In the past few months the Greater City of Sudbury has been making national headlines with a scandal that has rocked provincial politics in Ontario shortly before the by-election. Glenn Thibeault shocked his federal NDP party when it was officially announced on January 5, 2015 that he would be officially crossing the floor and running for Katherine Wynne’s provincial Liberal party in the soon coming Sudbury by-election. This by-election was the cause of a provincial NDP MP Joe Cimino who stepped down after just five months on the job. He also made a splash in the media when he announced he would not be taking his $58,000 severance package from Queens park.
The story was, as the political “kingmaker” at the center of the story predicted, a “tidal wave.” But the real shock came a few days later when Andrew Olivier, the former Liberal candidate for the general election that took place the previous Summer (when NDP, Cimino was elected) alleged that he was offered a job or ‘appointment in the party’ if he would not run for the Liberal party and step away for Thibault to be voted in.
At first these allegations were met with high scepticism from the media and the authorities, but soon after Andrew Olivier, who is a quadriplegic and records conversation in lieu of the fact he can not take notes – released audio recordings of both Gerry Lougheed Jr. (Sudbury Liberal Fundraiser) and Patricia Sorbara (Liberal Campaign Director) flat-out telling him that he would be in line for some kind of job or appointment “whatever” if he were to step away from running as the Liberal candidate. This sent shock waves through the city of Sudbury and throughout the provincial politics realm. Here we have a respected member of the community in Gerry Lougheed Jr. and a high level Liberal party executive in Patricia Sobara participating in what is now being called an attempt to bribe one Andrew Olivier. This is what started a barrage of outcries from the public and soon prompted an OPP investigation by the anti-racketeering division which is ongoing to this day. All of this while Glen Thibault was still elected into Queen’s Park and Katherine Wynne’s ‘plan for Sudbury’ was one step closer to a success. However, one issue more so than any other seems to be festering within community of Sudbury. That issue is the fact that the man currently being investigated by the OPP’s anti-racketeering division – one Gerry Lougheed Jr. is actually the Chair of the city’s Police Services Board.
Many believe this is a total injustice and reflects little to no moral integrity within the Greater Sudbury Police at the executive level. Especially considering days after the OPP announced their investigation, the Police Services Board unanimously voted Gerry Lougheed Jr to remain at his post as Chair of the board, even though an outcry by community leaders prompted the vote – the board still kept him on.
These recent examples are just one of many that has chronicled a slow and steady descend into a total lack of self-responsibility displayed by the Greater Sudbury Police Service. A behavioural pattern that goes far beyond aiding and abetting a man alleged to be a racketeer. As a deeper look into the recent news events in Sudbury surrounding the city’s police service will show; this lack of moral integrity is nothing new, but simply now an evident caveat of a disgraced public service.
What we know is that the immoral and unreasonable actions of the police service can date far beyond this past winter’s by-election, but it’s actions in the recent past have now come in to question when looking at all of these allegations chronologically. Specifically an incident on June 8th 2014 which came out in the news only months later. That morning around 2am, a Sudbury police officer was in the process of a booking a 20yr old man into the Sudbury police headquarters after being arrested with charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. These charges would later be dropped, however what happened in the process of this booking is what created a stir around the country.
‘Tanner Currie alleges excessive force used while in Sudbury police custody’
A Sudbury, Ont., man claims he was roughed up by a police officer, and says he’s got the video to prove it.
The video, recorded on police cameras, shows the altercation at Sudbury police headquarters.
It features two different shots of Const. Christopher Labreche throwing an arrested 20-year-old Tanner Currie, face first, into a police station window, smashing the glass.
CBC.ca (Dec 11, 2014)
However after the video was released the Sudbury Police were quick to announce that they did an internal investigation on this incident when it happened, and found that the officer’s use of force in question was cleared without wrong doing.
‘Internal use of force review cleared Labreche’
Sudbury police Supt. Sheilah Weber says an internal investigation was conducted and cleared Labreche of any wrongdoing.
“I have seen the video. I do understand the concerns of the community, whenever somebody has to use ‘use of force’ in a situation like this,” Weber said.
Sudbury police Supt. Sheilah Weber says an internal investigation was conducted and cleared Labreche of any wrongdoing.
“I have seen the video. I do understand the concerns of the community, whenever somebody has to use ‘use of force’ in a situation like this,” Weber said.
“We’re seeking the public’s patience and understanding that the legislative process that will be undertaken will reveal the entire facts of the situation and then they’ll be able to come up with their conclusions,” Weber added.
On Thursday, Sudbury police Chief Paul Pedersen also issued a statement, saying: “We understand the concerns of our community whenever an officer is in a situation where that officer has to use force. It is important that the public understands that the Greater Sudbury Police Service takes these matters extremely seriously.
