It was another day of political turmoil in Ottawa after a special meeting of Ottawa City Council resulted in the removal of Diane Deans as Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board. Deans, who was married to the late Hamilton MPP Ian Deans for 22 years was accused of engineering a behind the scenes deal to hire a new interim police chief. The move signaled a lack of confidence in the entire senior command of Ottawa Police that until. Earlier this week was led by Peter Soloy. When he submitted his resignation he was replaced by deputy chief Steve Bell. Two days into the job, Bell has participated in two tense meetings—one with his own board and Wednesday with City Council. In both meetings Bell had to field repeated questions about when and how he was going to end the blockade; questions he said he could not answer in detail because of the need to hold tactical advantage over the protesters. Mayor Jim Watson, who is not seeking re-election led the move to oust Deans, who is a candidate for the Ottawa mayoralty. After council voted to remove Deans, three other members of the Police Services Board resigned in protest.
The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the Police Services Board under Deans had signed a deal with former Waterloo Region police chief Matt Torigian without a competition being held for the temporary position. Deans said the current Ottawa police executive command “is flying with one wing” and needs help, and fast, which is why the board accepted hiring a highly skilled interim chief. She said there would be consultation involved in hiring the next permanent police chief.
Meanwhile there was an Ottawa Police Services Board meeting scheduled for today at which the beleaguered acting chief Bell is scheduled to appear. All this is unfolding as Ottawa Police were seen in large numbers in downtown Ottawa, prompting speculation that a move is afoot to end the blockade.