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Are we becoming a 'Police State'?

George Wallace

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This Ontario Provincial Police Association / Union has made attack ads against Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader, Tim Hudak.  It is questionable as to whether or not they have overstep their bounds and committed what many may consider an "illegal" act.  What would people think if the Canadian Armed Forces produced attack ads condemning one or another political leader?  Is a Police Force, or their Union, any different?

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Union for Ontario Provincial Police releases attack ads targeting Hudak

KALEIGH ROGERS AND ADRIAN MORROW
TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 02 2014, 6:21 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jun. 03 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

The union representing Ontario’s provincial police has released two attack ads targeting Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak – the first time in its 60-year history that it has produced a political attack ad.

Running 15 seconds a piece, the television ads feature a voiceover saying Mr. Hudak will tear up the union’s contracts, which would lead to “labour strife and extensive litigation,” rolling over images of the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s collective agreement being physically torn apart by a man in a suit.

“This is not an endorsement of any of the other parties,” said Jim Christie, president of the OPPA. “This is more of an education piece: This is what Tim would do to me. Do with that information what you will.”

Mr. Christie said that although the group has never released a TV ad, it has always been political and lobbied on behalf of its members.

The province’s police have historically supported the Conservatives, even openly campaigning for the Tories in the 1999 election. Their allegiance may have been shifting for a while: The organization gave the provincial Liberals $7,400 in donations last year, and nothing to any other party. But the OPPA – which represents 6,000 uniformed officers and nearly 3,000 civilian members – stressed the ads were an attack on Mr. Hudak specifically, not the PC party.

Mr. Christie said he has met with the PC Leader to discuss some frustrations with the party’s positions, but his requests were not met. “We couldn’t get anywhere with Tim so we made the difficult decision to voice our concerns.”

The biggest issues for the union, Mr. Christie said, are potential wage freezes and a proposed change to the police pension plan. Since members aren’t able to strike, they are especially reliant on their collective bargaining process, he said. The PC plans, he added, would override any negotiations or contracts currently in place.

The PC platform includes plans to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs, overhaul the arbitration system and freeze wages across the board for all public employees. Asked about the ads at a morning media event, Mr. Hudak said police won’t be off the hook when it comes to wage freezes.

“Our police officers do an outstanding job and I respect the work they do,” he said. “But if you’re asking me am I going to give exemptions to anybody from our wage freeze, the answer is no.”

The ads will be online and on television across the province until June 10, two days before the election.

While Mr. Hudak seemed unfazed by news of the ads, the Tory war room sent out a scathing response questioning the impartiality of the police force that is currently investigating two separate matters in the Liberal government: the gas-plants cancellation and finances at the Ornge air-ambulance service.

The OPP tweeted to clarify that the OPPA is a separate organization and that they do not support the ads or have any position in the election.

Police aren’t the only emergency services personnel that have spoken out against Mr. Hudak. The president of the International Association of Fire Fighters took the unusual step last week of issuing a sharply worded call to action to Ontario members, exhorting them to fight against the Progressive Conservative campaign.

“I’m writing directly to you because at no time in the past have Ontario professional fire fighters faced such a grave threat as you do today,” Harold Schaitberger wrote in the May 27 missive. “With fewer fire fighters left after Hudak’s massive cuts, public and fire fighter safety will be put at risk.”

Mr. Schaitberger wrote that Mr. Hudak’s proposed cuts to the public sector would throw hundreds of firefighters out of work and the ones that remain would have their pay frozen. The IAFF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ads were removed temporarily Monday afternoon to edit sections where the voiceover identified the group as the OPP rather than the OPPA after some of the organization’s members, the public and the police force alerted them to the slip, Mr. Christie said. The traffic to the site to view the ads was also overloading their servers, he added.

Follow us on Twitter: Adrian Morrow @adrianmorrow, Kaleigh Rogers @KaleighRogers 


Public Civil Servants are expected to retain an appearance of neutrality.  This is not the case here.


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George Wallace

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Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL

MARGARET WENTE
The police get political


MARGARET WENTE
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 03 2014, 7:00 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jun. 03 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

Deep in the rust belt of southwestern Ontario – once the industrial heartland of the nation – folks are hurting. A lot of the good jobs are gone. People who once made $30 an hour have to settle for $18, if they can find it. Their kids are moving away. Over the past decade, Ontario’s industrial decline has turned it from the engine of Confederation into a basket case.

But not everyone is hurting. If you’re a cop, a firefighter or a teacher in Ontario’s rust belt, you’ve got it made.

The union for the Ontario Provincial Police – the second-largest police force in Canada, after the RCMP – wants to keep it that way. Its members have waded into politics with an unprecedented attack ad against Tim Hudak and his provincial Conservatives, warning that a Tory election victory would shred police bargaining rights and endanger public safety.