“As an organization we are legislated to comply with a series of checks and balances as well as civilian oversight agencies as it pertains to the use of force. Our community can rest assured that we have met and followed all of these requirements as a result of the use of force applied in this case.
“We pride ourselves on being an open and transparent organization. In this case, after this individual attempted a non- negotiable financial settlement and failed to speak with our Professional Standards investigators, he has chosen to lay a private information in criminal court, as well as releasing this video footage. As this matter is currently before the courts, we are unable to comment any further….”
CBC.ca (Dec11, 2015)
After the incident it was also made clear by the Sudbury Police Services Board and it’s chair one Gerry Lougheed Jr, that the investigation clearing Labreche of any wrong doing, was satisfactory and that the matter was considered resolved to them.
‘Sudbury police board chair satisfied with complaint review’
The chair of the Sudbury Police Services Board says all complaints are “duly reviewed.”
Chair Garry Lougheed said he can’t comment on the story because it’s before the courts, but he did say he has faith that police have reviewed the incident thoroughly.
“We want to make sure due diligence has been done. I know there are provincial laws and statutes with required to the requirement of reviewing such incidents,” he said.
“I’m quite satisfied in an interview I heard on CBC with superintendent [Sheilah] Weber that those processes and reviews were properly held.”
“We see all the complaints,” Lougheed continued.
“We see the follow-up to the complaints. We see if there was any discipline to the complaints. We see if there were frivolous complaints. So every complaint is duly reviewed and reported to the board on an annual basis.”
CBC.ca (Dec 11, 2014)
Here we have not only the Greater Sudbury Police superintendent, but also the Police Services Board Chair – stating flat out that Const. Chris Labreche was cleared of any wrong doing in the matter. It was clear at this point that the Greater Sudbury Police were fully supporting their employee and felt they were justified to do so, as his actions were not excessive and were within the convinces described as ‘necessary force.’ This was a prominent stand the police were making in defiance, standing behind their man. Understandably, as this incident would more than likely be an isolated one, and if any continued behaviour was being displayed by any officer it would seem more than logical that the police service would realize this before making such statements supporting someone being accused of assault. However it seems that such a lapse in judgement by their part is exactly what happened.
As news of the incident spread throughout town, a young male who shared a relatively same experience came forward, this time explaining an incident that occurred outside the Sudbury Court House almost exactly two years prior.
Sick man complains of police treatment after he lights a joint outside courthouse
SUDBURY, Ont. — A 27-year-old man with metabolic myopathy, liver failure and cystic fibrosis says police roughed him up Friday outside the courthouse for smoking a joint.
Cruisers arrived at the courthouse at about 11 a.m. Jamy MacKenzie and about 40 other supporters were outside during a break in Dave Sylvestre’s sentencing hearing for marijuana production.
McKenzie says he has a licence to consume 35 grams of marijuana a day for medical purposes, but didn’t have it with him when a police officer saw him lighting up, so he produced his driver’s licence.
McKenzie and several witnesses said police tried to take him away and that one officer threw him against a wall.
Family friend Sue Johnson said police “were all over him and I asked them to let him go so he could spasm.”
Police called paramedics who loaded a shaken McKenzie into an ambulance, but he refused to go to hospital.
Johnson called the confrontation “disgusting.”
“It appalls me and I just can’t believe it. I really can’t. The fact that this man is so sick and it’s so obvious.”
TorontoSun (Aug 10, 2012)
The smell of marijuana outside the Elm Street courthouse was present before the case began, and during the break, a man with a medical marijuana exemption lit up a joint outside.
He was seized by police, sparking a melee that had the crowd yelling obscenities at the officers. The accused resisted police efforts to take him into custody, while some witnesses accused police of shoving him roughly up against the wall.
Paramedics and an ambulance were called, and several more police cruisers showed up. Despite calls from Northern Life looking for comment, police haven’t said whether they will proceed with charges against the man.
NorthernLife.com (Aug 10, 2012)
Months later the Sudbury Police Investigations Unit dismissed complaints by the 27 year old that he was wrongfully roughed up by police.
SIU drops Sudbury case
The Special Investigations Unit has decided not to further investigate a complaint by a Sudbury man who said he was roughed up by Greater Sudbury Police officers when he lit up a joint of marijuana outside the Sudbury Courthouse last month.
Jamy McKenzie, 27, was confronted by police during a break at the Aug. 10 sentencing hearing for a Sudbury man who pleaded guilty to production of a controlled substance — cannabis and cannabis resin.
