Police accountability:
Comparing B.C. with Ontario (IV)

Ontario’s NDP criticizes the AG for
‘buckling under a very powerful police lobby.’
Meanwhile B.C.’s NDP, Liberals and cops
stand united against police accountability

May 14, 2010

A new development in Ontario’s police note-vetting controversy again contrasts that province with B.C. A similar dispute couldn’t happen here because no one in B.C. politics or the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner would ever take such a stand against the police.

On May 13 Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley suddenly pulled government lawyers from a court case in which they were representing the Special Investigations Unit against the police. According to Ontario NDP justice critic Peter Kormos, “The impression any observer has is that the attorney general is buckling under a very powerful police lobby.”

You’d never hear a similar remark from Leonard Krog or Mike Farnworth, B.C. NDP critics for attorney general and solicitor general. Like their arch-enemy BC Liberals, B.C.’s NDP fully supports our cop-friendly system of cop oversight. Neither would our cop-friendly police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe, nor his crew of ex-cops, ever seriously challenge cops in the first place. (Blue-moon exceptions can occur on individual incidents that get advance publicity, advance support from an influential group or caught on video. But those cases are unusual. Furthermore the OPCC will not challenge an ongoing police practice even if it’s illegal.)

The best explanation would be that a powerful police lobby prevails in B.C., and does so more quietly and efficiently than its counterpart in Ontario. That would explain the astonishing appointment of Lowe as police complaint commissioner, the spectacle of two warring political parties uniting to preserve the cop status quo enshrined in B.C.’s Police Act, and the fact that Stan Lowe and his crew of ex-cops answer to absolutely no one.

Apart from Allen Garr in the Vancouver Courier, I don’t know of any B.C. journalist who’s touched the subject of a police lobby. I certainly don’t know of any B.C. politician who’s broached the subject. But it’s an ongoing issue in Ontario politics and media.

Rest assured, B.C. cops: It can’t happen here.

Powerful police lobby likes cops investigating cops
Police special interest groups, including powerful unions,
have succeeded in keeping themselves immune
from independent oversight
Police accountability: Comparing B.C. with Ontario (I)
Their system is a flawed work in progress
but it surpasses ours in three crucial areas
Police accountability: Comparing B.C. with Ontario (II)
Without an ombudsperson’s strong oversight
B.C.’s police ‘watchdog’ will remain B.C.’s police lapdog
Police accountability: Comparing B.C. with Ontario (III)
A conflict between Ontario police and the SIU
contrasts with the very chummy relationship
between B.C. cops and the OPCC
Police accountability: Comparing B.C. with Ontario (V)
Ontario’s SIU faces public criticism and a second investigation
by the provincial Ombudsman. B.C.’s OPCC continues to escape scrutiny
Police accountability: Comparing B.C. with Ontario (VI)
You won’t read this in B.C.’s mainstream media.
And that’s part of the reason we’ll never have effective police oversight