Three days after serving City Councillor Doug Ford with a defamation notice over comments he made about the Chief wanting “payback”, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has received a written apology.
It is part of an agreement that Ford will – as part of the damages from the defamation – donate $1,000 to Covenant House.
Ford made the comments after it was reported that his brother – Mayor Rob Ford – would be expected to testify as a witness at the preliminary hearing in the extortion case against Alexander “Sanro” Lisi, a friend of the Mayor.
Doug Ford accused Blair of leaking the information to the press.
Blair vehemently denied the accusation.
“Anyone in this job has to be prepared to accept criticism and attacks,” said Blair. “These come with the turf. But lies that go to the heart of your integrity cannot be tolerated. The law does not protect lies or the people who tell them. They must be held accountable.”
Having being unable to obtain a clear and unequivocal retraction to the false statements, Blair proceeded on August 11 to serve Ford with a Notice of defamation.
“In that notice, I required a clear and unequivocal retraction of all of the false statements and allegations made by Mr. Ford as well as an apology,” he said. “I required that retraction in writing. His comments that followed were neither clear nor unequivocal. It was important to me to get a retraction and apology in writing so that there could be no confusion among those who had heard or read about Mr. Ford’s statements.”
Blair said he had always intended to donate money recovered from the damages to a charity of his choice which makes a difference in the quality of people’s lives in the city.
Blair is on Covenant House’s executive board.
“It’s an important institution in the City of Toronto that provides shelter and services to homeless youth and it does extraordinary work to make this a better city for everyone,” he added.
Blair also addressed suggestions that a Service member may have been involved in the disclosure of information concerning the serving of a subpoena in a criminal matter.
“There has been some suggestion that a member of the Toronto Police Service may have been involved in this, thereby calling into question the integrity of the rank-and-file members of this Service,” he said. “The integrity of the Service is my responsibility and, as the Chief of Police, I have a responsibility not only to stand up for my own integrity, but to ensure and to stand up for that of the Service and its members.
“Therefore, this matter has been investigated and I can advise you today that we have been advised by the reporter who originally disclosed this information, that she received the information from a non-police source. I accepted that information from her and her word. I am therefore satisfied that no member of the police service compromised their integrity or their oath of office.”