Saturday, December 12, 2009

Toronto drug officers face more corruption accusations!

A CBC News/Toronto Star investigation unearths previous allegations
By Dave Seglins, CBC News

"A few bad apples."

That's how former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino described the force's problems when six former officers were charged with conspiring to beat and rob drug dealers of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The officers, all members of Team 3 of the Toronto Police Service's Central Field Command drug squad, are still awaiting trial after almost six years.

"I am deeply saddened and disappointed," Fantino told a news conference in January 2004, commenting about the charges against the six. "I can, however, tell you that the allegations are isolated and confined."

His comments came at the conclusion of an internal probe headed by RCMP Chief Supt. John Neily into the allegations or wrongdoing, which led to 40 criminal charges against the officers.

But police documents that surfaced for the first time this week in a Toronto lawsuit show anti-corruption investigators repeatedly briefed Fantino about similar allegations against other drug officers.

These warnings came several months before Fantino made public assurances that alleged wrongdoing was isolated to Team 3 of the drug squad. A joint CBC News/Toronto Star investigation has found that Toronto police did not allow Neily and his team to complete their investigation into those allegations.

'There was a thief on that team'
The TPS documents were unearthed as part of a move to expand a lawsuit against the force this week.

They show another drug squad was being scrutinized by Neily's investigative unit — dubbed the Special Task Force (STF) — for offences similar to the ones Team 3 was accused of.

One of the documents shows that Neily briefed Fantino about those allegations against Team 2.

"These cases are unsubstantiated [without interviews with the drug suspects]," Neily wrote in a confidential briefing note to Fantino in May 2002. "I temper that … however, by telling you that there is very good reason to suspect someone on that team is a thief."

Neily first assigned two investigators to focus on Team 2 in late 2001. They uncovered troubling questions over the officers' handling of drug money seized during searches at banks.

STF investigators wrote in internal documents in late 2001 that in three separate cases, Team 2 officers did not follow standard procedures when seizing money from safe deposit boxes.

The investigators reported members of the team repeatedly asked bank staff to leave when seizing cash from safe deposit boxes, leaving no second witness to count the cash, counter to bank policy.

They found that team members delayed handing over seized cash and improperly stored the cash.

There were also discrepancies between the amount of seized cash reported by the officers and the amount of cash the defendants said they possessed.

Neily, however, couldn't continue the probe as none of the alleged drug dealers would come forward to file an official complaint, fearing what they said about the officers could be used against them in a legal setting.

The stalemate led Neily to concede that the probe into Team 2 was stalled. But in a July 2002 note to Fantino, he said his suspicions still weren't allayed.

"While I have ordered the nine cases of interest [to be] no longer investigated involving the team of Danny Ross, as reported to you in May there is no doubt in my mind that there was a thief on that team and it is my belief so far that it could have been one or both of [Team 2 officer] DC Mark Denton and/or Mike Abbott," Neily wrote.

None of the Team 2 officers named in the ongoing lawsuit by Milos Markovic, a formerly accused drug dealer, would agree to an interview. Their lawyer, Gary Clewley, denies any theft and says the STF uncovered only sloppy police work.

"They do thousands of these cases and, at the end of the day, we have a handful of people who claim that they were ripped off. And when you're doing thousands of cases, mistakes get made," Clewley told CBC News in a recent interview.

"Documents don't get filled out properly. Things don't get put where they're supposed to. That doesn't amount to theft unless you start the investigation, working from the assumption that they are thieves and set out to prove it. I think that's what happened."

Renewed interest in 2003
Neily and his task force renewed their interest in Team 2 in early 2003, after getting Markovic to file an official complaint.

Before then, Markovic had repeatedly refusing repeated requests from the STF to complain about Team 2.

He relented after striking a deal that any statements he gave to the STF would not be used against him later, either in criminal court or in a lawsuit he filed against the police service.

Markovic was arrested in Oct. 28, 1999, by the Ross/Abbott crew and charged with dealing cocaine. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Markovic and his wife, Natasha, filed a suit in 2000 against: nine Team 2 officers who searched their home; the Toronto Police Service; its board and former TPS chief David Boothby. The TPS internal documents that surfaced this week were a result of a court motion in Markovic's suit.

The Markovics claimed the nine officers beat him in his pizza shop and later robbed him of close to more than $361,000 in cash and valuables. They sought $1.3 million in damages.

STF investigator Det. Neal Ward said in a report about the Markovic case that "the work of the Central Field Command Drug Squad was sloppy at best and a hair's-width away from being criminal."

Neily had set dates in early 2003 to meet Markovic to take his statement of complaint. But that meeting — and the probe into Team 2 — was suddenly called off.

CBC News has learned that in March 2003, Fantino met with Neily, other STF investigators and TPS chief financial officer Frank Chen. According to sources who requested anonymity, Fantino threatened to cut off all funding for forensic audits on officers suspected of wrongdoing.

Probe moved to Internal Affairs
The sources said Fantino cited financial pressures and the need for Toronto police to be prepared for a potential "terrorist attack" as reasons for the STF to wrap up its work, closing the door on any further probe of Team 2 officers.

"I was shocked," Peter Biro, Markovic's lawyer at the time, told CBC News.

"Chief Supt. Neily called sheepishly and apologetically and told me the interview was cancelled … that the investigation into the Markovics' complaints was at an end, [and] would not continue."

"Chief Supt. Neily said on at least one occasion in that telephone call that it was not his decision. The explanation? A lack of resources and a need to wrap up the task force. That was the official reason given to me," Biro said in a recent interview.

Neily, now retired from the RCMP, told CBC News that "given our resourcing limitations and our focus on Team 3," the STF had no choice but to hand the case back to TPS Internal Affairs.

"It was a Toronto Police Service decision," Neily told CBC News when asked why the STF didn't handle it or do financial checks on officers on the other suspect team.

Neily recommended in a November 2003 document he titled, "Notes From the Wall: We Are Not Done Yet," that someone should interview Markovic and begin an undercover operation to try to get to the bottom of the allegations against Team 2.

Fantino, now commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, refused to be interviewed for this story.

Markovic now learning details
TPS Internal Affairs did eventually take a statement from Markovic in the summer of 2003, but closed the file, concluding he was not a credible witness and too much time had passed.

TPS conducted no further probe of the officers or their personal finances. Markovic claims he's been kept in the dark about the internal investigations for years.

After repeated attempts, Markovic's legal team — now headed by high-profile Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer — secured a court order in December 2008 compelling the TPS to hand over hundreds of pages of documents, including the confidential briefing notes to Fantino about the Team 2 officers.

In February, the Toronto Police Service handed over the documents. Falconer, after reviewing the documents, decided to effectively rewrite the lawsuit Markovic had filed in 2000.

Falconer has now filed a motion in civil court that seeks to expand the lawsuit, claiming that beyond theft and assault by officers, the TPS failed to properly investigate the corruption allegations.

"It was deliberately covered up," Falconer told a Toronto court at a Wednesday hearing. "They pulled the plug."

In an interview with CBC News, Falconer brushed aside suggestions that the STF's mandate was limited to an investigation of Team 3 and it had to end at some point.

"Why not tell the Canadian public the truth? Pure and simple," he said.

"Why not acknowledge that they had concerns about members of Team 2? Why say the allegations are confined and isolated, when in fact the concerns were the opposite? Why not acknowledge that the investigation is being unplugged for a lack of resources?"

Falconer said he fears the failure to let the STF fully investigate Team 2 was all part of a plan set in motion back in 2001 when Fantino set up the internal probe.

He pointed toward an internal TPS recommendation that the STF probe could "avert a public inquiry" and "provide some assurance that it was just this one team."

A Toronto judge has reserved decision on whether he'll allow an expanded suit to go to trial.

STF findings of irregularities in 1999 drug case:
•On March 19, 1999, officers Mike Abbott and Darren Cox told a bank manager to leave the room while they counted and seized cash from a safety deposit box in connection with a criminal investigation of Roman Paryniuk.
•The manager was to step outside in case there were harmful substances in the box, but the officers themselves took no protective steps.
•The two took an hour to return to the station, stopping for a sandwich on the way, despite carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in their cruiser.
•The money was placed in a safe in the detective's office, and the money bags were not sealed. The money was not formally counted until March 25, almost a week after the seizure.
•The officers reported counting $664,000. But Paryniuk reported $200,000 was missing from the box.
•The probe in this case was dropped when Paryniuk refused to complain formally.
Source: STF report summary in an affidavit filed by Falconer Charney LLP.
In the late 1990s, nine separate drug dealers accused members of Team 2, led by Det. Danny Ross and Const. Mike Abbott, of stealing more than $600,000 in cash from them.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lead-footed OPP constable remains on duty

By Trevor Wilhelm, The Windsor Star

The OPP officer who ran a stop sign and crashed his police cruiser — while allegedly doing nearly double the speed limit — remains on duty and could even return to the road helping catch speeders.