SudburyStar (Sept 4, 2012)
The incident overall ended with McKenzie given a possession of marijuana court citation, the charges would later be dropped when the accused produced his medical marijuana card. The officers in question were never investigated by the SIU. Again, none of this would be of any significance, if it was just an isolated incident. However as news came out about the Tanner Currie story, McKenzie realized that the officer involved was the same officer who allegedly used excessive force against him two years earlier.
‘I know that shove well’
Recently-released footage of a young man being driven face-first into a window by a Sudbury police officer evoked a strong sense of deja-vu for Jamy McKenzie.
“The video really did shake me up,” said McKenzie. “That shove? I know that shove well, because those knuckles were printed on my chest.”
McKenzie, 29, was outside the Sudbury courthouse two years ago when he had a disagreement with police over his right to smoke medical marijuana.
When he refused to hand over his pot, McKenzie said Const. Christopher Labreche “grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt and threw me into the courthouse wall.”
Labreche is the same officer at the centre of recent allegations of police brutality. In video recorded inside the downtown station on June 8, the burly constable is shown slamming 20-year-old Tanner Currie into a pane of glass.
McKenzie admitted his run-in with Labreche grew out of different circumstances, but said he can easily relate to the trauma and frustration that Currie experienced.
“I definitely feel for Tanner,” he said. “The reason may not have been the same as for me, but at the end of the day nobody should be treated that way, whether you are intoxicated or not.”
In his own case, McKenzie said the officer’s excuse for using force was “that I might run away,” which he said wasn’t even within his physical ability.
“At that time I was 110 pounds at the most, with my clothes on, and was just six months off a liver transplant,” he said. “I couldn’t even stand up on my own willpower for more than 20 minutes.”
McKenzie was born with cystic fibrosis and struggles with a muscle condition called metabolic myopathy. “When (Labreche) grabbed me, I started spasming because of my illness, and he took it as resisting arrest,” he said.
He said two of his ribs were broken during the tussle and his body patterned with bruises that he had trouble explaining to his young daughter, then seven. “I originally told her I was beat up by a gorilla that escaped from the zoo,” he said.
McKenzie also struggled with post-traumatic stress following the incident, and would hyperventilate while driving if he saw a police car or officers approaching on foot.
Similar to Currie, he pursued a method of independent review by lodging a complaint through the Special Investigations Unit, but was told his injuries weren’t serious enough to merit an SIU probe.
He said he considered appealing, but became cynical about the process. “Retired police officers investigating police officers doesn’t work,” he said. “It’s a conflict of interest. I’m sure if you got my family to investigate me, I’d come up squeaky clean.”
A lawyer was keen to take on his case, McKenzie said, but he knew there would be a lengthy court process and costly bills, so he decided to just drop his complaint against Labreche and move on with his life.
SudburyStar (Dec 17, 2014)
Evidently it can be seen here that Const. Chris Labreche has a clear, documented history of prior allegations of excessive force against him. Something that both the SIU and Police Services Board must have ignored when originally finding that Labreche was cleared of any wrong doing.
The investigation by the Sudbury police into the second Labreche incident against Tanner in 2014 would turn out to be very flawed, as in the coming weeks after the allegations against Const. Labreche, the matter was re-reviewed by an out of town justice of the peace, and it was found there was enough evidence presented to charge Const. Labreche with assault.
Sudbury Police Constable Chris Labreche charged with assault
A Sudbury court has issued the paperwork charging Sudbury Police Constable Christopher Labreche with assault.
Labreche is charged in connection with an incident last spring involving Tanner Currie of Sudbury, who alleges the officer used excessive force against him.
At that time, Sudbury Police officials said the service had already conducted an internal investigation and cleared Labreche of any wrongdoing.
The matter was reviewed by a justice of the peace Monday at the Sudbury courthouse in a hearing that was closed to the public.
CBC.ca (Jan26, 2015)
So in summary we have an assault against a citizen who is in police custody in the spring of 2014. An internal investigation by the Sudbury Police found no wrong doing by the officer, the Police Services Board who reviews complaints against the police – specifically the chair of the board – Gerry Lougheed Jr. stated publicly he was ‘satisfied’ with the results of the investigation into the complaint against Labreche. He also agreed that Labreche did nothing wrong and used reasonable force in the incident. Then almost seven months later, the victim takes his case to an out of town justice of the peace, and that judicial officer found ample evidence to charge the officer with assault; in just a matter of the few mere moments it took to review the video and the testimony.