Such scare tactics are nothing new. Toronto’s firefighters union is notorious for warning that children could be incinerated in their beds if the city dares to cut a single fire truck. But to this point, the police union has stayed out of politics. That’s good. The police should be above politics – shouldn’t they?

“That is naive,” declared Jim Christie, head of the OPP Association, in an interview with Newstalk 1010 radio. In Mr. Christie’s view, the police have the same right to lobby as teachers and pipefitters. Mr. Hudak’s positions on arbitration, public-sector pensions and wage freezes “are unacceptable to our members who put their lives on the line for their communities every day,” he added in a statement.

The OPP, which serves hundreds of smaller communities throughout Ontario, is among the best-paid police forces in the world. Its pay scale sets the standard for police across the province. Many of its 7,400 officers pull in six figures a year, serving communities where the median wage doesn’t even come close to that. Mr. Christie is particularly concerned that Mr. Hudak might go after the force’s generous defined-benefit pension plan, one that the vast majority of private-sector workers can only dream of.

I have nothing against cops. They deserve a decent living. But the collective bargaining process has been stacked against the public for many years. That didn’t matter when Ontario was booming, but it does now. And people are no longer so sympathetic to the plight of unionized employees who enjoy far better pay, pensions and security than they do – and whose salaries they pay.

The public-sector unions seem oblivious to these new realities. According to Mr. Christie, our cops deserve everything they’ve got and more. Why? Because their jobs are difficult and dangerous. At this point in the radio interview, he utters the magic words “child exploitation,” as an example of the crucial work they do. You know that whenever a union leader brings up threats to children, reason and logic are not on his side.

Ontario’s decline is often described as some sort of natural disaster, inflicted by vast global forces that are beyond the province’s control. This is only partly true. The other part is the self-inflicted wounds of policy stupidity. The provincial Liberals launched a ruinous green energy policy that pushed Ontario’s electricity rates (an important factor in industrial competitiveness) from the lowest in North America to among the highest. Meantime, the province and municipalities kept jacking up the salaries of public workers as if nothing had changed.

But simple common sense tells you that when Grade 3 teachers make $90,000 a year and firefighters make $100,000 for what’s essentially a part-time job – with guaranteed pensions for life – something’s gotta give.

“We are the OPP, and we’re here for you,” says the OPP union’s new ad. Translation: Don’t touch our benefits, or else.


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Lightguns

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I have not seen the ad, but I understand from other reports, that the ad has a uniformed officer speaking infront of an OPP cruiser.  If so, than, I would say this is the same difference between me mouthing of about Trudeau, in uniform, in front or LAV and mouthing off in civies on my lawn.  It is very unprofessional and gives the impression that this ad maybe the official policy of the OPP.
 

The Bread Guy

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George Wallace said:
This Ontario Provincial Police Association / Union has made attack ads against Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader, Tim Hudak.  It is questionable as to whether or not they have overstep their bounds and committed what many may consider an "illegal" act.  What would people think if the Canadian Armed Forces produced attack ads condemning one or another political leader?  Is a Police Force, or their Union, any different?

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

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Public Civil Servants are expected to retain an appearance of neutrality.  This is not the case here.

More on LINK
Caveat:  I haven't seen the ad yet, so I'm just considering the key principles.

I've been wrestling with this one.

On the one hand, I clearly understand why we don't want the politicization of those who can wield (up to and including) deadly force against citizens.  That's why police boards are generally separate from municipal councils.  We don't want those who protect us to be able to pick & choose who they obey/protect and why - history shows having armies and police forces "working for" specific political parties not being in society's best interests.

On the other hand, I'm looking at a full-page ad in the local paper here saying "if you vote Conservative or Liberal, you're essentially supporting privatization of government services".  The ad was paid for and approved by a union representing Ontario public servants.  I also see a union president representing federal public servants speaking to a Senate committee about proposed legislation "undermining collective bargaining."  So, at one level, if one union can lobby for better working conditions for its members, why can't the other?

Re:  unions representing armed bodies, the "unionization" of armed bodies happens elsewhere (the Dutch military apparently has 4 different "unions", some affiliated with national labour organizations), and I don't hear a lot of concerns about a military overthrow of the Dutch government.

Lightguns said:
I have not seen the ad, but I understand from other reports, that the ad has a uniformed officer speaking infront of an OPP cruiser.  If so, than, I would say this is the same difference between me mouthing of about Trudeau, in uniform, in front or LAV and mouthing off in civies on my lawn.  It is very unprofessional and gives the impression that this ad maybe the official policy of the OPP.
I haven't seen the ad, either, but if this is the case, it could have been done VERY differently to distance "the Force" from "the Association".

Here's links (YouTube) to the ads in question here and here, as well as a public service announcement by the OPPA shared about a month ago here.