Const. Kristopher Gagnier, 26, an Essex County officer for three years, was charged with street racing after crashing his marked cruiser into a Kingsville ditch.

When Gagnier ran the stop sign at a T-intersection on Graham Side Road, he was allegedly going 157 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. He was on duty at the time of the high-speed crash, but not responding to a call.

The Highway Traffic Act dictates that the OPP cruiser he was driving will be impounded for seven days. Gagnier’s driver’s licence was also suspended for seven days. But that doesn’t necessarily bar him from patrolling the roads.

“He just can’t drive for seven days,” said Sgt. David Rektor with the OPP western region headquarters.

“There are other options available to members. They can be the second officer in the vehicle and assist that way. But driving is out of the question for the seven-day period.”

Police said the single vehicle crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Thursday when Gagnier, on routine patrol, failed to stop at the intersection of Graham Side Road and Road 7.

Rektor said he didn’t know what the cost of damage was to the car, but added there was “extensive front end damage.” He also didn’t know if the officer will have to pay for the repairs or if taxpayers will be on the hook.

More than 15,000 drivers have been charged with street racing since the law was introduced in 2007.

Rektor said Gagnier is the first Essex officer to be charged, but several other OPP officers elsewhere in the province have been charged while on duty.

Gagnier’s first appearance in provincial court is scheduled for Jan. 4. Rektor said Monday it was too soon to know if there will be a separate investigation under the Police Services Act, a provincial act governing the conduct of police officers.

“We have to abide by the same laws, rules and regulations that a citizen would,” said Rektor. “However, we’re also subject to considerations under the Police Services Act.”

“We’ve got high standards of conduct and professionalism that we expect from our officers in order that we can honour the public trust we’re given. That’s why the Police Services Act is there. It offers the ability to ensure our people are holding up their responsibilities.”

Rektor said it’s not acceptable for an officer to shirk those responsibilities.

“The OPP holds our members accountable for their actions,” he said. “Public trust and confidence is the cornerstone of what we do. Without it, we’re lost. When you accept this position of trust, you accept a lot of responsibility. You have to know that people expect you to lead by example. That’s the message our commissioner, right from the onset of this, has made clear. The OPP will lead by example and be held accountable.” or 519-255-6850

Source: Windsor Star

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Couple taken for a ride

BOWMANVILLE -- "It's not a mixed message. You can't be intoxicated in a public place. It's an offence."

-- Insp. Charlie Green, Durham Regional Police

That argument may be a tough sell.

Especially considering that two people charged with public intoxication -- and they are not alone in this roust -- were standing on the corner, hand-in-hand, waiting for the arrival of A Ryde Home, a local designated driver service.

It's a service, in fact, that 61-year-old retiree Jack Knowler and his girlfriend, Bev Rogers, use every Thursday when they take in karaoke night at Hanc's Bar.

"You do the right thing, you drink but you don't drive, and this happens? How is that right?" he asks. "How is it right that you get a $65 ticket for public intoxication while quietly waiting for your DD to pick you up?

"If that's not a mixed message, what is?"

He has a point.

Jack Knowler, who retired from the PPG paint plant in Oshawa two years ago, has no criminal record, has never had an impaired charge and certainly no previous public intoxication charge and, for sure, he is not one of those locals who, in the vernacular, are "known to police."

And neither is Bev Rogers, who runs a small construction company.

Both are decent, responsible, and law-abiding.

"If we have more than one drink, we always call the service," says Knowler. "My home is less than a mile from Hanc's bar, so I could have probably driven home, taken the chance, and likely beaten the odds.

"But I didn't. Instead, I did the right thing.

"And what did it get us?" he asked. "One ticket for her and one ticket for me."

On the night they were charged, Jack Knowler and Bev Rogers had first gone to Maddy's Pub, just up the street from Hanc's, and that's where Knowler left his truck -- about a block and a half from Hanc's.

The main drag of this town has little or no public parking, and so that is where cars are left -- in the parking lots of the pubs, the restaurants, and the Legion.

Publican Vic Hanc sees this ticket tactic as nothing but harassment, and was on the phone last week to his local councillor and MPP to raise a stink about it.

"By issuing these tickets, the police are enticing people to try to drive home," says Hanc. "It just blows my mind.

"It's on-the-spot judgment, with no discretion. They should be thanking those people for not trying to drive."

Martin McLellan, a 62-year-old retired GM worker, left his truck in the Legion lot a few nights ago and, on the way back from his local pub -- his cellphone to his ear talking to the A Ryde Home dispatcher -- suddenly had a police cruiser pull up beside him as he walked along the sidewalk.

"I wasn't staggering, but they said I was drunk," says McLellan. "Then, when I told them I was just talking to the DD service, they said they'd give me a ride home.

"And they did -- but not without first giving me a $65 ticket for public intoxication.

"I wasn't too happy about it," says McLellan. "The DD service would have cost me no more than $20, tip included.

"What are the cops trying to do?" he asks. "Put us behind the wheels of our vehicles?"

Colleen Monk is the entrepreneur behind A Ryde Home, one of a dozen such designated-driving services in the area.

She has been in business three years, has seven cars on the road and, during the so-called Festive RIDE season, she will bump up her fleet to perhaps 15 cars.

And she, too, is upset about what the police are doing.

"It's getting a bit ridiculous, doesn't you think?" she says. "My driver literally pulled in to pick up (Knowler and Roger) at the same time the cops pulled up.

"But the cops didn't care.

"Here we have people doing the right thing, and getting penalized for it," she says.

"And it is just not right."

Dressed in her A Ryde Home jacket with Designation Driver embroidered on the front, the driver dispatched to pick up Jack Knowler and Bev Rogers in the parking lot of Maddy's, which closes early on Thursdays, says the police cut the couple no slack.


"The officer saw my jacket. He knew what was going on, but he couldn't have cared less," says the DD, who asked that her name not be published.

"All he said was that they shouldn't have been hanging around a dark parking lot in the first place."

Insp. Charlie Green heads up the Bowmanville detachment of Durham Regional Police, a force that routinely publishes the names of those charged with impaired driving on its public website.

And, as far as he is concerned, the cops did no wrong issuing those public intoxication tickets to people waiting for their designated driver to show up.

"When I was transferred here three years ago from Pickering, I could not believe the number of drunks I saw on the streets," says Green. "But it's a lot better today.

"Being drunk in a public place is an offence, and I do not want to see (drunken people) stepping off a curb and getting whacked by a car."

After checking the logs, he noted that the charges against Knowler and Rogers were laid by uniformed members of the DRAVIS squad -- Durham Region Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy -- whose role as described on the force's website is to "reduce violence, increase community safety and improve the quality of life for members of our communities within Durham Region."

According to Green, part of the DRAVIS detail is to check out local drinking establishments for trouble near closing time, and "to enforce the law."

"They take what is basically a zero-tolerance approach to everything," says Green. "It's high enforcement.

"When it comes to public intoxication, they may take you home, but you're going to get a ticket."


Toronto Sun

Bryant case postponed until late January

A hearing in the case of former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant, who has been charged in connection with the death of a Toronto bicycle courier, has been put over until Jan. 22.

The former prominent politician and head of Toronto's business development agency, Invest Toronto, did not appear in court Monday but was represented by his lawyer.

Bryant faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in connection with an August altercation involving cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard.

Sheppard, 33, died of head injuries after being dragged along a stretch of Toronto's Bloor Street while hanging on to Bryant's car.

Police say Sheppard had an altercation with Bryant and grabbed onto his car. Witnesses say Bryant then drove away with Sheppard hanging on to the side of the vehicle until he fell off.

Since Bryant once appointed judges and oversaw Crown prosecutors, Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck has been brought in to prosecute the case, which is being tried in Toronto.

An out-of-province judge is expected to preside over the trial once it begins.


Ontario not guarding tax dollars enough: auditor

The Ontario government is doing a poor job of determining who is eligible for welfare and disability aid and hasn't done enough to recover more than $1.2 billion in overpayments, says the province's auditor general.

In a report released Monday, Jim McCarter said government supervision of social assistance programs is not strong enough.

McCarter cited one example in which the Community and Social Services Ministry failed to follow up on five tips about a family that received $100,000 in taxpayer-funded social assistance.

"If we can tighten down and make sure that only people [who] are entitled to get money actually get the money, you know it does give the government some flexibility when they're looking to make sure they can look after those people that really need the money," he told reporters just before the release of the report.

The government has a total of $663 million in overpayments under the Ontario Disability Support Program, the auditor's report said.

Meanwhile, the number of unrecovered payments made under Ontario Works, the province's welfare program, stands at $600 million.

"Once you've overpaid the money out, it's very difficult to get it back. The key thing with these two programs is you've got to stop the overpayment from occurring in the first place," he said.

The government said there was already $1.1 billion in overpayments when the Liberals came to power in 2003, but admitted that amount has grown since then.

McCarter stressed in the report that "public funds were often not being spent with enough due diligence and oversight to ensure that taxpayers were getting full value for their hard-earned tax dollars."