So the question is, what discrepancy of evidence did the Greater Sudbury Police Special Investigations Unit, and the Sudbury Police Services board have with the justice of the peace that found there was enough evidence in front of him/her to charge the officer with assault ?? What is the difference between the video the Sudbury police superintendent claimed to have reviewed, and the video the out of town justice of the peace reviewed ?? The answer is nothing. There is no difference, the difference lays in the moral integrity between the two. One has ample moral integrity the other has minimal to none. This begs the question, what complacent or complicit actions were taken at the higher levels of the police service in Sudbury to keep this officer in question from being charged ?? Why is there a clear break down in understanding of the law between a regional police department and a judicial officer who represents the equivalent of their power to enforce of the same exact laws ??
Even the victim’s lawyer had some unflattering things to say concerning the way the GSPS handled their initial investigation. He also eluded to the fact that the crown attempted to block him from getting his hands on a key piece of evidence.
Video of police smashing man’s head against window leads to charge
“From my perspective, this demonstrates access to justice,” he said. “The Greater Sudbury Police exonerated Const. Labreche, but when we brought this incident forward, there was a decision in our favour. This reflects well on the accountability of the justice system.”
Labreche, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the force, will make his first court appearance March 11.
Falldien said he was looking to proceed on charges of assault and aggravated assault against Labreche, but opted to proceed with assault to allow for a private instead of a Crown prosecution.
He said when the justice of the peace gave his decision the Crown exercised its right of discretion to act as prosecutor.
“We have some concerns about that: allegations of bias,” said Falldien. “The Crown refused us access to the (police) video for over a month, twice from Sudbury and once from Toronto.”
“And Tanner was asked to pay for the window by the Crown attorney here. There was an attempt at a coverup … (but) there’s nothing I can do to stop it.“
TorontoSun (Jan 27, 2015)
What is even more concerning is that even after all of these obvious attempts to shield one of their employees from assault charges, the Sudbury Police did not demand this officer to step away from duty while on trial. Instead, they publicly announced that he would be staying on duty while an active criminal court case against him is being held in a few weeks. This is something unprecedented, seeing as any other city employee; whether it be a librarian, a city bus driver or a garbage man – would be off the job if he or she had pending assault charges. But for some reason this police officer, who is a representative of the law – is allowed to stay on the job.
Sudbury Police Cst. Chris Labreche to stay on active duty
Chris Labreche could be suspended from the service, but police say there aren’t any grounds to do so
A Sudbury police constable is staying on active duty as he faces an assault charge.
Christopher Labreche is accused of using excessive force against Tanner Currie last year. The constable wasn’t able to defend himself at Monday’s private hearing, which was held only for the complainant.
But there was enough evidence presented by a Sudbury man to convince a justice of the peace to lay an assault charge against Labreche.
Sudbury police cleared Labreche of any wrongdoing in an internal investigation last year.
Now that charges are proceeding, Labreche could be suspended from the service. But police say there aren’t any grounds to do so at this time.
CBC.ca (Jan 29, 2015)
This is all a very concerning issue, as it seems evident that the Sudbury Police Service believe that their interpretation of the law is different than of those who enforce the law from other parts of the province. It is also concerning as a precedent setter. If in the future similar incidents like this occur; it will cause a serious lack of trust towards the police force in Sudbury if they have an officer on active duty facing pending criminal charges. Even people who work for private contracting companies in business, retail or service industry of any kind, ect – would be off the job if they were facing pending criminal charges, especially for assault. But again – for some reason the case with Labreche is different.
Now this would all be very dismissible and easy to move on from if it were an isolated incident in Sudbury. But again, as recent headlines have shown, the Sudbury Police have displayed a similar pattern of behaviour while dealing with the Sudbury provincial byelection scandal. They have stood up for and supported those in city service positions facing a criminal investigation. So this is clearly not an isolated incident. It is a pattern. It is an overall display of the Sudbury Police’s lack of moral integrity, and it begs the question is it simply being complacent and incompetent or willing and complicit ??
After the initial reports of Andrew Oliver’s allegations of bribery by the Liberal party in exchange for a party position, critics called for the Police Service Board Chairman to step down, but those critics were answered by a stern reply by Lougheed himself.
Won’t resign from police board, Lougheed says
“I think it’s all about politics,” Lougheed said. “I have no intention of stepping down. If there’s any wrongdoing found, I will voluntarily step down at that time.”
NorthernLife – Jan 16th 2015,
The initial investigation by the OPP did infact find there was no criminal intent in regards to remarks made by both Liberal officials, Lougheed and Sobrara during the by-election scandal. However, weeks later Andrew Olivier himself, who is a quadriplegic and makes audio recordings of conversations in lieu of him not being able to make notes – released audio recordings of both Lougheed and Sobrara which gave deeper insight into the details of exactly what the Liberals offered Olivier.
