Bill Blair’s comments at core of Doug Ford’s complaint: chair

A complaint Coun. Doug Ford made about Chief Bill Blair may have had more to do with what Toronto’s top cop said about the so-called crack tape than with a controversial fishing trip.

Complaint filed in wake crack tape news conference, police board chair says

Mukherjee on Ford's complaint

9 years ago
Duration 2:09
Police board chair Alok Mukherjee comments on Doug Ford’s complaint.

A complaint Coun. Doug Ford made about Chief Bill Blair may have had more to do with what Toronto’s top cop said about the so-called crack tape than with a controversial fishing trip.

The mayor’s brother brought forward a complaint to the Toronto Police Services Board about Blair, which has since been passed to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

The contents of Ford’s complaint have not been made public.

When CBC News asked Ford to explain the basis of his complaint on Monday, the councillor said “it was just there is a conflict of interest with the chief and one of the board members. 

And as everyone has always said, right from the prime minister down, no one’s above the law.”

Asked if he had a message for the police chief, Ford said he did not have a message.

“No one is above the law, no matter if you’re the mayor, or the police chief, or the prime minister – you can’t go away and get a paid trip to a fishing lodge with one of the board members,” he said.

Ford was also asked if the complaint was in any way related to comments Blair made about the tape police obtained of Mayor Rob Ford, or if it was solely about the fishing trip the police chief took with Andy Pringle.

“It’s about the fishing trip, so let’s see what happens and we’ll go from there,” Ford said.

Police spokesman Mark Pugash told the Globe and Mail in November that Blair had paid for the gas used when he and and Pringle drove in the chief's car to New Brunswick on the fishing trip. The newspaper reported that Pringle "covered the accommodation."

‘Contrary to what has been reported’

On Tuesday, Alok Mukherjee, the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, told CBC News that “Coun. Ford’s complaint was contrary to what has been reported in the press.”

Regarding the fishing trip, Mukherjee said “the board did not have a concern.”

Mukherjee said that the councillor’s main concern was the chief’s comments, which were made after Blair announced that last October that police had obtained a video of Mayor Rob 

Ford that was consistent with what had been reported in the press.

“The complaint was the chief’s comments may have compromised the mayor’s ability to have a fair and impartial trial in the event that he was charged,” he said.

In May of last year, reports emerged that someone had been shopping a video showing Mayor Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.

The mayor denied both using crack cocaine and the very existence of the tape. Those denials continued for months.

Blair announced on Oct. 31, 2013, that police had obtained a video file of the mayor, which was consistent with what the media had been reporting.

“I’m disappointed,” Blair said.

Asked to elaborate further, Blair said; “Well, I think as a citizen of Toronto, I’m disappointed. I know this is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city and that concerns me.”

Five days after the police chief’s announcement, Ford admitted that he had smoked crack cocaine. He also called for Blair to release the tape for all to see.

The same day, Coun. Ford called on Blair to step down because of an alleged bias against the mayor. He also alleged that a conflict of interest occurred when Blair had previously gone on the fishing trip with Pringle.

With a report from the CBC's John Lancaster