The government needs to be more vigilant in ensuring that only those people actually eligible for benefits receive them, said the report, which is released annually and serves as a report card on the government's performance.

"It is not the absence or inadequacy of rules or guidelines that was the problem," McCarter wrote.

"Rather, I believe that there is a culture or mindset among some of those accountable for managing and delivering government programs that does not always prioritize getting maximum value for the taxpayer's dollar," he wrote.

Big markups for health-care equipment
McCarter pointed to the health-care sector for more examples of inefficient spending, saying the government isn't trying hard enough to get the best deals on medical devices like hearing aids and wheelchairs.

The government spent $347 million last year on assistive medical devices, up 90 per cent since the last audit in 2002.

McCarter found that companies selling those devices were charging hefty markups, sometimes more than double the cost for which they would ordinarily sell.

"We feel they're overpaying, and significantly overpaying for a number of things that they're purchasing," McCarter told reporters just before the release of the report. "Clearly they could be acquiring these devices for a lot less money."

For example, McCarter found that the government-approved price for a monitor that typically costs vendors around $250 is $1,332 — more than a four-fold markup.

The report also says the Health Ministry knew some health-care workers who prescribe the devices were potentially in a conflict of interest because of connections to the sellers, yet only rarely took action.

McCarter added he is concerned about how much the government is paying for its telephone medical advice service, Telehealth.

It costs the government $39 per call, twice the price in other provinces, McCarter said.

"We actually found they'd really done no analysis or no followup whatsoever about why we're paying $39 and other provinces could be paying significantly less," he said.

One out of every four callers hangs up before getting through to a nurse, he added.

McCarter also said the government needs to better promote Telehealth because the number of calls each year is declining.

More work on bridges needed
The auditor's report also said Ontario's roadways also need more attention, as inspections of bridges across the province are not thorough enough.

At least 180 bridges are deemed to be in poor condition, but the government has not budgeted any money in its capital plan for the next year to fix one-third of them, McCarter wrote.

He found most of the 2,800 bridges under provincial jurisdiction are not being adequately inspected.

There are another 12,000 bridges that are the responsibility of local municipalities across Ontario, but "the province doesn't have the authority to inquire into the adequacy of municipal bridge inspection and maintenance processes."


Corruption charges stayed against 3 Toronto officers

An Ontario court has thrown out corruption charges against three Toronto police officers, including the son of a former police chief.

Superior Court Justice Bonnie Croll stayed the charges Monday, ruling that William McCormack Jr., Rick McIntosh and George Kouroudis were denied their right to a fair trial because of excessive delays.

The officers were charged with multiple offences in 2003, including influence peddling and breach of trust. McCormack and McIntosh were charged with soliciting and accepting bribes from nightclub owners in the entertainment district.

McCormack, 50, is the son of former Toronto police chief William McCormack and brother of current police union chief Mike McCormack. McIntosh, 55, is the former head of the police union.

Kouroudis was a police constable who also ran a club called Lotus in the entertainment district.

The judge said it was mainly the fault of the prosecution that it took six years to bring the case to court. She blamed the lead police investigator for the lengthy delays.

This is the second time in two years that corruption charges have been stayed against Toronto police officers.

In January 2008, Crown delays led to charges being stayed against six former members of the drug squad. That ruling was overturned on appeal in October 2009.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cop probed for harassing 'rats'

I'm beyond shocked by the author of this article, this is not his style
Rob you finally get props from me, not that that means much!

Funny I can't find any information on the Breton Berthiaume incident!


A veteran Toronto cop allegedly called fellow officers "rats" and then tailed their cruiser after they charged an off-duty Halton police officer with impaired driving.

More than 20 Toronto Police officers are being interviewed by internal affairs following the weekend arrest near the Halton cop's High Park home.

The force is also looking at the actions of senior officers who possibly allowed the confrontation to happen.

The scope of the probe goes beyond the individual officer and will look at "what happened and what didn't happen, and what should have," Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said.

"Preferential treatment for police officers undermines the relationship with those we are sworn to serve and protect," Pugash said.

No charges have been filed but he said the investigation is a high priority for the service.

Breton Berthiaume, 28, a constable assigned to Halton's Oakville district who joined the service in January 2008, was arrested by two 11 Division cops, one who has less than a year's service, early Saturday morning on High Park Ave.

Berthiaume was taken to 22 Division for a breathalyzer test.

But, sources said, a veteran with about 20 years on the force and based at the Etobicoke station berated the 11 Division officers who arrested Berthiaume, who was subsequently charged with impaired driving.

One police source said the veteran reportedly called the arresting officers "rats."

The comments apparently were made on the station's internal PA system, but no one with Toronto Police would comment on that report.

When the arresting officers left 22 Division to return to southwest Toronto, the veteran officer allegedly followed them.

The officers were spooked by his behaviour and blew through a red light, sources said.

They were then given a ticket by the veteran officer for driving through the light.

Berthiaume, who was off work with an injury, is now suspended with pay, but a Halton police spokesman, Sgt. Brian Carr, said it's expected he'll soon be assigned to administrative duty.

Toronto Sun

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ottawa police officer charged with assault

An Ottawa police officer has been charged with several counts of assault and could face charges under Ontario's Police Services Act.

The Ontario Provincial Police have charged the 33-year-old Ottawa officer with two counts of assault with a weapon and two counts of assault causing bodily harm, Ottawa police said in a media release Wednesday.

The Ottawa police professional standards section is also investigating, and charges may be laid under the Police Services Act.

"The Ottawa Police Service takes the conduct of its members very seriously and holds all sworn officers to a standard that is consistent with community expectations and their oath of office," Gilles Larochelle, acting chief of the Ottawa police, said in the media release.

"In cases where an officer is found to be in violation of these standards, discipline will be sought."

The officer was suspended from duty with pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

Ottawa Police and the OPP would not release the name of the officer in order to "protect the victims' privacy and prevent further victimization."


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Man charged `because of his race,' judge finds

They lied in court, is this not perjury?

Published On Thu Nov 26 2009

Drug charges against a Toronto man have been thrown out after a Superior Court justice found police engaged in racial profiling when they pulled his vehicle over and then lied about it in court.

Justice Frances Kiteley found police "had no lawful basis to pull Mr. (Irshad) Ahmed over" on Nov. 25, 2008, while he was driving in Toronto's west end.

Constables Justyn Humeniuk and Ryan Willmer of 23 Division said they pulled 26-year-old Ahmed over because he ran a red light. Kiteley rejected that explanation, saying the officers had "lied." "He did nothing to cause the police officers to pay attention to him," she wrote in an 11-page ruling released Wednesday.

"I am compelled to draw the inference that Mr. Ahmed was investigated and arbitrarily detained because of his race," the judge wrote.

"I'm happy for Mr. Ahmed," his lawyer, Gary Grill, said Wednesday. "But he's been in jail for a year because of the colour of his skin."

This is the second time a judge has concluded officers lied in court about their dealings with Ahmed. Last year, a judge found officers used excessive force when Tasering Ahmed; Ahmed was sent to jail for 75 days for obstructing police.

The court heard a tape of the incident in which an officer is heard taunting Ahmed, who was lying face down in broken glass.

Toronto Star

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Judge..........

Shannon Kari, National Post
Published: Sunday, November 22, 2009

TORONTO -- A second judge in Ontario has ruled that the province's stunt driving law is unconstitutional, which could increase the pressure on police to stop laying the charge until the issue is decided by a higher court.

Justice Peter West, a provincial court judge in Newmarket, found that a potential penalty of up to six months in jail violates the Charter of Rights because the law does not permit an accused person to put forward any defence.

"There is no air of reality to the Crown's submissions that a defendant charged with stunt driving has an available defence of due diligence," wrote Judge West, in a ruling released Nov. 19.

As a result, he dismissed stunt driving charges against Alexandra Drutz, who was 18 when she clocked at 157 km/h while driving her parent's car in March 2008 on Highway 407, just north of Toronto.

Stunt driving is defined as being more than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, which is the same type of "absolute liability" offence as speeding infractions in the Highway Traffic Act, said Judge West. "Calling the conduct stunt driving does not change its characterization - it is still a speeding offence albeit by a different name," he stated.

An absolute liability offence means someone may not argue they took precautions and did not realize how fast they were driving. More than 20 years ago the Supreme Court of Canada stated that potential jail terms for offences that do not permit a defence breaches the Charter.

The ruling by Judge West comes just weeks after a provincial court judge in eastern Ontario came to the same conclusion and overturned the conviction of a 62-year-old grandmother charged with stunt driving.

The Ontario Provincial Police stated at the time that it would continue to lay charges under the stunt driving laws. The province also appealed that decision. It is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal in about two months from now.

The two court rulings are binding on Justices of Peace in Ontario, who preside over many Highway Traffic Act trials.