Andrew Olivier releases documents over alleged appointment offer
Olivier – has posted audio to YouTube a conversation with a man he identifies as Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal and chair of Sudbury’s police services board.
The man is heard saying he is there on behalf of the premier and that they would like him to consider stepping aside in the by-election race for Thibeault and “in the course of that deliberation” they would like to present Olivier with “options in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever.”
CBC.ca (Jan 15, 2015)
Pat Sorbara call to Andrew Olivier – December 12th 2014 – Audio
Pat Sorbara call to Andrew Olivier – December 12th 2014 – Transcript
Pat 12:51-12:54 “You mean going this far as per whether or not she’s prepared to go to an appointment’
Andrew 12:54-13:00 “Well… I mean I heard her vision, and I’m not saying that I didn’t respect it, at all…”
Pat 13:01 – 1302 [Inaudible]
Andrew 13:03-14:04 “No, no, and I know, and I appreciate that, and you know, like I said, I’m a person who gathers information, and you know, talking with Gerry yesterday I was feeling quite strongly, and talking with the Premier, that, you know, this is what I want to do … but I mean, talking to you now, you know, maybe we can work this out. But again, […] and I’m sure you guys need a decision very very soon here, so Pat what I’m saying is a candidate, be it now, or in the future, and it’s just basically my last little statement here, is I felt very strongly about, you know, the party, and working with you guys, and I still feel that way, and you know I am a little bit of a rookie here, and these types of asks and information that I’m receiving, is new information to me, right?”
Pat 14:05-14: 15 “No no, it’s … you’re being terrific. Still, um … I’ve heard the premier do some tough calls, not in relation to candidates, but on other things-••
Andrew 14:16 “Sure.”
Pat 14:17-14:52 “-somebody she knew very well that wasn’t gonna get a job she wanted, and decided that she wanted to tell that person herself, and […] that person was extremely nasty in return and you know she absorbed that […] she got off the phone and she said that that was a really hard call, but she was really fair and decent about it, and she appreciated that you heard him out. So […] I feel good about this conversation ’cause she got off the phone, feeling like you were still friends, where she was afraid you were gonna be really mad at her, and I said “he’s not gonna be mad at you, he’s gonna be mad at the process” and she said “no he’d be right to be mad at me because I’m asking him to do this.“
Andrew 14:53-15:40 “No, yeah, and you know I was upset and I felt a little … you know I liked having the conversation with the Premier, she’s … you know as I said I’ve got more than … ample and oodles of respect and hope to even aspire to be, you know, like her in the future … and
Pat, maybe […] if it’s gonna come up to getting nasty and ugly, that’s not my way of going about this, so [stammering]”
Pat 15:41-15:50 “So let’s just, before, before, let’s just think about the other ways that you could, and I’m not, you don’t … and I was hesitant to go here because I don’t want to look that I’m trying to suggest that … there’s a consolation prize.
Conversation between Gerry Lougheed and Andrew Olivier Dec. 11th 2014
Conversation between Gerry Lougheed and Andrew Olivier Dec. 11th 2014 – Transcript
Soon after the audio recordings came out the Ontario Provincial Police made it clear that they were now deeply concerned with the content in these recordings and were going to take the legal avenues necessary to get ahold of them as Olivier did not release these tapes to the OPP during the initial investigation.
OPP issues court order for Olivier recordings
Det.-Supt. Dave Truax is head of the OPP’s criminal investigation branch. He said Tuesday that the OPP’s anti-rackets branch submitted a production order to the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie “to seek further information from Mr. Olivier and other third parties as part of our ongoing investigation.”
During its first investigation, the OPP asked Olivier to surrender the recordings. He gave them a summary of what was on the recordings, but didn’t produce them, asking police to issue a subpoena or search warrant for them. The OPP ruled at that time there was no criminal wrongdoing.
That changed after Olivier released the recordings on social media.
SudburyStar – Feb 4th, 2015
The day after this report Sudbury hit to the polls the sudbury provincial by election. Just as people were hitting the polls the scandal took a dramatic twist: the OPP filed court documents stating that they had reasonable grounds to believe the two Liberal advisors broke the criminal code.
OPP document alleges actions were criminal: Media report
Sun Media said it obtained the 250-page Information to Obtain (ITO) document today. The newspaper has not released the document, but reports the allegations of criminality are contained in court documents sworn and filed by Det.-Const. Erin Thomas of the OPP Anti Rackets Branch.
Thomas says there are grounds to believe a Criminal Code offence was committed.
“I do believe that Gerry Lougheed and Patricia Sorbara both engaged in soliciting and negotiating with Andrew Olivier in their respective conversations,” Toronto Sun quotes the ITO as saying. “I believe the words spoken by both Lougheed and Sorbara to Olivier assists me in my belief the Criminal Code offence has been committed.”