My read:  #1 risks accusations of "politicizing" police fallen over contract issues.  #2 shows more cop car, so could be similar to Lightguns' analogy.  #3 (PSA) shows cops doing good things for the community, so I can't see complaints coming from that.
 

Remius

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I've seen the ads and in my mind they crossed the line.  Not anything illegal but the perception is that they are representing the OPP and not its association.  I don't the avergae person is going to see the difference.

Perception is everything and these adds just ruined a fair amount of legitimacy the OPP has/had. First off that this is happening in a democratic election period and also while the liberals are under criminal investigations.  There is a conflict there.

Contrast that to the Catholic Teachers' association ad.  No attacks or endorsements, just an encouragement to get all the facts and go vote.  Their facts are on there website.

I have no issues with the association looking out for its members or unions voicing their concerns but when you represent a body with law enforcement powers, you should not be seen as endorsing or not endorsing the people who may be the ones to create and safeguard those laws on behalf of the voters they represent.

Bad optics.
 

George Wallace

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milnews.ca said:
On the other hand, I'm looking at a full-page ad in the local paper here saying "if you vote Conservative or Liberal, you're essentially supporting privatization of government services".  The ad was paid for and approved by a union representing Ontario public servants.  I also see a union president representing federal public servants speaking to a Senate committee about proposed legislation "undermining collective bargaining."  So, at one level, if one union can lobby for better working conditions for its members, why can't the other?

Apples and Oranges (not the corrupt air ambulance) here.  In one case we see Unions trying to influence an (Provincial) election.  In the other case, we see a Union lobbying a government committee. 


And.....We are not the Dutch military.  ;D 
 

The Bread Guy

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George Wallace said:
Apples and Oranges (not the corrupt air ambulance) here.  In one case we see Unions trying to influence an Provincial election.  In the other case, we see a Union lobbying a government committee. 
I was considering the union testifying before a committee as trying to change the system in the union's favour - another type of advocacy/influencing government, but on a different part of the spectrum.  I'm OK with eliminating that example and just comparing OPSEU and OPPA ads. 

At that level, a public service union ad suggesting "Tory, Liberal are bad" = another public service union* ad suggesting "Tory is bad", no?

George Wallace said:
And.....We are not the Dutch military.  ;D
I could tell that just from the difference in haircuts ;D  Just showing that there are liberal parliamentary democracies out there that don't appear to feel at risk of becoming a police/military state when those who bear arms are represented by (several) collective entities that advocate for their members.

* - To be clear, I do understand what kind of "public servants" armed peace officers are, and that police "associations" are only sorta/kinda like a union.
 

The_Falcon

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I don't think we are at a police state (yet) but there have been several instances were police agencies (including the OPP) seem to act like a law unto themselves (Caledonia, High River, Ontario CFO and his attempt at a backdoor registry, several instances were OPP ignored court orders re:native protesters).  It's also interesting that the Police Service Act for Ontario specifically prohibits "municipal police officers" from engaging in political activity, but not OPP.  However at least on a certain level, it is recognized that police should not be engaging in political activities. 
 

cupper

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I don't know, I think it's pretty clear that these are ads put forth by the Union. But then again I am looking at this from the viewpoint of US electoral politics where you have no clue as to who is behind a certain attack ad unless you read the small print that flashes up for all of 2 seconds at the end of the ad (or a voiceover that runs at the same pace as medical disclaimers on viagra commercials).

But you do have to consider that the union represents the OPP members and that if they have issues or concerns with working conditions that are nor being addressed by the elected representatives that oversee the OPP, they do have the right to bring those issues to the forefront in the election.

Perhaps I'm jaded from living in the never ending US election cycle in the era of Citizens United, but the two ads you posted links to really don't stand out. I've seen worse ads put out by police brotherhoods in local elections, let alone state wide or national.  :dunno:
 

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George Wallace said:
Apples and Oranges (not the corrupt air ambulance) here.  In one case we see Unions trying to influence an (Provincial) election.  In the other case, we see a Union lobbying a government committee. 

This nothing different that than what other unions are doing. At least OPPA is 'somewhat' upfront about it. As opposed to the shell fronts like 'Working Families' that are nothing but paid union attack ads that are deceitfully trying to masquerade as something other than a pro union commercial.
 

The Bread Guy

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Hatchet Man said:
It's also interesting that the Police Service Act for Ontario specifically prohibits "municipal police officers" from engaging in political activity, but not OPP.
That IS interesting, considering it's provincial legislation - thanks for that.
 

Nemo888

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We are not a police state but what has many people worried is that the infrastructure for a police state is being built up. The laws allowing the minister of emergency preparedness or the AG's of the provinces to use the CSE and army domestically, wholesale data collection and the legal detention of citizens using dubious secret security certificates are good examples.  The wrong guy gets put in charge and it quickly turns into a total sh1tshow.
 