Until there is a ruling on the stunt driving laws from the Ontario Court of Appeal, police should take a "time out" from laying these charges, said Enzo Rondinelli, a Toronto lawyer who along with Paul Cooper represented Ms. Drutz.

"The current score in provincial court is 2-0 in favour of a finding of constitutional invalidity," noted Mr. Rondinelli. "There are other sections under the Highway Traffic Act for police to deal with speeders," he added.

More than 10,000 people have been charged under the stunt driving provisions in Ontario since they were introduced in 2007 by then-attorney-general Michael Bryant.

Judge West noted in his ruling that the stunt driving provisions were passed unanimously by the Ontario legislature in what was billed as a law targeting street racing. The specific "regulations" however, which defined speeding as stunt driving and have now been found to be unconstitutional, were drawn up at a later date by the Ontario government.

National Post

Bike lane backlash

A Toronto Police officer who parked his cruiser in a bike lane to get his lunch is getting no love from his superiors, who are coming down hard on his "stupid" and "unacceptable" actions.

On Sunday,the Sun witnessed a city cop sitting inside the Grillway Cafe, at Runnymede Rd. and Annette St., while his cruiser was blocking a bike lane on Annette.

The officer was parked there for at least 20 minutes before leaving the cafe with a can of pop and a paper lunch bag.

But instead of protecting their own, Toronto Police brass called the officer's parking actions "stupid" and "unacceptable."


Last week, cycling advocates brought the issue of blocking bike lanes for non-emergency reasons to the attention of the Toronto Police Services Board, which asked Chief Bill Blair to examine the issue.

"That's not kosher at all. It's right in our procedures that, outside of exigent circumstances, you do not park illegally, and that includes in bike lanes," said Sgt. Tim Burrows, of the force's traffic services department. He added higher-ups at the force were "incensed" when they heard about the Annette St. incident.

"It's very unfortunate that the officer decided to do this, but from the top on down, it's something that will not be tolerated," he insisted.

Residents said yesterday it's not unusual for officers to park illegally in the bike lane while they get some food at the popular Grillway.

"They're parked there quite often," said Orest Zakydalsky, who lives a few doors from the cafe. His mother and aunt were both dinged with $60 tickets for blocking the bike lane on the day city management posted bike lane signs without warning during the civic strike.

"I think it's a bit strange that the very people who are giving us tickets for parking in the bike lane do it themselves whenever they feel like it," Zakydalsky said.

Staff Insp. Peter Lennox, who runs 11 Division where the officer is from, said he would be issuing a division-wide communique "right away" reminding officers they can't block bike lanes, or otherwise park illegally, except in specific situations.

"All things being equal, we expect them to follow the same laws as everybody else," Lennox said. "I'm going to make sure people know that that's not to be done.

"They can park legally along with everyone else when they go into not only the Grillway, but anywhere else in the division."

Lennox said it's "possible" the officer who blocked the bike lane will face a reprimand, but not without an internal investigation.

Former police services board chairman Alan Heisey urged current members Thursday to start a ticketing blitz against bike lane blockers.

Yvonne Bambrick, the executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, also raised concerns about the issue with the board last week, calling for the province to double the $60 fine for parking in a bike lane.

Her association also wants the city's emergency services to use common sense when it comes to blocking bike lanes.

"It happens all the time," she said. "We totally understand their need when they are working, but when they're having lunch, or whatever, find a side street or a parking space.

Toronto Sun

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bryant case delayed until December

A criminal court case involving former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant has been put over until Dec 7.

The former politician, who has yet to appear in court, was represented by his lawyer, Marie Henein, on Monday.

"We are anxious to have this matter move forward," she told the Toronto judge.

Henein said her client's case hasn't moved ahead because she is still waiting for disclosure documents from the Crown.

Mark Sandler, who represented the Crown in court, told the judge that both sides agree that the case should proceed as quickly as possible.

Both sides are expected to attend a closed door, case management session with Justice Paul Bentley on Nov. 30, which both sides described as a routine step.

Henein said she hopes to have the disclosure documents by then.

Bryant faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in a collision involving a cyclist on Aug. 31. Police say bike courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33, died after grabbing on to a car in Toronto following an altercation with the driver.

Since Bryant once appointed judges and oversaw Crown prosecutors, Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck has been brought in to prosecute the case. An out-of-province judge is expected to preside over the trial once it begins.

Bryant was elected as the Liberal MPP for St. Paul's riding in 1999 and won re-election in 2003 — becoming the province's youngest-ever attorney general at the time — and again in 2007. He also served as aboriginal affairs minister and minister of economic development.

Bryant remained an Ontario cabinet minister until May of this year when he stepped down to take the job as president and CEO of Invest Toronto, an arm's-length agency set up by the City of Toronto to promote investment. Until then he had been frequently mentioned as a possible successor to Premier Dalton McGuinty as leader of the province's Liberals.

Bryant is a Harvard-trained lawyer who clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and later taught law at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall and King's College, London.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Toronto police officer charged with impaired

Toronto Police Constable Adam Lourenco was charged with impaired.
Constable Lourenco was allegedly found behind the wheel of his vehicle with the motor running, asleep.

Friday, November 13, 2009

OPP commissioner loses court appeal

An adjudicator hearing a messy disciplinary case involving Ontario's top police officer showed no bias and need not step down, the province's highest court ruled Friday.

The decision sided with a lower court that found Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino had failed to prove the adjudicator was unfit to hear the case.

"The Divisional Court found that an informed person viewing the matter realistically and practically — and having thought the matter through — would not conclude there was any apprehension of bias on the part of the adjudicator," the Appeal Court ruled.

"I would go further and say that the events in this case fall far short of the type of conduct that would give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias."

The adjudicator, retired justice Leonard Montgomery, had been hearing the disciplinary case against two senior officers Fantino charged with misconduct.

Fantino was under cross-examination last fall when he accused Montgomery of bias and pressed him to step down.

"This commissioner interrupted his cross-examination 13 months ago for what the Court of Appeal is basically saying was for meritless reasons," defence lawyer Julian Falconer said Friday.

"My clients are simply anxious to finish this case up. Enough is enough."

Fantino's lawyer Tom Curry expressed disappointment at the decision, adding that he would consider now trying to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"I certainly haven't ruled such a thing out," Curry said.

"I felt that the case did clearly meet the legal requirements for a finding of a reasonable apprehension of bias."

The defence in the misconduct case against Supt. Ken MacDonald and Insp. Alison Jevons has alleged that Fantino only laid the charges to appease the police union and because he suspected MacDonald of leaking information.

During the disciplinary hearings, Falconer has also accused Fantino of witness tampering and political interference.

"This is a political prosecution and nothing the commissioner has done in the last 13 months in front of the various judges … has done anything other than to simply further confirm their concerns," Falconer said Friday. Fantino has rejected allegations of any untoward conduct on his part.

The hearing saw Montgomery clash with Fantino and prosecutor Brian Gover, who said the provincial attorney general backed his request for the adjudicator to step down.

The bias allegation came when Montgomery expressed concerns after Fantino changed his evidence.

Montgomery in turn complained Gover was trying to intimidate him and decried any government involvement in the quasi-judicial process.

As of Sept. 11, 2009 the Ontario Ministry of Community safety and Correctional Services has spent more than $500,000 on all proceedings stemming from the affair, CBC News has learned.

The labyrinthine affair began in April 2004, when Susan Cole of Gananoque, Ont., called 911 to say her estranged husband, a provincial police sergeant, had taken a baseball bat to her car.

Cole complained the responding officers asked her to leave her home rather than arrest her spouse.

MacDonald and Jevons investigated Cole's complaint, and concluded the responding officers had not followed proper procedure.


Ontario's deputy health minister resigns!

One of the last remaining figures in Ontario's eHealth controversy has resigned just weeks after he was grilled by a legislature committee about the $1 billion Ontario has spent so far on electronic health records.

Deputy health minister Ron Sapsford, who was appointed to the post in 2005, headed the largest bureaucracy in the Ontario government with a budget of more than $40 billion. He also oversaw the creation of eHealth and served as its interim CEO last summer.

Deb Matthews, the minister of health and long-term care, acknowledged the resignation Friday but didn't provide a reason for Sapsford's departure.

Instead, Matthews thanked Sapsford for his "dedicated commitment to improving the health care for Ontario families."

"As deputy minister of health, he has helped make measurable progress in the speed and quality of health care available to Ontarians," Matthews said in a statement, also crediting Sapsford for helping improve access to front-line health care.

The resignation is effective Jan. 3.

The opposition parties had demanded Sapsford quit for his role in the eHealth scandal, especially after David Caplan was forced to resign as health minister.

Scathing report
Caplan resigned last month, just one day before the auditor general released a scathing report detailing how little value Ontario got for the $1 billion spent trying to create electronic health records.

Former eHealth Ontario CEO Sarah Kramer and board chair Alan Hudson also resigned their positions in June.

Top officials from scandal-plagued eHealth, including eHealth Ontario chair Rita Burak and Sapsford, were called before the legislature's public accounts committee in October to explain the agency's use of outside consultants.

