Ottawa police oversight board gets 3 replacement provincial appointees
Ottawa Police Services Board membership now fully restored following 'Freedom Convoy' upheaval
Three new provincial appointees to Ottawa's police oversight board were announced Friday, fully restoring the board's roster after former members were ousted, resigned in protest or amid scandal earlier this month.
The former three provincial members of the Ottawa Police Services Board resigned March 2, following questions about reports that one of them, Robert Swaita, had attended the so-called Freedom Convoy protest in downtown Ottawa as a supporter.
The Office of the Solicitor General announced Friday that Salim Fakirani, Peter Henschel and Michael Doucet are replacing them.
Fakirani is senior counsel with the Department of Justice and formerly worked with the Canadian Human Rights Commission; Henschel is a former RCMP deputy commissioner; and Doucet served as executive director of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, now known as National Security and Intelligence Review Agency.
The Ottawa Police Service was widely criticized for its inaction during the early days of the weeks-long occupation that devastated downtown Ottawa businesses and disturbed residents, and the police services board was shaken up in its aftermath.
The criticism led to the resignation of former police chief Peter Sloly. Then, the former southern Ontario police chief chosen to replace him stepped away from the job after two days, and former police board chair Diane Deans was ousted at a dramatic council meeting last month for her efforts to replace Sloly.
The two remaining councillors on the board then resigned in protest of the politicking and criticism, while City of Ottawa appointee Sandy Smallwood resigned earlier that day, citing similar reasons.
Fakirani, Henschel and Doucet will join interim board chair Eli El-Chantiry, Coun. Jeff Leiper, Coun. Cathy Curry and citizen appointee Suzanne Valiquet.
The board's next meeting will be held in person March 28 in council chambers at City Hall.