What's a girl to do?
Let me fill in the gaps here. This is a story out of the London Community News (By Paul Everest/ @PaulEverest1) the one that comes with your Wednesday flyers. Or Thursday flyers. Whatever. It's a paper, and it acts like a paper, and in my opinion, scooped the "real" paper in town.
The Community News had on its front page the shocking allegation that the London Police Force encouraged the owner of Jack Astor's to fire Rob Bazinet simply due to his connection to the Occupy London movement. It's a great bit in that it offers us the classic match-up of working schmoe vs. guy with monocle. It also offers us the comfortable out of an unsubstantiated claim about our blessed police acting the part of small-town heavy.
But wait, what's this?
Understandably worried about what the firing would mean for his family, Bazinet decided to confront Matt Morton, the bar’s security supervisor who hired him, about the reasons for his termination.
He said Morton alleged police were behind the decision to fire him.
When Bazinet expressed concern his girlfriend would jump to the conclusion he was fired for not performing his duties properly, Morton agreed to explain the reasons for the firing in her presence.
At that point, Bazinet approached London Community News with his allegations and a reporter posing as his girlfriend accompanied him to a meeting with Morton on May 3.
During that meeting, which Bazinet recorded without Morton’s knowledge, Morton reiterated the firing was due to alleged police pressure.
“Robert doesn’t have a very good relationship with the London police and we do,” Morton claimed in the recording. “They were not keen on having him working here.”
He added the police officers allegedly told management the good relationship between the bar and police could be jeopardized if he was kept on as an employee.
“I’m not supposed to be telling you all this,” Morton claimed. “It was just purely based on a request from the London police for us to re-evaluate whether we had made the right choice.”
“But they didn’t really give you a choice?” Bazinet asked.
“No,” Morton replied.
He claimed the bar’s management decided to fire Bazinet so as not to endanger the good relationship with police.
“My boss is worried about blowback.”
Sounds a bit more cut-and-dried. But there's always room for back-pedaling:
I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but the London Police had absolutely nothing to do with Rob’s dismissal,” [general manager Ian] Campbell wrote. “I should know… I was the one who let him go. Obviously, any recording Rob has provided you is not of myself or of anyone who was involved in coming to the decision to end his employment here at Jacks.
It's a clever bit of Bart Simpson derived defense. Basically it involves saying "I wasn't there, you can't prove I was there, and if I was there, I didn't do what you said I did." Still, it could be true, and it's not like this has happened to Mr. Bazinet before.
That's such a blogger thing to do, isn't it? That open-ended sentence that telegraphs where this is going next. I have to stop doing that.
Here's the quote:
Bazinet took the job at Jack’s to gain more shifts after his hours were cut back at Cobra Nightclub on Talbot Street, where he had also worked as a security guard.
He claimed a police officer also made inquiries about him when he worked at that club.
Cameron Hodgins, Cobra’s general manager, confirmed a police officer had come into the club earlier this year.
He alleges the officer asked if Bazinet was employed there and if he had a licence to work as a security guard for the bar.
He said, however, the officer did not ask him to fire Bazinet, who does hold a valid provincial licence to work as a security guard and was never arrested or charged during any of the Occupy events in the city.
It's not like the police across this province (or this continent) seem intent on trampling rights and defending corporations to our detriment. Regardless, we need our proxies to look under the rocks and to poke the cross-beams looking for rot. We give the London police sticks, and guns, and dogs, and 100K to not risk their lives. I expect them to be on their best behaviour at all times. If they aren't, it needs to be brought out in the open.
Good for you London Community News and Paul Everest for doing that reportery thing the Free Press seems to forget about.
Since you've read this far, I'll tell you that my weak title was due to this song being on my mind, and I'll take or make any excuse to hear "Gold", by John Stewart. 1978. Balls, that's getting to be a long time ago.