The penalty is covered by Sec. 97.1. A person convicted under that section of the act is also guilty of a “corrupt practice,” making them liable for a fine of not more than $25,000 and/or imprisonment of no more than two years less a day.
That person must also forfeit any office to which he or she has been elected, and can no longer hold office “until the eighth anniversary of date of the official return.”
The Globe and Mail is also reporting it has obtained a copy of the ITO. It reports that Thomas says she believe section 125 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which deals with corruption, may have been broken. That section makes it illegal to influence or negotiate appointments or deal in offices. An indictable offence, anyone found guilty is liable to imprisonment for up to five years.
NorthernLife (Feb 5th, 2015)
The news came too late, although it is unlikely that it would have changed the outcome. Glenn Thibeault won the Liberals back their seat in Sudbury by any means necessary.
Wynne and Thibeault won, but can they win over the OPP?
OPP investigates series of events leading up to Thibeault’s byelection victory in northern Ontario
NorthernLife (Feb 6th, 2015)
Following these events, the Greater Sudbury Police Service was under mounting pressure to remove Gerry Lougheed Jr. from his position as the Chair of the Police Services Board. The Greater Sudbury Police Service instead, as usual, displayed a total lack of integrity. The board voted unanimously to keep Lougheed on as their chair. In kind, calls for Patricia Sorbara to step down as Premier Wynne’s deputy chief of staff were rejected.
Police board votes to keep Lougheed as chair
Tories, public complaints called for him to step down
Members of the Greater Sudbury Police Services board have voted to keep Gerry Lougheed Jr. as board chair, at least until the conclusion of an OPP investigation into the Andrew Olivier scandal.
Feb 11th 2015 – NorthernLife
Further reports would even go on to include an official statement by the GSPS claiming that the allegations of electoral tampering does not relate to Lougheed’s role as the chair of the Police Service Board.
Board votes to keep him as chair as Olivier investigation continues
The full text of the motion passed by the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board on Wednesday. It was issued following an in camera meeting to deal with four requests from the public for chair Gerry Lougheed Jr. to step down while Elections Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police investigate the Andrew Olivier scandal:
“The Greater Sudbury Police Services Board considered the matter of a tape recorded private conversation between Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Andrew Olivier which was released to the public.
“The board had before it four requests from four members of the public that Mr. Lougheed be asked to step down as police services board chair until such time the investigations underway by the Ontario Provincial Police and Elections Ontario have concluded related to that conversation or the issues forming the subject matter of the
“The board has deliberated on this matter and consulted legal counsel. The board considered the provisions of the Police Services Act which bear upon this matter.”
“The board concluded that the subject matter of the tape recorded conversations does not involve or intersect with the police services board’s role or the duties of the chair of the board. These matters are currently under investigation by the responsible agencies. As a result, the board will not be taking further action at this time and will have no further comment.”
Feb 11th, 2015 – Northern Life
There were demands all across the province, from opposition parties to grassroots political organisations and community leaders, that Lougheed either voluntarily step down or be removed until he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Sudbury Corruption Probe: NDP Calls For Gerry Lougheed To Be Removed From Police Board
Ontario’s opposition parties are calling on the community safety minister to step in to remove a Liberal organizer from Sudbury’s police services board while he is under criminal investigation.
Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi should step in, said NDP house leader Gilles Bisson.
“As minister responsible for oversight of the police services board, it’s imperative that you maintain the integrity of all police services boards,” Bisson wrote in a letter to Naqvi.
“There is ample precedent when someone is under criminal investigation to step aside from their duties until the investigation is complete. It’s unprecedented that the chair of a police services board, who is on the public payroll, under criminal investigation, remains as the head of the police services board.”
Tory critic Rick Nicholls asked Naqvi last month to suspend Lougheed’s police services board appointment. Progressive Conservative house leader Steve Clark wrote to the conflict of interest commissioner Thursday, asking him to investigate whether Lougheed broke the Public Service of Ontario Act by engaging in political activity that could interfere with his duties.
Feb 12th, 2015 – Huffington Post
Bisson calls on province to force Lougheed from police board
In an open letter to Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi, Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson, seen at a press conference in Sudbury in January, said keeping Gerry Lougheed Jr. on as chair impairs public trust in the board. File photo. In an open letter to Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi, Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson, seen at a press conference in Sudbury in January, said keeping Gerry Lougheed Jr. on as chair impairs public trust in the board. Move comes a day after board members decide to allow him to stay on A day after members of the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board decided to keep Gerry Lougheed Jr. as chair, the NDP is calling on the province to remove him until the results of an investigation into a byelection scandal are known. In an open letter to Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi, Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson said keeping Lougheed on as chair impairs public trust in the board. “As minister responsible for oversight of the police services board, it’s imperative that you maintain the integrity of all police services boards, including that of the GSPS.”
