Fifteen hours of debating couldn’t resolve the issue, so the Halton Police Services Board will reconvene next Thursday to continue to discuss the fate of Police Chief Steve Tanner who is on the hotseat for travelling to Florida over the Christmas Holidays. Tanner is one of a number of high profile politicians and executives who admitted to foreign travel against the advice of health officials. There have been resignations and dismissals right and left, along with generous severance packages. In Tanner’s case the Halton Police Union is calling for his dismissal, and that may, at the end of the day, be the only course open to the Police Services Board; although it might be wise not to over react based solely on the demands of an employee union that could scarcely be considered objective.
We have no idea how effective a police chief Tanner has been, although former police board chair Rob Burton tweeted when the news of the trip first broke, “The Chief leads our Police Service in an exemplary manner and will continue to do so.” Burton later apologized for supporting Tanner’s trip but there’s no sign he changed his opinion on the chief’s leadership. To those in the media it seemed Tanner had done a good job of communicating with the public, making effective use of social media, staging events that engage the public, and having officers involved in community charities and other activities. In those endeavours Tanner seemed to be ahead of many of his peers.
All of this “off with their heads” outcry over foreign travel comes on a weekend when an Air Transat plane came back from Haiti, that’s right…Haiti of all places, full of people who either have COVID or have been exposed to COVID. Why are Canadians still being allowed to even think about travel to a country, that to put it gently, has not been a paragon when it comes to health care. Meanwhile we have closed our border to all but essential vehicular traffic to the US yet still allow people to fly there– a country that has an infection rate six times worse than ours on a per capita basis and a death rate nearly three times Canada’s. This is nuts. How can anyone be held to account for foreign travel during the pandemic when so many glaring loopholes exist?