The OPP have become a factor in the current Ontario election debate, with the OPPA campaigning against Tim Hudak’s PCs and a new search warrant dropped on Queen’s Park in recent days seeking yet more gas scandal documents.
Apart from its significance for energy concerns, partisan political involvement by the OPPA appears to me to violate S.13a of the Ontario Police Services Act.
13. If authorized to do so by the police services board or chief of police, a municipal police officer may, on behalf of the police force,
(a) express views on any issue, as long as the police officer does NOT, during an election campaign, express views supporting or opposing,
(i) a candidate in the election or a political party that has nominated a candidate in the election, or
(ii) a position taken by a candidate in the election or by a political party that has nominated a candidate in the election; and
Liberal commentator Warren Kinsella asks “Has the OPP become a criminal organization?” His tweet on that subject is:
OPP get heat for anti-#OPC ad. So they leak anti-#OLP shit to media, mid-race, to make up for it. They’re out of fucking control. #Onpoli (June 6, 8:31am)
My perspective, admittedly speculative, on the controversial timing of the release of the search warrant is a little different.
There are probably lots of folks inside the OPP appalled by the actions of the OPPA and intent on doing their jobs in compliance with the law.
After the release of the first search warrant in March 2014 and the subsequent testimony before the Justice Policy Committee by OPP Commissioner Lewis and the investigating officer Detective Constable Duval of the Anti-Rackets Branch, the OPP would have realized that their investigation was attracting intense public attention.
We now know that in April, the OPP interviewed former Premier McGuinty and obtained information on the existence of documents that they believe might be material to their investigation of document destruction in his office. It seems possible that, having obtained this information, the OPP would have been concerned that seeking an order to obtain those documents could bring down the minority Wynne government.
Perhaps while the OPP was preparing to obtain a court order, the government did fall on the eve of the budget vote.
The OPP may now be concerned that the documents they are seeking might get deleted, particularly if the vote goes against Wynne on Thursday. With Hudak promising a judicial inquiry into the gas scandal, there will be many Liberal insiders who must be very twitchy.
If Hudak does have an opportunity to move ahead with a judicial inquiry, he will have to be careful to do so mindful of the need to protect the right to a fair trial of potentially accused individuals.