“This type of arrogance profoundly undermines the GSPS and the public’s confidence in our police services.” “Given that the OPP believe that Mr. Lougheed committed a crime, the onus is on you and your government to do the right thing to restore confidence and integrity into the police services board and remove Mr. Lougheed as board chair.”
NorthernLife (Feb 12, 2015)
Municipal political groups in Sudbury even voiced their concern with Lougheed staying on the job.
Sudbury taxpayers group wants Gerry Lougheed to give up post
There are more calls for Gerry Lougheed to step away from the Sudbury Police Services Board while the OPP investigate corruption allegations associated with the Sudbury provincial byelection.
Gerry Lougheed is the head of the Sudbury Police services board. He is also a Liberal organizer and fundraiser — and one of two party officials the OPP are investigating amid corruption allegations
Association president Mike Rocha stated in a news release that, while an investigation of this nature is ongoing, there is precedent for Lougheed to temporarily step aside. He noted former Liberal cabinet minister Greg Sorbara resigned as Ontario finance minister in 2005 when he was named in an RCMP investigation. He was exonerated and returned to the post, Rocha added.
“I think it would be sensible for Mr. Lougheed to voluntarily step aside until this investigation is complete.”
CBC.ca (Feb 13, 2015)
Taxpayers Association Wants Gerry Lougheed Jr, To Step Down
President Michael Rocha says it’s imperative the Police Board maintains the trust and confidence of the public.
He says the chair should not be under any investigation while performing the duties of the position.
Lougheed Jr. is one of two Liberal officials the OPP are investigating in a corruption probe into last week’s Sudbury by-election.
KissSudbury.com (Feb 13, 2015)
MPP wants conflict chief to investigate Lougheed
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark, the Official Opposition house leader, is now calling for Conflict of Interest Commissioner Sidney B. Linden to investigate whether Lougheed breached the Public Service of Ontario Act.
Clark said the actions of some people in the Feb. 5 byelection “have left a dark cloud over the process.”
He said he finds it “unbelievable” Lougheed doesn’t understand the severity of being under criminal investigation while heading the police board.
Clark is asking the conflict of interest commissioner to look into whether Lougheed was involved in political activity that could interfere with a public servant’s duties or the interests of a public body, and whether he made public comments about political matters outside the scope of his public servant duties that were related to those duties.
Greater Sudbury Taxpayers’ Association president Michael Roche, meanwhile, said it is “imperative” the Sudbury police board “maintains the trust and confidence of the public.
“Mr. Lougheed has done many great things in this community in fundraising circles and volunteering, but the chair of the police services board should not be under any investigation while performing the duties of his position,” said Roche.
There were even calls for Lougheeds counterpart, Patricia Sobrara to step down from her respected position as well until the investigations were concluded.
Andrea Horwath says premier’s aide should follow path of Greg Sorbara
NDP’s Horwath says premier’s deputy chief should take a lesson from her cousin Greg Sorbara and step aside while under OPP investigation
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff should take a hint from her cousin — former finance minister Greg Sorbara — and step aside while under the cloud of a police investigation, says NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
“She needs to do the same thing,” Horwath said Friday of Pat Sorbara, who has been accused by Sudbury independent candidate Andrew Olivier of offering him a job in exchange for not seeking the Liberal nomination.
No charges have been laid and nothing has been proven in court. Sudbury businessman and Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed faces a similar accusation from Olivier and opposition parties have called for him to step down as chair of the city’s police board.
InsideHalton.com (Feb 15, 2015)
In circumstances such as these, the OPP will traditionally await the determination of one of the agencies involved before pursuing their own investigation. In this case this it would be Elections Canada, which announced on February 19 that they believed the Liberals had in fact broken the law.
Liberal operatives under fire for Sudbury byelection as Elections Ontario finds ‘apparent contravention’
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deputy chief of staff is on the firing line after being found in “apparent contravention” of bribery laws over job offers in the Sudbury byelection.
The bombshell finding Thursday from Elections Ontario chief Greg Essensa fuelled opposition calls for Pat Sorbara’s resignation as the corruption case is handed over to the OPP, already conducting a separate criminal probe.
TorontoStar (Feb 19, 2015)
In the face of these developments, the GSPS stood by their vote. Despite numerous chances to handle the matter with responsibility, they chose to allow a man who may very well face a criminal investigation remain on the city payroll as the chief civilian overseer of the police force. Like the case of Constable Christopher Labreche, this is an embarrassment to Sudbury.
