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'Lots of blame to go around': reaction to Peter Sloly resignation as chief of Ottawa police

While most seem to agree the resignation of Ottawa's police chief comes as no surprise, he is not the only one to blame for the police handling of the convoy demonstrations.
2022-02-04 peter sloly
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly at a news briefing on the truck convoy protest on Friday, February 4, 2022. (Photo/Screenshot CPAC)

Reaction is pouring in following the resignation of Peter Sloly as Ottawa's chief of police. 

Sloly announced his resignation after being widely criticized for the Ottawa Police Service's (OPS) handling of the ongoing "Freedom Convoy" in the downtown core. 

A criminal lawyer with Ottawa's Abergel Goldstein & Partners said that while Sloly's resignation comes as no surprise, he is not the only one to blame for the inadequate response to the convoy demonstrations. 

"Certainly, there is lots of blame to go around for the chief," Michael Spratt told The Sam Laprade Show on Tuesday, February 15. "But the mayor, who is going to be slinking out of office and not facing the electorate, has a lot of blame to take for this, as does other leaders in the community -- other politicians." 

Spratt goes on to say there are bigger issues at play. 

"Maybe it's time we all recognize that we can't look to chiefs like Sloly to reform the police," Spratt said. "We need to tear that institution down and build it up in a better way."

Somerset ward councillor Catherine McKenney has also responded to Sloly's resignation, echoing much of the same sentiment.

"This is not a time for scapegoating," McKenney said. "There is a lot of responsibility and many failures --- and a lot of responsibility for failures to go around."

A local criminologist also weighed in, saying because the Emergencies Act was invoked by the federal government, an inquiry into Sloly's resignation will be required, so any lingering question around the reasoning for his departure will be answered in the end.

"Evidently, the parties involved felt there was a failure of leadership and maybe they are right," said Michael Kempa, associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa. "They had better be right if they've moved Peter Sloly along because there will be an inquiry as I say, and if they moved him along for less than honourable reasons, that will be revealed." 

Kemp said the inquiry, required within 60 days of the Emergency Act ending, would look into the full scope of how the OPS handled the convoy protest, including Sloly's departure.

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