POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
I've never regarded Blair as sinister, but I've always regarded him as inept.
He couldn't even control his own officers from coming to City Hall to demonstrate in uniform.
That act was a sinister one by the police "union," a clear threat to democratic authority.
They not only ignored Blair's direct order, but Blair afterward humiliated himself by handing out a few administrative slaps on the wrist.
The police style themselves as a paramilitary organization, and we all understand how serious it is to disobey a direct order in the military.
Blair's dealings with the murderous Jamaican gangs has brought him no glory either.
We are all victims today of television series and novels which often portray police as clever and dedicated and law-abiding, but while there are individual police who fit that description, it has never been a description of police in general.
Basically, police are hired muscle. Their history includes plenty of official use of muscle in strike-breaking and assaults on minority communities like gays (only decades ago we had raids in Toronto).
On the other hand their history includes not doing things which were better done, such as laying charges in domestic assaults and, too often, against criminal behavior in government.
Police are given a great deal of discretionary power, whether to stop, to search, to arrest, etc. This great power needs constant oversight and control, and a chief like Blair is incapable of providing it.
We've also let the police "union" develop too much power, an organization that functions much like the teachers' union in defending what cannot be defended, incompetence and irresponsibility. That too requires a tough chief.
Incompetent? Remember he was Mayor Miller's man.