George Wallace

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recceguy said:
This nothing different that than what other unions are doing. At least OPPA is 'somewhat' upfront about it. As opposed to the shell fronts like 'Working Families' that are nothing but paid union attack ads that are deceitfully trying to masquerade as something other than a pro union commercial.

True.  The Nurses and Teachers Unions are posting attack ads as well, that contradict the posted PC Plan, and are nothing more than fear mongering.  The question is: do we consider the Police, the upholders of the Law and authority figures, to be held to the same standard as other public sector unions.  If we go back to the image of a Canadian Armed Forces member standing in front of an armoured vehicle doing an attack ad along a similar vein, how would that authority figure play into a political agenda?  Would it not come off as a form of intimidation?  The Police, unlike the other public sector unions, are considered authority figures, and ads like this can only be considered a form of intimidation.
 

George Wallace

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Nemo888 said:
We are not a police state but what has many people worried is that the infrastructure for a police state is being built up. The laws allowing the minister of emergency preparedness or the AG's of the provinces to use the CSE and army domestically, wholesale data collection and the legal detention of citizens using dubious secret security certificates are good examples.  The wrong guy gets put in charge and it quickly turns into a total sh1tshow.

I wonder which sh1tshow you would prefer?  One that behind the scenes, protects us from evil minded invaders of our tranquil lives and freedoms or the one where barbarians come in unopposed and destroy all semblance of the freedoms we currently enjoy?

Your choice.

Personally, I think that if you really find our way of defending our liberties offensive, use the freedoms we guarantee you and leave to find your utopia somewhere else.

 

Nemo888

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These erosions of our freedoms are new and unnecessary. We were safer before the checks and balances on the power of the state were removed.
 

George Wallace

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Nemo888 said:
These erosions of our freedoms are new and unnecessary. We were safer before the checks and balances on the power of the state were removed.

What erosions of your feedoms?  Checks and balances on the power of the 'state' have not been removed.  They are firmly in place to protect you. 

Is it necessary that you, individually, be privy to all the ministrations of the various agencies and organizations that protect your freedoms?  Absolutely NOT.  To do so would jeopardize your freedoms.  Law enforcement, military and other government organizations have worked behind the scenes since Confederation to maintain the freedoms that Canadians enjoy.  Your paranoia should not be cause for us to drop our guard against outside forces that jeopardize our way of life.
 

Nemo888

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I stated the three new powers that were unnecessary since internment during WWII.  We did not need them during Korea or the cold war. Removing the limits on power and then saying that no transparency is needed is  not wise.

 

George Wallace

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Nemo888 said:
I stated the three new powers that were unnecessary since internment during WWII.  We did not need them during Korea or the cold war. Removing the limits on power and then saying that no transparency is needed is  not wise.

Do you propose that we not monitor such organizations as these:

Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
Al Jihad (AJ)
Al-Muwaqi'un Bil Dima
Al Qaida
Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI)
Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Al Shabaab
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade (AAMB)
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (AGAI)
Al-Ittihad Al-Islam (AIAI)
Ansar al-Islam (AI)
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Asbat Al-Ansar (AAA) (The League of Partisans)
Aum Shinrikyo
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC)
Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)
Boko Haram
Caucasus Emirate
Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN)
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA)
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Faction of the Hezb-e Islami, Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG)
Hamas (Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamiya) (Islamic Resistance Movement)
Haqqani Network
Harakat ul-Mudjahidin (HuM)
Hizballah
International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy - Canada
International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
Islamic Army of Aden (IAA)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force
Jabhat Al-Nusra
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI)
Kahane Chai (KACH)
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ)
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Sendero Luminoso (SL)
Taliban
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
Vanguards of Conquest (VOC)
World Tamil Movement (WTM)



Do you by any chance subscribe to any of the above organizations?
 

Nemo888

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What was wrong with using a judge and a warrant? Why be able to lock up people on secret charges? Why does the  Minsister of Emergency Preparedness (now Public Safety) and the AG's need to be able to use the CSE and army domestically without public overisight or disclosure?

We monitored terrorists fine before. Why remove the protections that restricted state power permenently? I understood 5 years, but now they are perpetual. Not a wise move in the long run.
 

George Wallace

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Nemo888 said:
What was wrong with using a judge and a warrant? Why be able to lock up people on secret charges? Why does the  Minsister of Emergency Preparedness (now Public Safety) and the AG's need to be able to use the CSE and army domestically without public overisight or disclosure?

We monitored terrorists fine before. Why remove the protections that restricted state power permenently? I understood 5 years, but now they are perpetual. Not a wise move in the long run.

Army?

:facepalm:


WAIT!  Where have I heard that before?  "Soldiers in the streets.  Soldiers with guns."    :panic:    ::)

 
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