I don’t have much of a problem with Steve Boucher defending his members over the Stacy Bonds case. Nor is Canadian Police Association Charles Momy, formerly the head of the Ottawa police union shop, really out of line.
They’re just standing up for the rank and file. That’s what union dues are for. They’re wrong in almost every respect in this case, but that’s not the point. They have a role to play, and they’re playing it. The suggested complaint against the judge in the Bonds matter is so much pickle smoke, but Boucher has a membership to represent, and he has to be seen as doing his best.
For better or worse, our justice system, in the broadest sense, operates on an adversary basis. The beleaguered police union is putting forward its best case, like a lawyer with Clifford Olson as a client. That’s not necessarily a knock on the union—one likes to imagine that they’re dying inside. I’ve represented dubious grievors in my time as a union steward, and once asked a more experienced representative what I should do if the person really was culpable. “Just make sure the process is followed,” she said, and that’s all we’re getting from Momy and Boucher.
The folks who don’t like unions anyway are having a field day with this one, and, to be honest, I’m far from convinced that a union for oppressive agents of the state makes a lot of sense, but there’s nothing truly outrageous about union leaders backing their members, whomever they happen to be.
“Allow the process to take its course,” Momy says. Righto, assuming of course that the process is not corrupted by pro-police bias, for which the Ontario Special Investigations Unit is infamous. But in any case, why shouldn’t Momy and Boucher defend the obviously indefensible? Lawyers do it all the time. The officers being investigated—one hopes that includes all five who either participated in or watched the incident without intervening—have a right to representation.
And then let’s fire the bastards.