At that time, Burak said taxpayers deserved an apology for the scandal, which involved awarding of hundreds of millions of dollars in untendered contracts to consultants, but stopped short of actually providing one.

She also told the committee eHealth had trimmed the number of consultants to 286 in September from 385 last spring, and promised that number would be reduced to 160 by next spring.

Sapsford said then he didn't see any reason why he should resign, and noted the government was looking into only one contract, valued at $1 million.

He also took issue with opposition claims that all of the money spent so far on electronic health records has been wasted.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Police officer charged in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — A Sarnia police officer, already before the court on other criminal matters, has been arrested and charged with sexual offences.

The charges were laid following an investigation by Chatham-Kent Police Service, Sarnia police said Wednesday.

The unnamed officer is charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference, a Criminal Code offence involving an alleged victim under the age of 14.

Sarnia police said the officer’s name has not been released to protect the identity of the alleged victims.

The officer has been remanded in custody and will appear for a bail hearing in Chatham, Ont. on Thursday.

The Sun

$1M in untendered contracts tied to top health official

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 9:19 PM ET
The Canadian Press

Untendered contracts totalling $1 million were awarded by the province to a consulting firm whose top executive was later appointed as one of the government's top health bureaucrats, The Canadian Press has learned.

Helen Stevenson, the assistant deputy minister and executive officer of Ontario's Public Drug Programs, was hired as a consultant in 2005 by the Health Ministry when she was president of Savattuq Inc., a government spokesman confirmed late Tuesday.

Between June 2005 and June 2007, the government gave Savattuq three sole-sourced contracts totalling just over $1 million, according to the provincial public accounts.

Stevenson was hired, in her capacity as a consultant, to head up the province's drug system secretariat, whose purpose was to develop and implement new strategies to manage the province's drug costs, said Health Ministry spokesman David Jensen.

More specifically, the secretariat was charged with producing a "plan of action" that would set directions for the province's drug system, including the Ontario Drug Benefits Program, over five to 10 years, Jensen said in an email.

The three contracts to Savattuq were sole-sourced "given the urgent need to move forward with transformational changes to the drug program," he said.

Those changes led to legislation — the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act — which has saved the province almost $700 million over two years, he said.

Contracts allowed at the time, government says
At the time, untendered contracts were permitted, Jensen said.

Premier Dalton McGuinty changed those rules recently after millions in untendered contracts at eHealth Ontario were brought to light.

Stevenson was appointed assistant deputy minister on June 14, 2007, after an open competition, and took over the executive director job from deputy minister of health Ron Sapsford, Jensen said.

The contract with Stevenson, who makes $275,717 a year in her current job plus $473.28 in benefits, was cancelled after her appointment, he said.

Ivan Langrish, a spokesman for Health Minister Deb Matthews, acknowledged that the contracts were sole-sourced.

"I think it's actually really a good thing," he said.

"We took someone basically from the private sector, had them then join the public sector to undergo basically a transformation of our drug strategy and look what we've managed to do. What we've managed to do is save some $700 million."

News of this latest untendered contract comes in the aftermath of a spending scandal over electronic health records at eHealth, where millions of dollars went out the door in untendered contracts.

The government is also looking to cut costs in an effort to tame a projected $24.7 billion deficit this year — the largest in the province's history.

NDP pans consultant 'addiction'
The Savattuq contracts and Stevenson's promotion raise serious questions about whether the governing Liberals are hiding a secret agenda to slash drug benefits, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

The government is still concealing an untendered, $750,000 report by McKinsey & Co. into cost-cutting for generic drugs, which could end up cutting drug benefits to seniors and welfare recipients, Horwath said.

"It seems to me that it's just another example of this addiction that the government has to hiring consultants," Horvath added.

Langrish insists the government isn't looking to cut drug benefits with the McKinsey report.

"It has nothing to do with that," he said. "It's really trying to reduce the costs of generic drugs, reducing those costs as much as we possibly can because we're paying too much for drugs here."

The governing Liberals may think the Savattuq contracts were good value for money, but taxpayers are tired of seeing them bend the rules, said Progressive Conservative health critic Christine Elliott.

"Everything in health can presumably be said to be urgent because there are many pressing matters," she said.

"But the rules still need to be followed. The end doesn't justify the means."

Matthews has declined to make the McKinsey report public, saying the gist of its findings can be found on slides posted on the her ministry's website.

Those are based on a July presentation by Sapsford, which talks about delivering value for money in the provincial drug system, but makes no reference to McKinsey or the agency's recommendations.

A call to Stevenson's office for comment was not immediately returned Tuesday


Friday, October 30, 2009

Union barks back at SIU

Says watchdog charging more cops in '09 to look tougher

The province's Special Investigations Unit and its director Ian Scott are charging more cops across the province to "fulfil a political agenda," Toronto's police union boss charges.

An attempt to make it look like the SIU is tougher on cops after the provincial ombudsman called it a "toothless tiger" may have resulted in some officers being wrongly charged, Mike McCormack and union lawyer Peter Brauti argue.

McCormack, who was elected to lead the 8,300-member Toronto Police Association earlier this month, told the Sun yesterday that the union is now taking the "unprecedented step" of independently reviewing all cases of Toronto Police officers who have been charged in 2009.

After reviewing those cases, they'll decide if they want to investigate others.

The union's criticism of the SIU comes in a year that has so far seen six Toronto officers charged by the police watchdog compared to none last year.

"There's an appearance that our members, based on the information that we have right now, that they're being charged to fulfil a political agenda of the director, Ian Scott," McCormack said.

"We're concerned right now with the overcharging -- that there are already some officers wrongfully charged," Brauti said.

SIU spokesman Monica Hudon said SIU investigations are motivated only by evidence.

"With respect to the higher number of charges, the Special Investigations Unit approaches each investigation with objectivity and without a bias of criminality," Hudon said.

According to the SIU data cited by Hudon, no Toronto officers were charged in 2008, while two (one a former Toronto Police officer) were charged in 2007. No Toronto cops were charged by the SIU in 2006. One was charged in 2005 and one in 2004.

So far in 2009, 13 officers across the province have been charged by the SIU. That's compared to three in 2008, six in 2007, two in 2006, three in 2005 and three in 2004.

Scott, a former Crown and defence lawyer, took over in October 2008 from outgoing SIU director James Cornish, who had served since 2004.

Scott wasn't available to comment yesterday.

The cop union leaders believe Scott is trying to make the SIU look like it is cracking down after Ombudsman Andre Marin's September 2008 report raised questions of whether the SIU was too lenient on police.

"We believe the political agenda is to justify his leadership of the SIU and we also feel it's a knee-jerk reaction to the Marin report," McCormack said.

McCormack and Brauti refused to say which specific cases were fuelling their claims, saying they are before the courts.

The six Toronto officers charged by the SIU so far in 2009 include:

* Const. Allan Racette was charged with assault after a suspected car thief was allegedly injured during his arrest.

* Consts. Edward Ing and John Cruz were each slapped with a charge of assault causing bodily harm after Gerrard St. resident Richard Moore was hospitalized after an altercation with police.

* Const. Boris Petkovic was charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent in connection with an incident involving Toronto man Phabien Rhodius. The SIU alleges that Petkovic fired his gun twice at Rhodius, who was injured as a result. He later turned himself into police and when released from custody, contacted the SIU.

* Const. Ricardo Gomez was charged after a police chase that sent three people to hospital.

* Const. Jason Goss was charged after a 30-year-old man was allegedly injured during an arrest at Bloor St. W. and St. Clarens Ave.

The SIU, a civilian law enforcement agency that reports to the attorney general, investigates cases involving police that have resulted in serious injury, sexual assault or death.

McCormack accused the SIU of laying charges against officers when there has been no civilian injury and no possibility of criminal wrongdoing.

He also said officers have had their charter rights violated, personal property seized without warrants, and investigators have entered homes without a search warrant or consent.

"We're concerned about the erosion of officers' rights because if you go from a starting point that an SIU investigation is a criminal investigation, then there's no reason why those officers involved in those investigations deserve any less rights than anyone else," Brauti said.

Both the Toronto Police Association and the Ontario Provincial Police Association said they respect the role of the SIU, although McCormack said Toronto cops are feeling "mistrust" and "frustration" toward the organization.


Toronto Sun

McGuinty defends $81M Windsor Energy Centre

Premier Dalton McGuinty is defending an untendered, $81-million contract for an energy centre built to power a casino in Windsor.

He says his government took the right steps when awarding the contract for the Windsor Energy Centre "under the circumstances," because it had to keep the lights on at Caesars Windsor.

McGuinty says he's ended the practice of giving out contracts without competitive bids and that handing a sole-sourced deal to a consulting firm to operate the power plant was a special case.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who represents the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh, has come under fire in recent weeks for the soaring cost of the energy centre, which he admits came in way over budget.

The Opposition has suggested that the plant, which was commissioned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., amounts to political pork-barrelling, which Duncan denies.

