FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is condemning the move from the Police Services Board to rush the hiring of the new Police Chief, and finds the decision undemocratic and likely politically motivated.”
The move comes only three days before the end of the municipal election and a few weeks before the new council takes office, as well as during the inquiry into the use of the Emergency Act.
In last night’s debate, mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe expressed support for the decision to select a new police chief just three days before election day. He described the police board as being separate from city council and also said that he doesn’t think selecting a new chief should be political. This is despite his campaign co-chair and current city councillor Eli El-Chantiry currently serving as the chair of the Police Services Board.
“If the PSB and council are separate entities and the process shouldn’t be political, then it is unacceptable for a perceived conflict-of-interest like this to exist,” said Sam Hersh, Board Member of Horizon Ottawa, “This move only furthers the distrust that residents throughout the city already had of their police”.
Horizon Ottawa is also questioning the pick of the new Ottawa Police Chief, Eric Stubbs, who is supposed to be renewing trust in the community. While in charge of Core Criminal Operations for the BC RCMP, Stubbs ostensibly played a pivotal role in the multiple raids on Wet'suwet'en land since 2019 and defended the arresting of journalists during the raids.
“If this is the Board’s attempt at “regaining our trust” they have failed,” said Hersh, “We are unsure how a Police Chief who played a big role in raids of Indigenous territory is supposed to make BIPOC and other equity-seeking communities in Ottawa feel safe - quite the opposite”.
Horizon is also calling for all candidates, including Mark Sutcliffe, to denounce the decision to rush this appointment at this time.
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