News

RCMP probe won't affect OPP service: Gov't

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Yasir Naqvi, minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

Yasir Naqvi, minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

An RCMP investigation into the union representing members of the OPP won’t impact the service provided by officers, Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi says.

“It’s independent from the Ontario Provincial Police itself,” the minister said Tuesday. “We have full confidence on the OPP’s capacity and capability to do the job. They are made up of professional police officers and they will continue to operate as they’ve always done with utmost professionalism and diligence.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne refused to comment Tuesday on the investigation of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA).

“It’s a situation that obviously is under investigation by the RCMP,” Wynne said. “I just don’t have any more information.”

RCMP investigators executed a search warrant Friday at the OPPA headquarters in Barrie.

OPPA president Jim Christie and vice-president Martin Bain took a voluntary leave of absence.

Chief administrative officer Karl Walsh was placed on administrative leave, according to an OPPA news release.

Reached by the Toronto Sun’s Tracy McLaughlin Tuesday, Walsh declined comment: “I have nothing to say.”

Progressive Conservative MPP Steve Clark said the OPPA leaders, unlike senior Liberals under investigation for alleged bribery in the Sudbury byelection, did the right thing by removing themselves.

Opposition MPPs have repeatedly demanded that Wynne’s chief of staff Pat Sorbara and Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed Jr. be removed from their public duties while under investigation.

“There’s an opportunity for the government to show some integrity ... They should follow the lead of the OPPA,” Clark said.

Naqvi ​said no charges have been laid in the Sudbury investigation.

“We have to remember that we have presumption of innocence in our system of democracy, an individual is innocent until proven guilty,” Naqvi said.

RCMP officers have not laid any charges in the OPPA probe.

​Meanwhile, Naqvi said ongoing collective bargaining with the OPPA continues under new union leadership.

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca


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