Buttcon Energy Inc., which operated the plant until recently, has filed a $355-million lawsuit against the OLG alleging breach of contract.

Angus Consulting Management Ltd. is currently operating the plant in the short term.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

DBRS Downgrades Province of Ontario to AA (low) and R-1 (middle) on Continued Fiscal Erosion

DBRS has downgraded the long-term rating of the Province of Ontario (the Province or Ontario) to AA (low) from AA as a result of the considerable erosion reported today in the Province’s already depressed debt and fiscal outlooks. While the trend on the short-term rating was held Stable when the long-term trend was revised to Negative last June, DBRS has also downgraded the short-term rating to R-1 (middle) due to the extent of the deficits now foreseen for the next three years and the pressure this is expected to place on the borrowing program, which will require a much greater use of short-term debt. The long-term ratings of the Ontario School Boards Financing Corporation, Ontario Power Authority, University Health Network, MaRS Development Trust and the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation are also being downgraded by one notch given their strong ties to the Province. All trends are now Stable.

Based on the Q2 2009 update, the Province is now looking at a deficit of nearly $32 billion or 5.6% of GDP for this year on a DBRS-adjusted basis (including capital expenditures on a pay-as-you-go basis rather than as amortized), up 50% from the forecast available at the time of the budget. This also marks a notable deterioration from the Q1 2009 update released last June, which captured the effect of the auto sector bailout and rapidly declining tax revenues and led DBRS to change its trend on the long-term rating to Negative from Stable. The latest revisions are primarily the result of dampening tax collection due in part to the ongoing recession, and increased pressure on social program spending. Faced with a weaker-than-expected tax base, the Province has also trimmed its medium-term outlook, with DBRS-adjusted shortfalls of $27 billion to $30 billion now expected for the next two years, up from previous estimates of $17 billion to $21 billion.

Total debt as measured by DBRS is now projected to increase by 22% in 2009-2010 alone, and by 11% to 14% over the following two fiscal years. This will in turn boost Ontario’s debt-to-GDP-ratio from 29% at March 31, 2009, to approximately 37% by fiscal year-end, the third-highest level of all provinces, and to a peak as high as 43% by 2011-2012, well in excess of the level recorded at the onset of the early 1990s recession.

DBRS continues to take comfort in the scale and diversification of the provincial economy and expects Ontario to eventually regain its place among the provincial growth leaders. However, the uncertain pace of the global economic recovery still points to downside risk for the rest of the fiscal year, especially for Ontario given the adverse effect the strong Canadian dollar has on its large manufacturing base. More importantly, the limited success at containing in-year expenditure pressure raises considerable doubt about the Province’s fiscal resolve and ability to return to balance by 2015-16, as projected in the spring budget. Furthermore, the poor performance foreseen for the years to come will boost the debt burden to the highest level on record. As such, in the absence of notable tax increases or a meaningful effort to rein in expenditures, restoring the debt burden to the level enjoyed by the Province prior to the downturn could take more than a decade.

All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.

The applicable methodology is Rating Canadian Provincial Governments, which can be found on our website under Methodologies.

This is a Corporate (Public Finance) rating.

For more information on this credit or on this industry, visit or contact us at


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

MPP faces charge after traffic accident

Monday, October 26, 2009

A member of the Ontario legislature is facing a charge after a traffic accident on Friday.

Liberal MPP Kuldip Kular, who represents the riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton, northwest of Toronto, will be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, Peel regional police said.

Police say a car struck a pedestrian at about 7 p.m. Friday.

Witnesses told police the driver apparently got out of his car and spoke to the pedestrian, who was not seriously injured. A few minutes later the driver got back in his car and drove away.

Police say the driver did not provide all of the information required under the circumstances and will be charged with failing to remain.

The charge is not a criminal offence. Police say Kular will be issued a ticket with a court date.

If he is convicted, he could face a fine.


Toronto cops face assault charges

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Toronto police officers are facing assault charges following an incident earlier this year.

Const. Edward Ing and Const. John Cruz, were dealing with an individual on Gerrard Street East on April 24, at about 11 p.m., when they were approached by Richard Moore.

Moore, 58, exchanged words with the officers. An altercation ensued and Moore was taken St. Michael's Hospital for treatment of injuries.

The province's Special Investigations Unit was called in to investigate and on Monday it issued a news release saying assault charges have been laid against Ing and Cruz.

The two officers will make their first court appearances in November.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Toronto police officer charged with drunk driving

Another booze cruising police officer, a police officer that can seize the automobile your driving for SEVEN days for allegedly anything he deems to be a stunt, before any court date, thanks to car crushing, bicycle crushing, whatever way you want to look a it, Michael Bryant

It's a good thing our police officer's don't make mistakes or we'd have a lot more then ELEVEN THOUSAND damn street racers in Ontario!


October 23, 2009 | 5:39 PM ET

Toronto police have charged one of their own with a drinking and driving offence.

Police allege a speeding car slid onto a front lawn yesterday when the driver tried to brake at an intersection in Toronto's east end.

Const. Matthew Allard, 28, is charged with driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit.

Allard is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 14.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canada's worst government!

Donna and Daddy Dalton at it again!


Terence Corcoran, Financial Post
Published: Saturday, October 17, 2009

Every now and then a province falls into the hands of blundering politicians so inept that their government ends up deserving of the title "Canada's Worst Government." It's a rare award. At any time somebody has to be the worst, but no award for routine bottom-of-the-barrel performance seems necessary. Occasionally, however, the metric of incompetence is so large and conspicuousit demands special recognition. The Liberal regime of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, now slipping into deep deficits that are likely to exceed $30-billion over two years and continue into the future, has hit the tipping point and triggered its candidacy as Canada's Worst Government.

The new deficit outlook, announced yes terday and to be documented in a fiscal statement next week, comes in the wake of Ontario's $1-billion eHealth fiasco. That followed the province's Green Energy Act, a plan to force electricity users to pay 80 cents for a kilowatt hour of solar power and subsidize scores of industrial rent seekers. The province is also a leading promoter of endless nanny state rules and regulations that serve no purpose except to give the premier an opportunity to issue a statement and deliver one of his patented sanctimonious speeches.

Below the radar of media attention, there is more. This is about one of those so-far unrecognized bits of McGuinty Liberal bungling. Next week, the Ontario legislature will begin taking another look at two monster pieces of legislation allegedly aimed at bringing new order to the province's shambling mining legislation. First is Bill 173, the Mining Amendment Act, which among other things is an attempt to bring Aboriginal communities into the administration of the province's scatter-brained mining laws. Second is Bill 191, the Far North Act. It also attempts to bring Aboriginal participaton into decision-making over resource development of Ontario's far north. What these two bills actually do, however, is trample on everybody's property rights, from First Nation rights to the rights of cottage owners caught in the murky legislation that sets out mineral rights across the province.

The only happy campers here are green activists -- theWorld Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense, various Wildlands groups -- whose concern for property and other individual or corporate rights is as deep and sincere as a beer commercial. Under the Far North Act, all territory north of the 51st parallel -- a 450-square-kilometre mass of land north of Timmins and Thunder Bay that makes up about 40% of the province -- is set to become permanently out of bounds for all exploration and development. About half of that territory, 225,000 square kilometres, will be locked down as conservation lands. The other half will theoretically be open to exploration and development, but nobody looking at Bill 191 sees any hope that any mine or any other kind of development will ever take place.

Only about 24,000 people live in First Nation communities in Ontario's Far North. One of those First Nations, the Nishnawbe Aski, declared its total opposition to Bill 191 after it was introduced last summer. Grand Chief Stan Beardy called for immediate withdrawal of the bill. He said the 225,000-square-kilometre conser vation area, established without consultation or consent, will prevent his people "from achieving economic independence by preventing development needed to build our communities and strengthen the Ontario economy. "

Under Bill 191, in other words, Ontario confiscates half the far north and declares it a no-go zone, killing all development in the conservation area. But not much will happen on the other half of the far north territory under the convoluted "community-based land use planning" system set up under the draconian provisions of the bill. The province's mining groups say the planning structure is a perverse attempt to carry out convoluted legal provisions that guarantee First Nations be consulted before development takes place on Crown lands.

All of this is fallout from the Supreme Court's famous Haida decision and other rulings that force governments in Canada to consult with First Nations when dealing with the possible existence of treaty rights. Whatever the merits of those decisions, Toronto lawyer Neil Smitheman, with Fasken Martineau Du Moulin, says the Ontario government appears to be setting up structures that effectively allows the government to side step its duty and pass the burden of consultation on to the mining and mineral development industry. "To the extent that the legislative ammendments 'download' or delegate to industry what is properly the Crown's duty, the new legislation could be deemed ultra vires, or beyond the scope of the Province's legislative power. "

Industry officials say that under Bill 191 no exploration or development will ever take place in Ontario's far north. Jon Baird, executive director of the Prospectors and Developers Association, said yesterday "no self-respecting MPP should vote for this." Bill 191, and its sister Bill 173 (which applies to territory south of the far north region) grant massive arbitrary power to the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and bureaucrats. Rulings are not appealable, no hearings need be called, environmental assessments are suspended.

