The Globe and Mail ran articles on a Toronto Police Services revised carding policy….what are now being called “community engagement reports”…on March 28 and April 3. The Toronto Star published its stories on March 28 and April 2. At no point do our police question the practice; it’s a matter of how the stops are conducted. Both newspapers see the new rules as little more than a rehash of what’s gone on before.
What has always been true is a citizen’s responsibility to know what rights people have, and a willingness to stand up both individually and collectively to blunt the State’s intrusion. It’s unfortunate how difficult a lesson that is to learn on the one hand, while a general reluctance to question authority leaves open the option for abuse on the other.
April 6, 2015
Alok Mukherjee, Chair,
Toronto Police Services Board,
40 College Street,
Toronto, ON M5B 2J3
Chief Bill Blair is correct that “community engagement reports” are an invaluable investigative tool. Chief Blair’s assessment is also irrelevant.
Over a period of time after I moved to Toronto in 1959 from a small rural community, I became puzzled by a general lack of understanding among people of an individual’s rights. Police officers were assumed to know the law, were assumed to hold those rights sacrosanct, and would of course ensure they were protected. How was it possible then, for instance, that so many believed we were all required by law to carry identification on our persons? Such a quaint concept in a democracy! Unfortunately, fifty-six years later, not much has changed. How can that be?
I’ve written to Chief Blair previously to say that “carding” is an abhorrent infringement by the public service on the sovereignty of the citizenry. Now, that’s relevant!
Charles H. Klassen
cc Bill Blair, Chief, Toronto Police Service
John Tory, Mayor, City of Toronto