Police union uses new billboard to slam mayor, police chief, board chair

The Toronto Police Association is using a massive billboard along the Gardiner Expressway to ramp up its campaign against the city’s mayor, police chief, and the chair of the Toronto Police Services board.

The billboard, which recycles a full-page newspaper ad published in the Toronto Star last week, shows a smiling Tory in between Police Chief Mark Saunders and Toronto Police Services Board Chair Andrew Pringle. The ad reads, “These guys are putting your safety on hold” and includes the numbers ‘911,’ which appear to be written out in blood.

In a tweet sent out this week, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack again blamed the city officials for the increased wait times some residents have faced when phoning 9-1-1.

“Toronto Mayor @JohnTory so proud of the City’s record tourism numbers. This week 1 million commuters and visitors on the Gardiner just west of the downtown will see exactly who is responsible for increased 911 wait times,” McCormack said of the new billboard.

According to McCormack, 911 callers have been regularly put on hold for “minutes and not seconds” for multiple months.

McCormack claims that union members have tried to work with Tory, Saunders and Pringle but have had little success.

“They have been placating and putting it off and saying don’t worry we will do another review,” he said. “It is time for action,” McCormack told CP24 after the ad was released last week.

While Tory previously admitted that there have been some problems with callers being put on hold, he said they are trying to address the issue.

Speaking to CP24 last week, he said one of the ways the city is improving the situation is by hiring 20 new employees at the 911 dispatch centre.

He slammed the ad, calling it a “throwback to the old days of the way police union bosses acted.”

“I just don’t want to be part of it. I have my job to do and I will continue to do it the way that I do which I hope is responsibly and respectfully,” Tory previously said.

Tory has not publicly commented on the TPA’s new billboard.

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