Valarie Findlay: Wolves, Sheep and the Inconvenience of Sheep Dogs
“As source in a media story this past summer, I was aware of the rough road ahead: A sworn officer had revealed information on an active undercover operation targeting a long-time municipal politician for bribery.” …Valarie Findlay
Show me how to lie,
You’re getting better all the time.
And turning all against the one
Its an art that’s hard to teach.
Another clever word
Sets off an unsuspecting herd.
And as you step back into line,
The mob jumps to their feet.
Where fact and perspective meet, our personal values churn both of these, binding them into what we believe to be right and fair. Beyond common law and more than moral platitudes, these complex, emotional judgments help us to separate the ‘good guys’ from the bad, the law-abiding from the law-breaking and those who pull ‘sheep’s clothing’ over their wolf-like intentions, as they stride into the light of public interest.
It’s not uncommon for the public to be dazzled by sleight of hand that leaves us doubting our intuitions, even in the face of facts – it happens all of the time. The unknowing – or those not wanting to know – are transformed into complicit shills, bit players in the theatrics of the corrupt. Everyone knows that following the crowd is easier than standing up, or worse, standing alone.
Not a fan of acting on a single vector of information, balancing the material and immaterial with historical actions or patterns and intuition is critical. These are the pillars of anecdote, facts and the pathology of behaviours. The simplicity of when someone shows themselves to you, believe them is not lost on me, but it is rarely enough to grind the gears of public opinion.
(Above LiveLeak video: Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof talking about Chairman of the Ottawa Police Service Board and alleging, quiet clearly, that Eli El-Chantiry is involved in Organized Crime. Note: none of his allegations have yet been proven true.)
Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof first denies, then admits secret recordings are of him
As source in a media story this past summer, I was aware of the rough road ahead: A sworn officer had revealed information on an active undercover operation targeting a long-time municipal politician for bribery. The local politician was Ottawa Police Services Board Chair, Eli El-Chantiry. The ‘officer’ was Ottawa Police Association president, and former Ottawa Police Services (OPS) sergeant, Matt Skof. The receiving party was me.
When Matt informed me that El-Chantiry was the target of a bribery play, I had no intention of acting on the information. But that changed when I was told the operation was disbanded without cause, charges nor explanation and that emails existed between El-Chantiry, his secretary and others coordinating the bribe.
The only statement I will make with regard to Matt with any certainty is that he grossly misjudged my principles. Under no circumstances would I hide serious assertions that an elected official was involved in criminal activities and that the investigation stood up on that information was seemingly quashed.
As the information was socialized by others, it was not exactly a shock to a tight circle of cops and myself. For three years, I had been the conduit for many sources of testimony and material evidence on El-Chantiry’s conduct – and then I had my own. I had no reason to doubt Matt’s accuracy, truth and veracity of the information. In instances prior to this, any information shared on El-Chantiry and others was corroborated by those who were directly involved. Matt, in my opinion, acted in good faith, as I did.
Over the months that followed, much was underemphasized that would have lent context.
Firstly, the information provided by Matt was not coerced, as some have suggested. It also occurred over several months with increasing detail and cohesion. To that and on the matter of why the calls were recorded, this was an automatic function on the cell phone that Matt often called me on; calls made to my other numbers were not recorded.
There was no grand entrapment scheme and there was no personal benefit to me. The recordings were all but forgotten, until it was indicated to me that the operation was apparently “buried” – keeping in mind, this operation was executed and funded in a way that kept it shielded from the executive.
“I am one hundred percent convinced that Eli El-Chantiry is full out involved in organized crime, no doubt…” Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof talks about Ottawa Police Service Board Chair Mr. Eli El-Chantiry.
Secondly, there was no manipulation or misrepresentation of the recordings, as claimed by Matt. The original files’ were substantiated and verified by a number of factors: time/date stamps, call logs showing phone numbers and length of calls and correlation of information from the conversations to material elements, such as emails. The integrity of the audio files was maintained and verified as such.
Many asked why Matt would share such sensitive information with me. Obviously, I know why, but this is a question for Skof to answer, not me. From our many conversations over the years on El-Chantiry’s conduct, I can presume he was dually disgusted and overjoyed that this may signal the end of El-Chantiry’s fourteen year reign as Ottawa-Ward 5 Councillor and nearly ten years on the Ottawa Police Services Board.
Additionally, many have asked whether Matt and I had a “romantic” relationship. We did not – it was not romantic in the slightest. Others shifted the focus to his error in judgement, and in some cases, mine. To this, I will vigorously state that on the face of the information and its serious implications, the necessity for the matter to be independently investigated is crucial. I stand by that one-hundred percent. Read more