The two bills are making their way through the legislature, with the government using closure to close down debate and bending the rules to get them through the legislative process. The Minister, Donna Cansfield, seems to be carrying out orders, even as nobody supports the bills except the greens and groups like the Canadian Borealis Initiative. They welcome the land set-aside as a new carbon sink, as one of the "largest ecosystems on earth" and the home of caribou and other wildlife.

The mining industry may not like that. On the other hand, the Canadian Mining Association is a member of the Canadian Borealis Initiative. No wonder Ontario's far north will soon be out of bounds.

National Post

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bryant case put over until mid-November

A Toronto court will hear criminal charges against Ontario's former attorney general Michael Bryant on Nov. 16.

Bryant was charged following an accident that resulted in the death of a bicycle courier, Darcy Allan Sheppard. The case went to court for the first time Monday at a routine procedural hearing, but was put over until the November date.

Bryant himself did not make an appearance, and was represented at the Toronto courtroom by his lawyers.

Bryant is charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving of a vehicle causing death in the incident in downtown Toronto in late August.

Sheppard, 33, died of head injuries after a car dragged him along a stretch of Toronto's Bloor Street.

The Ontario government has hired top Vancouver criminal lawyer Richard Peck to prosecute the case.

Sarnia officer charged with 2 counts of harassment

The Canadian Press

SARNIA, Ont. — A police officer in Sarnia, Ont. has been charged with two counts of criminal harassment.

Police say they made the arrest Friday night in connection with a domestic incident in nearby Pt. Edward.

Earlier, provincial police said a 46-year-old Sarnia man was arrested without incident.

They said they would not be releasing the name of the accused in order to protect the identity of the victim.

Police say the alleged incident dated back over the past several weeks.

Halton cop charged

October 20, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
(Oct 20, 2009)
A Halton police officer has been charged with drunk driving.

The constable, a member of the Halton Regional Police Service for 32 years, is charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle and operation of a motor vehicle with over 80 milligrams of alcohol.

He was charged after an accident at Appleby Line and Mainway in Burlington at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Police say a Burlington woman, 45, was driving south on Appleby when her car collided with one driven by a 52-year-old man.

No one was injured.

Stephen Bate is to appear in court in Milton on Nov. 18.

The Spec

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

DiManno: Watch me blow smoke out my ears

The cops and the cig police are blowing smoke out their ass.

That would be spokespeople for the Ontario Provincial Police and tobacco jackboots with the Windsor-Essex County's health unit, co-defenders of a most absurdly autocratic interpretation of the province's antismoking legislation.

The letter of the law is allegedly being followed. In this case, that letter is A, for asinine; B, for bollocks; C, for chicken s--t; D, for duh-duh-dumb; et cetera.

Some poor mock trucker from London, Ont., was issued a $305 ticket on Wednesday for smoking in his rig. A rig, as defined by tobacco tyrants in the health sphere, is a work environment, thus subject to outright banning of nicotine under Ontario's Employment Standards Act.

Cops claim they're just enforcing the law, which has been in place since May 2006, though this particular OPP officer – unidentified – seems most pedantic indeed, pulling over the driver of a trailer-truck who happened to have a cigarette between his lips whilst motoring along Highway 401 near Windsor. Was Smokey Bear trying to make his cop-quota, just bored, or one of those Nico-Nazis?

The trucker has not been named either, though we're all scrambling to track the guy down. The Ontario Trucking Association has also put out the word to its members: Please come forward. "I'm a little surprised he hasn't but it could be that he just wants to stay out of the limelight,'' says David Switzer, association vice-president. "Or maybe he was heading home after being on the road, went to sleep, and doesn't know anything about how this has exploded in the media."

That driver might have a good case for ducking the citation in court, should he choose to fight the fine. The majority of trucking companies in Canada operate in more than one province, thus are not strictly subject to Ontario's antismoking legislation; rather, they fall under the federal Canada Labour Code, which still allows designated smoking and non-smoking areas in a workplace. A driver, especially if the sole occupant of the rig, can designate it a smoking area.

This is a point Switzer makes every time the issue arises, which is a couple of times a month, though he's never heard of a ticket actually being issued, only the warning extended. On those occasions, the association provides a tutorial on the law to bylaw enforcers, many of whom have a poor grasp of the legislative distinctions.

"It's like, whoa, you can't really do that."

Too many assume their authority has no bounds. And, I'd posit, they're bossy dinks by nature.

The antismoking brigade is just about the most self-righteous outfit of crusaders in memory. This movement long ago stopped being about health, as it morphed – more accurately, showed its true colours – into sanctimonious social engineering by diktat. In another era, they would have pounded the drum against booze or knocked the genitals off nude sculptures.

The other day, I was having a dart – yes, I smoke and love it, am not remotely interested in quitting – outside an office building in downtown Toronto and noticed a sign overhead warning that no smoking was allowed within 25 feet of the front entrance. The going-rate for smoker-shunning is nine metres. But this would have put me on the opposite side of the street, in front of another building that likewise forbade smoking on its doorstep. Where am I supposed to stand – on the streetcar tracks? Dead smoker in the middle of the road.

In fact, the sidewalk smoking proscription applies only to medical facilities under provincial law. There is, as yet, no municipal standard in Toronto for any other buildings. Property managers can ask you to move along but they can't demand it. They don't own the sidewalk. There's no bylaw being broken. This, naturally, is not something they want you to know.

And another thing: I'm smoking as I write this column, in my home. I have the luxury of working out of my house, at least in the type-type stage of committing journalism. Smoking helps me focus my thoughts and make deadline.

We are not yet at the pink-lung-doctrine point where smoking in one's home is prohibited – though no doubt headed in that direction.

But a stingy interpretation of Ontario's act might very well consider my house a work area and ditto for the self-employed sector.

They will be coming with their citation pads and pitchforks soon enough. Man the barricades. But stock up on smokes first.

Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Toronto Star

Friday, October 9, 2009

Police officers to face hearing

Police want more power to save lives and fight crime, they do what they want, when they want, they get caught crossing the line, they loose a rank, a weeks pay, while waiting for the outcome, they are suspended with pay.
These two will get off with a years paid vacation!



The Observer

Two Sarnia officers charged under the Police Services Act could face internal discipline following a hearing next month.

Const. Steven Wyville and Patrick Nahmabin are each charged with two counts of discreditable conduct in relation to a break and enter in the city last year.

Both officers pleaded guilty and received discharges in court last week. The hearing will take place over two days on Oct. 22 and 23 at police headquarters.

“The prosecutor is waiting for all the information from the courts, the judge’s report, things like that,” said Chief Phil Nelson. “It’s just a matter of doing some housekeeping and getting set up for that.”

The officers were charged last year after being unlawfully in a home in which they were looking for Nahmabin’s stolen badge. The discharges left both veteran officers without criminal records.

In the meantime, they remain suspended with pay. The officers could face a range of penalties from suspension, demotion in rank and pay, and even dismissal.

The hearing is open to the public.

“This is an act used on a regular basis to discipline officers,” Nelson said. “It’s part of a provincial statute and how we deal with police labour issues.”

The Observer

Durham police officer charged with pointing gun at co-worker

A Durham Regional police officer was suspended and faces three charges after he threatened a fellow officer with his police firearm this week.

Ian Cameron, 37, and another officer were involved in "a physical altercation" on Monday, during which Cameron - who joined the force in 2004 - drew his weapon and threatened the other officer with it. The conflict ended soon after that and no shots were fired. The incident took place at a police station, but out of public view.

Cameron, who was released following a bail hearing Wednesday, was charged with assault, possession of a weapon and pointing a firearm.

The Professional Standards Unit, which deals with matters related to the conduct of police and its services in the area, is handing the investigation.

Canwest News Service

Police officer charged after July car crash

Author: Nicole Million
Date: Oct 07, 2009

An eight-year Ontario Provincial Police veteran has been charged in relation to a single-car crash that happened in July.
On July 12, just before 10:30 p.m., an officer from the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment rolled her vehicle on Highway 12 in Tay Township while responding to a report of a suspected impaired driver.
“The police vehicle the officer was operating left the roadway and rolled into the ditch on the north side of Highway 12,” Const. Peter Leon, Central Region media relations officer, stated in a news release.
The officer, who holds the rank of constable, sustained minor injuries at the time. She has been charged with failing to drive in a marked lane.
The collision closed the highway near Triple Bay Road for four-and-a-half hours while technical traffic collision investigators examined the scene.
During the course of the investigation, the officer remained on active duty, noted Leon.
“The officer does not change his or her duties whatsoever. They remain in an active frontline capacity. In this case, it was a Highway Traffic Act charge laid and it doesn’t affect the officer. They can still operate a police vehicle and respond for calls for service.”
Leon noted the charge is the same any member of the public would face under similar circumstances.
“In the big scope of things, this is not a criminal offence in any way,” he said. “As police, we hold members of the public accountable for their actions on the roadways, and we also must expect the same of our (officers).”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trucker in his rig fined for smoking

Saving lives and GRABBING some cash along the way!!!!


