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My kind of guy

by Judi McLeod
October 5 - 26, 2000

They call him "Bro". And the local politicians whose knickers he somehow seems to get into a twist could take lessons from him. In an era where it is much safer to mince words and to be on both sides of any fence, Toronto Police Association boss Craig Bromell is a straight-talking guy.

A street cop from long days out on the front lines as a constable for the former 51 Division, he holds onto "old-fashioned" values such as honesty.

The media keeps trying to shoot him down, but Bro is proving that impossible. The main motto of the TPA under the leadership of Craig Bromell has remained steadfast: "We protect those who protect others." In a media maelstrom where activists and unprincipled municipal politicians continue to attack rank and file police officers, unflinching Craig Bromell stands tall.

The bane of knee-jerk journalism and backstabbing political bigwigs, Bro must drive them crazy.

Pompous, out-of-touch columnists from the most unexpected of quarters try to portray Craig Bromell as a bully and vaguely as someone of whom the rest of us should be afraid.

The problem is they are trying to peddle their image to police officers and to John Q. Public who know better. It’s a propaganda that can never quite wash.

If the fifth estate were awake at the switch it would be the politicians feeding the media its fodder who would be under journalistic scrutiny, rather than the police.

Back in the spring, media types were prophesizing that Bromell would lose his job as police union boss in the aftermath of the ill-fated True Blue Campaign. Not only did he win his job by acclamation; he got a standing ovation to boot.

It's comical to consider that local politicians tried to have him change his image of honesty and straight goods in a total makeover.

"...I've had quite a laugh over the past few months about the efforts the media and some high profile decision-makers in Toronto have put into trying to create a "new, improved" Craig Bromell," the union boss stated in Tour of Duty, official publication of the TPA.

"Apparently these improvements for me should include a new hairstyle, 'librarian-style' glasses, paler coloured three-piece suits, and so on. In other words, I should look like a 'Bay Street' type. As far as my performance as President goes, they feel I should adopt a softer, gentler approach when dealing with our opposition.

"When I finished laughing at the 'new-look' me, I realized that a three-piece suited, Clark Kent-looking President wouldn't have helped the Association much. My image may not be Hollywood enough for some but I believe that it, combined with the support of the Board of Directors, has helped reach negotiated raises and pension plans that are second to none, improved equipment, legislative changes of benefit to our members, and much more!

"As I have said many times in the past, I take the responsibilities of leadership of this Association very seriously. When all is said and done, we are not here to settle for second place. Because of this, I'm not prepared to turn into somebody else's idea of what I should look like or be."

Right on, Bro!

Indeed, local politicians and their media buddies should overhaul their image to reflect a little more straight shooting and honesty.

The same politicians and media hounds tried to create a rift between Bromell and Julian Fantino. Perhaps the Jack Layton/Olivia Chow set had the intelligence to sense that both parties were cut from the same cloth.

Once again Bromell was ahead of back-stabbing politicos: "The first thing the Chief and I agreed on was that the media and other people of influence in this city--will do what they can to drive a wedge between the Association and the chief," Bromell told his members.

"A fabricated rift would really sell newspapers. We also agree that for the sake of our membership and our community we cannot and will not let this happen. We won't always agree on issues but we do commit to maintain a strong, professional relationship throughout our tenures."

I personally met Craig Bromell and was impressed with his sense of honour, with his honesty and unimpeachable integrity. In a suit of any cut or colour, Bro is my kind of guy.

In spite of the well-honed double talk and chicanery of the municipal politicians, something happened on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2000 that they won't be feeding to the media.

For the first time in 25 years no one took on an incumbent union leader at the Toronto Police Association. Craig Bromell was acclaimed as president of the 7,000-member strong Association, guaranteeing him another three-year term. The silence of the media in the applause and cheers of the standing ovation was deafening.

Months of media hype manufactured by keep-my-job-at-all-costs city hall politicians was forgotten. In the end, the truth will always prevail.

Hip, hip, hooray for the average citizen in Toronto.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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