Day one for Ottawa’s new top cop

Ottawa’s new top cop officially begins his new job today.

Eric Stubbs becomes chief of the Ottawa Police Service nearly four weeks after the Ottawa Police Services Board appointed him on Oct. 21, three days before the municipal election saw a new mayor and 11 new councillors elected.

Police did not release any details about plans for Stubbs’ first day on the job.

Stubbs arrives at Ottawa Police headquarters as the force’s actions are under the microscope at the public inquiry looking into the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act during the ‘Freedom Convoy.’   Evidence presented at the inquiry included allegations police information was leaked to organizers of the protest, Premier Doug Ford believed Ottawa police “lost command” of the situation, OPP officers describing dysfunction in the service, and concerns raised about intelligence gathering.

The city of Ottawa’s auditor general is also looking into the police and city response to the convoy.

Stubbs succeeds interim chief Steve Bell, who took over in February when Peter Sloly resigned as chief of police. Stubbs praised Bell for his work as interim chief during his introductory media conference last month.

“I don’t take this role lightly and the road ahead will be challenging, and I, along with the great team at OPS we will strive to meet those expectations every day,” Stubbs said on Oct. 21.

Stubbs was an assistant commissioner with the RCMP in British Columbia.  He joined the RCMP in 1993.

Last November, the Mounties in B.C. enforced an injunction barring protesters from blocking an access road in the Wet’suwet’en territory used by Coastal GasLink pipeline workers. Two journalists were arrested covering the ongoing B.C. pipeline dispute. At the time, Stubbs said they did not identify themselves as journalists until after they were arrested.

“All the protests that have occurred in the last five years, COVID, but there’s been a lot of resource base ones, the Coastal GasLink with the Wet’suwet’en, Old Growth Forest, the Trans Mountain pipeline, it’s been very challenging,” Stubbs said last month. “There’s a team here that’s done it a lot and have really dedicated to trying to resolve these things through talking and negotiating and we’ve been successful in a lot of those cases. But often we do end up having to arrest people and some people are upset.”

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