Jun 09, 2015

By Jane Brown

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Toronto’s new police chief has spoken out for the first time since Mayor John Tory announced on Sunday he would look to end the controversial police practice of carding.

Mark Saunders insists his position hasn’t changed and he wants to continue to review the practice.

“We’re in the process of working with the board to find out what the best solutions are, to keep the city safe, that’s always been my stance on it, and we’ll work together to figure out what we can do to make sure that things go well,” Chief Saunders explained.

Asked whether he was surprised by Mayor Tory’s change of heart on carding, Chief Saunders said “I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

Tory meantime, told CP24 he’s spoken with the chief about his new position.

“I’m not going to get into the contents of that discussion, because we have lots of discussions, but I can only say, that I am very confident.  He too, believed there was a need for fundamental reform here.  He was in the process of discussing some of them, and he still is, and I believe we can with  him, with the board, and with the Police Association, because I think they should be involved, and the community have to be very much involved in this, so we can end up in the right place this time,” Tory defended.

In April, members of the Toronto Police Services Board amended the carding policy to prohibit officers from considering “race, place of origin, age, colour, ethnic origin, gender identity or gender expression” when decided whether to stop someone for questioning.  They’ve also banned any carding quotas from being put in place.

At the time, Mayor Tory called the changes an important landmark in advancing bias free policing, but now admits there is no real way to fix a practice that has come to be regarded as illegitimate, disrespectful and hurtful.




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