How can the GSPS expect to maintain the public’s trust after repeatedly lying and supporting two members of their staff who are currently facing criminal allegations? When they continuously demonstrate that protecting their own is more important to them than enforcing the law, thinking citizens are left with no confidence that such matters will be met with proper oversight and review. If Lougheed is allowed to continue chairing the Police Services Board, the GSPS will have shown that it has no regard for social integrity or even public opinion.
The state of the relationship between the public and the police that are supposed to serve the public is exemplified in the story of SCAP member Crystal Kimewon. As serious allegations of racism surround the GSPS, is it reasonable to expect the public to continue giving them the benefit of the doubt? When an officer they had investigated and cleared was soon afterward charged by an out-of-town justice of the peace who had only needed to review the same video evidence that they had seen, how can anything they say be accepted at face value?
Three SCAP members arrested at shelter
Three members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty face charges of causing a disturbance and trespassing, following a dispute at the Out of the Cold Shelter on Monday night.
But members of SCAP, an anti-poverty organization, said they didn’t visit the shelter run by the Salvation Army on Larch Street in order to cause trouble, but only to advocate for a man who had been barred from the emergency shelter. They called the arrests unjustified and accused police of escalating the situation once they arrived.
SudburyStar, (Feb 13th, 2015)
The incident lead to Kimewon being arrested infront of her twelve-year-old son, she claims that she was targeted because of her race. Kimewon is a First Nations Aboriginal.
Sudbury homeless advocate talks about arrest
Kimewon was one of three members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (SCAP) arrested last week at the city’s emergency shelter. They had gone to the shelter, which is run by the Salvation Army, to advocate for a man who had been banned on an earlier occasion.
Kimewon’s 12-year-old son was with her. He has accompanied his mom to several SCAP meetings and is familiar with her comrades. Because of the frigid temperature, she decided to sign them both in, so that her boy could have some hot tea.
By 8:40 p.m., Kimewon was forcefully ejected from the building by two police officers.
“They asked us to leave three times, but I refused to leave — I had met with the man earlier in the day and knew his situation,” she says. “I said ‘we came here advocating for this individual. I’m not leaving until he has a place to sleep. He’s going to freeze out there.’ I said, ‘that is going to fall on you, Salvation Army; on you as a police officer; and on me. And I can’t let that happen.’ I just stood firm on that.”
The boy was inside making tea while Kimewon was being arrested.
“The police and security guard had grabbed my arm and were escorting me out of the building,” she says. “I turned back to say, ‘my son is in there,’ and that is when the other police officer grabbed me, and continued to drag me out of the building, in front of my son, and threw me against a window. There was extreme and excessive force.”
“This is the criminalization of advocating for homeless individuals,” she says. “It was not a protest — that is one thing SCAP will stand firm on.”
SudburyStar.com (Feb 19, 2015)
Kimewon also elaborated in another article about a letter she read on the steps of the Sudbury Court House from her band chief calling for the GSPS to confront these allegations of racism.
The coalition members say they were trying to advocate for a man they claim was not permitted to stay at the shelter.
Crystal Kimewon was one of them, and feels she was targeted because of her First Nations heritage. But she said she’s not sure she’d file a complaint with police.
“There seems to be a dialogue with police right now,” she said. “My band fully supports me, so it’s definitely something I might individually consider in the future.” At the members’ first court appearance yesterday, Kimewon reiterated her arrest was racially motivated. She read from a letter of support sent by the chief of Wikwemikong.
Chief Duke Peltier wrote, “the charges must be dropped and the allegation of racism must also be investigated.”
CBC.ca (Feb 5, 2015)
A more detailed excerpt of the letter was found from Kimewon’s facebook page.
Ms. Crystal Kimewon, one of the three who were arrested and charged with “trespassing and causing a disturbance”, is a band member of Wiikwemkoong. We applaud Mrs Kimewon for her commitment to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable and less fortunate. In this instance, I understand that she ws trying to communicate with the Salvation Army staff and explain the situation of the individual who needed shelter. As a result there may have been a more serious human rights violation committed against her, racism which created a hostile and violent environment leading to the charges.
The charges must be dropped and the allegations of racism must be investigated. Wiikwemkoong does not tolerate racism against any of our members and we will be watching this action very closely.
Cheif. Duke Peltier
What shred of honesty can the GSPS lay claim to when they refuse in the face of pressure from local and provincial leaders to remove Lougheed from his position? Until the public sees substantial police reform, or, at the very least, a degree of respect for the laws of the land, a relationship of trust between law enforcement and private citizens will be virtually impossible.
Let’s hope the GSPS does the right thing in the days the come.