The politicization of oversight agencies and the imposition of demands by politicians attempting to enforce a social justice warrior ethos is impacting police services.
It is crushing the concept of pro-active policing and compounds the problems already faced by police.
In the City of Ottawa, home to Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal government, this problem is an increasing reality.
This is a serious problem as it is corroding the most basic principle of society – the social contract.
In short, the citizens give up the right to use arbitrary violence against their fellow citizens. In turn, only the government has the right to use violence, but it agrees to provide safety and security for the citizens. Today means the government agrees to provide a functioning police service.
This concept of a social contract, advanced by individuals such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is embedded in the Canadian Constitution. Section 91 calls for the government to make laws for “Peace, Order and Good Government.” It is arguable that both the social contract and the requirements of the Constitution are failing.
Ottawa Police Service
A rather nasty and public dispute has broken out on the issue of depolicing. It is between an anonymous police officer from the Ottawa Police Service on one side, and the Mayor and Police Chief of Ottawa on the other.
The dispute went public when a Twitter account with the handle “Police Person”
(@RealCanadianCop) called out Mayor Watson of Ottawa (@JimWatsonOttawa) over a meeting between the Mayor, the Police Chief, the Duputy Chief and Eli El Chantiry from the police services board.
Pleased to meet with @ChiefBordeleau @Eli_ElChantiry and Deputy Chief Steve Bell to discuss issues surrounding safety in the Nation’s Capital.
Une bonne recontre avec des membres du Service de police et mon collègue du Conseil afin de discuter de la sécurité à Ottawa. pic.twitter.com/x4vhdWJxS2
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) April 3, 2018
When the Mayor put out a tweet with a photo of the meeting, “Police Person” responded to it by saying “This is what, your 3rd highly publicized meeting in as many years, yet the shootings not only continue but get worse. Your Chief of Police does not know what he’s doing and has completely lost the confidence of the front line cops. Now I suppose you’ll block me.”
The Mayor answered by saying “too bad you hide behind the anonymity of social media.”
Not surprisingly, the anonymous police officer then gave several examples of those who had spoken out and then been disciplined for their action.
The examples ranged from Constable up to Inspector.
Underlying the tensions is Ottawa’s increasing rate of murders and shootings. Homicides had reached a high in 2016 (24)and dropped in 2017 (15). With nine homicides in Ottawa from January to March of 2018, Ottawa is on track for 36 homicides for the year.
Shootings are also up. In the first month of January 2018, 13 shootings occurred. Compared to the year before, Ottawa saw 40% of the shootings in January compared to all of 2017. The first three months in Ottawa saw 26 shootings which would represent 104 shooting for 2018 if the trend continues. Shootings were listed at 46 in 2015, 68 in 2016 and 74 in 2017.
Perhaps not coincidently, the practice of police carding is down from 7,000 street checks in 2015 to 4000 in 2016 and 4 (four) in 2017. Matt Skof of the Ottawa Police Association draws a direct connection between the increased levels of violence and the now restricted manner in which police conduct street checks. Ottawa criminal lawyer Leo Russomanno says that this idea is “utterly without foundation.”
Ottawa is not alone in this situation. Total shootings in Toronto went from 173 occurrences with 230 victims in 2014 to 399 occurrences with 568 victims in 2016. The trend appears to be continuing upwards.
Reasons for Worry?
Is this problem of increased violence caused by depolicing which in turn is driven by political correctness?
Do police officers increasingly see depolicing as a reasonable option to becoming involved in “un-winnable situations that will only get them in trouble or publicly embarrassed?”
According to a Carleton University doctoral student who is doing his thesis on depolicing (To Swerve and Neglect) the problem is real.
Based on a survey of 3,660 frontline police officers in 18 Canadian and five New York police departments, Greg Brown says 70% of respondents displayed a “limited to moderate to intensive de-policing” behaviour. He notes that “any interaction carries with it the possibility of a racial profiling allegation, winding up in front of a disciplinary tribunal or human rights body, media scrutiny, a viral YouTube video or a judge finding they breached Charter rights. These are the kinds of things that officers perceive can, not only, ruin their careers, but their lives. And the further along police officers get in their careers, the more likely they are to de-police.”
Politicization in Full View
Many police officers (and others) believe that politicians at all levels are now more interested in selfies, virtue signalling and demonstrating their submissiveness to the social justice warrior ethos than they are in doing their jobs.
Institutionalized political correctness may be overtaking the imperatives of law enforcement and policing. This problem is perceived as existing in oversight agencies such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, and the Ontario Special Investigations Unit.
In November of 2015, Ottawa Police Chief Bordeleau (@ChiefBordeleau) Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) and Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi (@Yasir_Naqvi) visited the Ottawa Main Mosque with a “message of inclusiveness.”
This is the visit that produced a photo of the Premier of the Province sitting with her head covered in the female only section at the back of the segregated mosque.
Today I visited Ottawa Main Mosque. We shared our grief for those murdered or injured in the Paris & Beirut attacks. pic.twitter.com/nVvHBYZuLa
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) November 20, 2015
This is the same mosque visited by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016 along with several Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament. As journalist David Akin noted, “Only men are permitted on the main floor. Women will watch Trudeau from balcony.”
This included female Members of Parliament. The Imam of the mosque is Samy Metwally who is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) and graduated from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. This association is listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates and it was founded by Yusuf Qaradawi.
As the most quoted and revered inspirational cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi wrote a book with the title The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. In this book, Qaradawi makes the position of a women clear. She is to be obedient and subservient. This is, of course, due to the nature ability of the man over the woman as he says:
“Because of his natural ability and his responsibility for providing for his family, the man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife, and accordingly it is not permissible for her to rebel against his authority, causing disruption…
“If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife… If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands… To be specific, one may beat only to safeguard Islamic behavior and if he (the husband) sees deviation only in what she must do or obey in relation to him.”
In the past, Qaradawi has also argued for the killing of apostates and Jews while stating that Islam can only be political.
When journalist Anthony Furey of the Toronto Sun pointed out details about the Imam, he received a phone call at home after hours from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
While the PMO could not point out any errors in the story, Furey was told that “this is not the story,” he was “irresponsible” for writing about such matters and that the story was an example of “Islamophobia.” Ironically, most of the information in the story came from the website of the mosque itself. Politicians in Ottawa at high level are attempting to silence criticism of their association with Islamist elements.
This sort of pressure appears to start at the top and work its way down.
Some observers, including the Muslim Reform Movement, note that the Ottawa Muslim outreach program has Islamists as its only outreach targets. Islamist are those who follow the extremists path of political Islam such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Khomeneists, and other extremist groups.
Institutionalized Political Correctness
A variety of observers believe that political correctness is driving the decision-making process of many politicians. In the United Kingdom, politicians would sooner allow the mass rape of eleven to fourteen-year-old girls rather than face possible claims of Islamophobia and racism.
Depolicing was such a powerful force that front line police would not act on this crucial problem under the pressure of politicians. This is the power of institutionalized political correctness.
Is it true that the Ottawa Police outreach program only works with the extremist Islamists?
Should politicians and police leadership figures visit mosque when the Imams are individuals who belong to terrorist organizations by countries which are Sunni, Muslim and Arab?
Does this form of political correctness, caused by the politicization of police force leadership, extend beyond the Islamists and carry over to other extremist groups?
Where is the Canadian Association of the Chiefs of Police on these matters?
The remaining seven articles in this series will address a range of these issues.
Depolicing in Canada is real. The costs are real.