police state’ isn’t the look that the TPS is really going for right now. And turning over Bill Blair isn’t at all like turning over a cop car, promise.
3. If you love something, let it go
10 years is a long time, but you know what’s an even longer amount of time? 15 years. If the board had signed Bill Blair on again, he’d be around for fifteen years as police chief. That’s longer than “Friends” was on TV for, and Lord knows that went on too long. People might be afraid of change, but people need change. Organizations need renewal, or people get complacent. Keeping someone head of an organization for too long simultaneously works to make people afraid of giving that person up, and making them hate that person: a terrible combination. Maybe, ya know, enough was enough. Like my parents told me when I had to flush William the goldfish down the toilet drain, “it was just his time.”