ATU president apologizes after comments about police riding buses
Published Monday, December 17, 2018 4:14PM CST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2018 6:36PM CST
A Winnipeg union boss is saying sorry to one of his counterparts after comments he made about police officers riding buses to CTV News.
On Dec. 7 Police Chief Danny Smyth announced officers are riding the bus more often while on the beat Downtown to improve safety.
"Now we're asking them at times, jump on the bus, take that short trip on the bus," said Smyth earlier this month.
The same day Amalgamated Transit Union president Aleem Chaudhary questioned if this was really the case, suggesting officers were simply riding the bus to escape winter.
"They say they have increased it, is it really an increase or just the cold weather out there," said Chaudhary on Dec. 7.
That didn't sit well with some police officers, who contacted their union president Moe Sabourin.
"Some of our members saw the president of the ATU and the comments he made about our members riding the bus, they were a little upset with that, " said Sabourin, the Winnipeg Police Association president.
In response Chaudhary sent this letter to Sabourin on Dec. 13:
"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to your members for a remark I made on CTV Winnipeg News this past month…I inferred that police officers were simply taking the bus because of the cold weather…My remarks were inappropriate and demeaning to the hard working members of the Winnipeg Police Association…In no way shape or form did I endeavor to demean or devalue the difficult work that your members do on a daily basis,” wrote Chaudhary
In his letter Chaudhary also says he made the comment out of frustration, as he feels city hall has not done enough for transit safety. Chaudhary was not available for an on-camera interview but his union sent this statement on his behalf, once again apologizing.
“During a recent CTV News Winnipeg broadcast, I made comments that were unacceptable for an elected union leader. These comments were inappropriate and insulting to the hard work that Winnipeg's police officers do on a daily basis, who face many of the concerns over safety that our members also see. I want to apologize to the members and leadership of the Winnipeg Police Association. I have reached out to the WPA's leadership to best determine how we can make amends and continue our shared efforts in making our city a safer place for the public and for our respective members," said the statement
Sabourin says his union has accepted Chaudhary's apology and understands where he's coming from.
"Aleem was making the comments out of pure frustration, I know our chief, the current chief and the previous chief have really ignored their safety concerns," said Sabourin.
The Winnipeg Police Service responded with a statement of its own, from its representative on the Transit Advisory Committee:
“Safety on transit is a top priority for the Winnipeg Police Service. In fact, one of the planks of our business plan requires we provide a strategic deployment of police resources in the downtown transit corridor,” said Supt. Liz Pilcher.