Firefighters' union finally reacts to city hall sacking
The City of Montreal's firefighters union spoke out Tuesday for the first time about the charges laid against many of its members a week and a half ago.
The charges came after hundreds of city employees including firefighters ransacked city hall in a pension protest August 18.
The union says it will be defending all of the firefighters charged, by assuming all legal defence costs for all 41 of their members charged.
They are also helping some of the families of the 30 firefighters who were suspended indefinitely without pay after the incident.
The money is to help union members with mortages or other expenses that they may have difficulty paying pending the outcome of their cases.
The impact for one member and his family is in the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Ronald Martin, the head of Montreal's firefighters association is also facing criminal charges. He will be pleading not guilty to all charges.
Martin also said he will not step down as union president, saying he still has the confidence of his members.
The firefighters’ union is also questioning the police investigation of the sacking of city hall. It wouldn't elaborate on just what they felt was improper, but said they have conducted their own investigation and were concerned by some of the political comments that there were conclusions drawn before the investigations were finished.
On Tuesday, the firefighters’ union called the arrests and suspensions a ‘political order.’
“We were clearly concerned by the comments made by elected officials that seemed to indicate that the conclusion of the investigation was already done before it was made public,” said Chris Ross, vice president of the association.
“We have sort of confidence in the police there. We're a little worried about some of the comments made by elected officials. We won't hide the fact that when an elected official, which is ultimately the boss of all municipal employees, makes public comments, that it must put a certain amount of undue pressure on those that are creating the investigation,” he said.
Ross may have been referring to Anie Samson, the executive committee member responsible for public security, who was quoted in a local newspaper as saying that some of those who took part in the ransacking of city hall had lost their jobs and didn't even know it yet.
They even say some of the police who arrested them may have been under pressure to make the arrests given their 'boss' made these public comments.
The first of the cases against them go to court Oct. 2.