Toronto police chief accepts Doug Ford's written apology for 'payback' comment
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says he will drop a defamation lawsuit against Doug Ford, after the Ward 2 councillor issued a written apology on Thursday.
“I accept the statement that I have received from him,” Blair said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, shortly after Doug Ford’s office issued the written apology.
The apology was clear and unequivocal, in accordance with Blair’s terms to drop his lawsuit, the police chief said. “All of that, in my opinion, resolves this matter.”
On Aug. 1, Ford accused Blair of leaking news to the media of police plans to subpoena Mayor Rob Ford to testify in the Alexander Lisi case. Doug Ford told reporters Blair did so to seek “payback” against the mayor.
Blair said the comments were “lies” and issued the defamation notice Monday evening.
In Ford’s written apology, he says he had no information or basis for his comments against Blair. “I completely and fully apologize to Chief Blair for any inference or suggestion in my comments that he has acted in a personally dishonourable way,” Ford wrote in Thursday’s apology letter.
On Thursday, Blair said his job regularly exposes him to criticism, but Ford’s comments went beyond fair comment and impugned the chief’s reputation.
“The law protects opinion. Everybody’s entitled to an opinion. The law does not protect lies,” he said. “I cannot ignore lies and false statements that go to the heart of my personal and professional reputation.”
Blair said police have investigated the leak that informed the media about the Ford subpoena, and he is satisfied that it came from a non-police source.
Doug Ford’s written apology comes a day after he publicly apologized to Blair in a media scrum on Wednesday.
“I’m going to take the high road on this, so I want to make a public apology to the chief for any comments,” he told reporters. “The chief feels I have impugned his reputation, and I will retract all statements.”
But Blair said Ford’s verbal apology Wednesday was not thorough enough. “His comments that followed were neither clear, nor unequivocal,” he said.
As part of Blair’s terms for dropping the defamation notice, Ford is required to publish his full, written apology. He is also required to retract his earlier harmful statement, and he must make a charitable donation to an organization of Blair’s choice.
Ford’s letter says he and the chief have agreed on a $1,000 donation to Covenant House.
The apology is included below.
More to come...