Toronto Police ask the OPP to oversee the investigation into Rob Ford

Toronto Police ask the OPP to oversee the investigation into Rob Ford

(Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost) (Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost)
 

Project Brazen 2, the Toronto Police investigation into Rob Ford’s activities, has always been a little awkward, because the police service and the mayor’s office are intertwined. Ford has sway over the police budget. In that sense, today’s announcement that police chief Bill Blair has called in the Ontario Provincial Police to provide oversight is long overdue. Even so, the timing is understandable.

A press release issued earlier this afternoon says that OPP commissioner Chris Lewis has agreed to a personal request by Blair to oversee Project Brazen 2. The release quotes a letter sent from Blair to Lewis, in which the chief writes: “I am taking this step to avoid the distractions that have assumed such recent prominence. The only public interest here is the continued investigation, without fear or favour, into evidence of possible criminality.”

By “distractions,” Blair almost certainly means the continuing open hostilities between him and the Fords. Both the mayor and his brother Doug Ford have been attempting to characterize the chief as an opportunist with a personal grudge. Provincial oversight will help Project Brazen 2 avoid the appearance of being nothing more than a political assassination, although it’s unclear why the chief didn’t head off these types of questions by announcing a similar move weeks or months ago.