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Monday, October 3, 2011

The door's this way, Chief Blair

So it seems Bill Blair isn't getting with Team Ford's austerity program.

Instead of being a good boy and implementing the 10-per-cent reduction the mayor's team is demanding of city managers, he's looking for a budgetary increase. Not a lot, mind, but the surrounding drama, already at a slow boil, has been cranked up even farther, and now there's speculation that his job's on the line.

The Star's quoting Councillor Michael Thompson to that effect:
"It flies in the face of all of the discussions we have been having with the chief up to this point ... If the chief is not capable of doing the job then it’s probably time for us to look at some other options and maybe have someone else doing the job."
Doesn't sound like the kind of unconditional, cops-are-tops cheerleading we'd expect from Team Ford. What's going on?

Let's consider: Blair got on well enough with David Miller. There are those who might suggest that that alone makes him suspect in the eyes of Team Ford.

He's been a proponent of "community policing," which is anathema to those who consider it akin to flipping burgers while the gunmen do their thing.

And he's been wearing the G20 "Kick Me" sign for more than a year now, even though he probably wasn't the only one responsible for turning it into such a giant clusterfuck. While this little corner hasn't cut him much slack for that – he mishandled it badly, and doubled down on the bad play – it's not hard to think that other players have been happily keeping their heads down while Blair takes the heat.

From there, it's not much of a leap to wonder whether he's been promised anything in return for being such a good soldier. Is it that hard to imagine Toronto's financial and political powerbrokers smoothing the way with a bag of cash and a few well-placed whispers?

We've been inundated for months with the prospect of hundreds of police layoffs and Toronto turning into Dodge City as a result. I could be wrong, but I'd like to think they've milked that particular storyline dry.

We've also seen the normally invertebrate police services board refusing to rubber-stamp promotions for officers who removed their name tags during the G20. Not quite the same as sending them to bed without dessert, but hey – baby steps.

In that context, is it possible that a standup guy like Blair might just take a nice juicy package, just to "set an example?" And thus clear the way for Team Ford to bring in a headcracker? Gotta be Tough on Crime, you know. God knows what'll happen otherwise. Graffiti. Bicycles. Maybe the DFHs might even take over Bay Street ...

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  1. I thought of you when i read that story.

    If Blair's too much of a wimp for Ford's fuck-ups, I shudder to think what noxious sludge they'll cough up as his replacement.

  2. I think he has been a great head cop, 10 times better than Fantino, be careful what you wish for.