Police watchdog probes complaint about Bill Blair, fishing trip
Investigation follows complaint by Doug Ford to Office of the Independent Police Review Director
A fishing trip involving Toronto police Chief Bill Blair and a member of the board that oversees his force is at the centre of a complaint being investigated by a police watchdog.
Ford complained about the matter to the Toronto Police Services Board, which reviewed the matter.
The councillor has since been sent a letter from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, advising him that it would be investigating the allegations.
The letter indicates that the police board concluded the allegations "may constitute misconduct as defined in Section 80 of the Police Services Act," which is why the OIPRD has been asked to investigate them.
The OIPRD says it has retained a copy of Ford’s complaint and will be reaching out to him for an interview. It will also be sending a copy of the complaint to Blair.
The civilian-staffed OIPRD investigates public complaints about police in Ontario.
On Monday, Ford told CBC News that "no one’s 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."
Toronto police are not commenting on the issue.
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."
When Ford spoke to the media about the fishing trip in November, he made his remarks just days after Blair had publicly revealed that police had obtained a copy of the so-called crack tape involving his brother, Mayor Rob Ford.
The mayor had denied the existence for many months of a videotape that reportedly showed him using crack cocaine. But on Oct. 31, 2013, Blair announced that police had obtained a video file, the contents of which were consistent with what the media had reported.
The chief told the media he was disappointed with what he had seen on the tape.
Within days, Ford admitted that he had indeed smoked crack cocaine. His admission and others that followed were covered by media outlets around the world in the weeks that followed.
On Monday, Coun. Joe Mihevc said he believed the complaint by the mayor's brother would likely be dealt with "pretty summarily" when all is said and done.
"But this is not about that. This is about the mayor, frankly, trying to throw stones in a variety of directions, in order to skirt or avoid people looking, frankly, at his record and his credibility," he said.
With a report from the CBC's John Lancaster