A truck driver from London, Ont., has been fined $305 for smoking in the cabin of a tractor-trailer because it is considered a workplace.

Essex County Ontario Provincial Police pulled over a truck on Highway 401 near Windsor, Ont., at about noon on Wednesday after the driver, 48, was seen smoking.

He was fined under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, a 2006 law that prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces and public areas such as bars and restaurants.

An enclosed workplace can also be any vehicle that is covered by a roof and that employees work in or frequent while working, regardless of whether "they are acting in the course of their employment at the time," according to the legislation.

Police spokeswoman Shawna Coulter told the Windsor Star it was the first time Essex County provincial police had enforced the legislation.

Neil MacKenzie, the manager of tobacco programs for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said his group has laid 10 charges for vehicle-related offences since the law went into effect, to taxi drivers and construction workers, among others.

With files from The Canadian Press


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cancer Care Ontario broke rules: audit

Scandal after scandal for "The Dalton Gang", theres bound to be a few more that pop up before election!

Amid a political flurry over the latest eHealth Ontario revelations, the Ontario government has released new documents revealing chronic missteps at another health agency.

An internal audit of Cancer Care Ontario shows the provincial agency handed out consultant contracts in some of the same questionable ways as eHealth.

It gave consulting firm Accenture Inc. $18.7-million in deals over two years, some in the form of so-called "follow-on" agreements, a practice that allowed them to be added on to current contracts without being opened to bids. The audit found the number of follow-ons "excessive" — with at least 26 recorded.

The original Accenture contract was called into question earlier this week after CBC learned from sources that the company won the bid, despite not making the shortlist, after a senior partner called Sarah Kramer, then in the top information technology job. Kramer later became CEO of eHealth, and still later resigned under fire. She denied receiving the call in a written statement to CBC News.

Twenty-two of the follow-on agreements were approved by Kramer without proper CEO approval.

"The findings of this audit clearly indicate that the procurement processes, file organization and consistency of documentation require substantial improvement," the audit says.

"It is also apparent that required competitive tendering rules have not been consistently applied for all contracts of significant value."

CEO takes 'full responsibility'
Cancer Care CEO and president Terrence Sullivan declined a CBC News request for an interview. In a statement, however, he said he accepts the audit's findings and has already made changes to how the agency spends its money.

In an email on Tuesday to staff obtained by CBC News, Sullivan remarked on the media frenzy he expected in the coming days and stated, "I take full responsibility for the weaknesses identified in the report and the burden we now share."

In the two years examined by the audit, about 60 per cent of some $30-million in contracts examined were doled out to three big vendors.

Though the firms were unnamed, sources told CBC News they include Courtyard Group and Accenture, two companies who received untendered contracts while Kramer was at the helm of eHealth Ontario.

The Cancer Care Ontario documents were released Wednesday as part of a mountain of binders containing results from freedom-of-information requests by various media outlets submitted after the eHealth Ontario scandal first surfaced. Though Cancer Care is not currently subject to FOI requests, the province released the documents on Wednesday, and Premier Dalton McGuinty said it will apply to the provincial agency in the future.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak criticized the government for dumping the documents on the same day as the release of a scathing auditor general's report on eHealth Ontario, accusing Dalton McGuinty of being "the first premier to ever attempt to hide one scandal behind another scandal."

Ballooning contracts
The audit also noted that Cancer Care Ontario had no policy for buying radiation therapy equipment for hospitals, resulting in $3.5 million in orders that didn't follow proper tender procedures and in six-figure price jumps.

Contracts for a number of radiation treatment machines rose above the original ceiling price by $300,000 to $500,000. In one instance, a contract price rose by $1 million, because the machine had to be customized to fit into a room.

Another time, extra equipment plus user fees were tacked on, causing a $861,000 increase above the original agreement.

The agency also appeared to have a recurring problem with documenting consultant expenses, with only six per cent of $136,000 in out-of-expense claims accompanied by the necessary receipts.

Other revelations in the documents included:

•Details of some contracts were ironed out after the deal was done.
•One contract ballooned to almost six times its original maximum worth of $3.5 million — to $20.2 million — in a process that lacked proper approvals from the CEO.
•Contracts without tender accounted for 49 per cent of examined contracts for non-capital goods and non-consulting expenses, such as computer equipment, software and equipment rental.
•About $1.6-million worth was paid out over 14 invoices to a company with no written contract.
•At one point, the director of finance had the authority to create, approve and review purchase orders.
•Several employees recruited were offered between $17,000-23,000 over the maximum salary range.
•CCO employee files were kept in an unlocked cabinet accessible to unauthorized employees.
•Even though policy forbade paying for parties, Cancer Care paid for two staff picnics, a farewell function and gifts for staff, one holiday party and a baby shower


Opposition calls for Smitherman's head

And this guy want's the mayors job.........yeah ok, Like I would vote for you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | 9:19 PM ET

Ontario's opposition parties called Wednesday for the resignation of Energy Minister George Smitherman, saying he must be held accountable for his role in the expense scandal at eHealth Ontario.

Both Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath were reacting to a long-awaited report from the province's auditor general.

The report castigated the government and the senior management of eHealth for wasting nearly $1 billion in taxpayers' money over the past decade in a failed bid to create an electronic health record system.

The report slammed the government for allowing eHealth to waste millions on unused computer systems and give out millions more in untendered contracts to consultants.

Some of those contracts were doled out when Smitherman was health minister from 2003 to 2008. Smitherman's successor, David Caplan, resigned as health minister Tuesday over the eHealth affair.

Hudak said Wednesday he also expected Smitherman to resign upon the release of the eHealth report.

"The auditor general's report makes it quite clear that many of the biggest abuses of taxpayers' money occurred under the watch of minister George Smitherman," Hudak told reporters. "And George Smitherman has escaped any sanction or any scrutiny by the premier for his role in this affair."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also levelled a blast at the deputy premier.

"I can tell you if I was the premier of this province, I wouldn't have Mr. Smitherman in my cabinet nor the current deputy who oversaw all these things either," she told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Smitherman, who is considering running for Toronto mayor, addressed the issue on Wednesday.

"I haven't any doubt whatsoever that there are lessons that I can learn — that we can all learn — because of the investigation that has occurred," Smitherman told the legislature.

McGuinty accepts responsibility
Earlier Wednesday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was accepting responsibility for the mess, and promised to put a stop to the unsupervised, free-spending practices that created the eHealth scandal.

"We have ended the practice that has carried on for decades under governments of all political stripes," McGuinty told reporters at a news conference in Toronto.

"Ultimately," the premier said, "I'll be judged by the people of Ontario," referring to a provincial election that is two years, less a day, away. "We should have known about this."

McGuinty said he welcomes the auditor general's recommendations and "we undertake to implement every one of them."

McGuinty also approved the release of an internal audit of another health agency, Cancer Care Ontario.

The Health Ministry said it made that document public "in our continuing commitment to open and transparent government."

In the legislature, Hudak accused the government of intentionally releasing those documents on the same day as the auditor general's report in order to draw attention away from CCO. He suggested "Liberal friends" may have benefited from deals with CCO.

"Dalton McGuinty now is trying to hide one scandal behind another scandal," the Opposition leader said. "After six years in office, the rot has spread deep and wide in the McGuinty government."

He blamed the wasted money and untendered contracts directly on McGuinty's leadership.

The premier, who tried for months to dodge opposition calls for the head of his health minister, finally accepted David Caplan's resignation on Tuesday evening.

McGuinty also announced a small cabinet shuffle on Wednesday, moving Deb Matthews from her post at community and social services to health. Matthews will be replaced by former cabinet minister Laurel Broten.

Smitherman stays at the energy and infrastructure post.

New measures
McGuinty tried in September to pre-empt the scathing criticism in the auditor's report by announcing four new measures aimed at ending the practice of untendered contracts and stopping the expense excesses that have been reported in the media.

Ontario Public Service employees will be issued new, simplified guidelines for travel, meals and hospitality expenses. The government says the new measure "boils 25 pages of guidelines down to two pages."

Employees at the 22 largest boards and agencies will undergo mandatory online expense claim training.

In a move aimed at increasing transparency following the expense scandals at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and at eHealth Ontario, the expenses of Ontario Public Service "senior management, cabinet ministers, political staff and senior executives at Ontario's 22 largest agencies will be posted online. This will start no later than April 1, 2010," the province said in a news release.

The province said it is also planning to increase the number of random audits it carries out on the province's agencies, boards and commissions.

"Together, our package of reforms will protect taxpayers and bring an end to untendered contracts for consulting services," McGuinty said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

With files from The Canadian Press