Jan 06 2012 OTTAWA - Ottawa Chief Vern White and Jean-Guy Dagenais, a 34 year member of the Surete du Quebec, were both named to the Senate this week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In July White had just signed a contract extension with the city to stay on the job as chief until 2015.
“We signed the contract in good faith, knowing he is a good chief and many organizations would like to have him,” El-Chantiry said. But he said he can’t fault White for taking the plum Senate post. “Not many people would reject it.”
At the time, White was widely rumoured to be in the running to be the next commissioner of the RCMP. White himself was hired away from the Durham police in 2007 and his predecessor Vince Bevan came from Niagara two years before being named chief himself. Now, said El-Chantiry, a replacement for White is likely to come from the ranks of the Ottawa force.
“In the last few years we have been working very hard on succession and now we’re better placed than ever to look for that strength from within,” he said. “The Ottawa police as an organization is bigger than all of us. It’s bigger than Vern White, it’s bigger than Eli El-Chantiry. It’s an organization with a lot of strength.”
Nevertheless, he said, it’ll be very difficult to have a permanent successor chosen by the time White leaves.
White told him about the appointment around noon on Thursday, El-Chantiry said. “He called and obviously he was almost embarrassed to tell me he was asked by the prime minister if he would accept appointment to the Senate.”
White’s a popular chief who’s worked hard on youth drug-treatment and outreach to the community, though his tenure has been marred by officers’ abuse of prisoners in the police cellblock and judges throwing out several criminal cases because police had violated suspects’ rights.
Also appointed is Jean-Guy Dagenais, a 34 year member of the Surete du Quebec, was among seven people appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Steven Harper in January.
He will replace former Liberal senator Raymond Lavigne who resigned in March after being convicted of fraud. During his policing career Dagenais served as president of the Quebec Provincial Police Association before retiring.
Last spring he then ran for, but failed, in his attempt to take a seat in the riding of Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot. The sixty one year old said he is extremely pleased to be appointed and is comfortable with the role he is being asked to play, defending the Conservatives’ crime agenda.