POLITICS

Bill Blair, Toronto Police Chief, Courted By Liberals: Report

01/13/2015 05:44 EST | Updated 01/13/2015 05:59 EST

The federal Liberals are courting Toronto Police Service Chief Bill Blair to run for them in the upcoming federal election, reports from CityNews and 680News say.

But the Grits may not be the only party after Toronto's top cop.

The TV and radio stations quoted anonymous sources Tuesday saying Blair, who is leaving his post on April 25, has been in talks with the Liberals about seeking a federal seat.

Blair would not comment through spokesman Mark Pugash, though CityNews pointed out that in a year-end interview with the chief, he said, "I've spent my life in public service and I'll just find a different way to serve."

Political analyst Jim Warren, meanwhile, said both the Liberals and the Conservatives would love to have Blair running for them.

"A star candidate like Bill Blair that can shift a riding from one party to the next is going to be highly sought after," he told CityNews.

Blair has not ruled out a career in politics after his contract is up. In a separate year-end interview with The Globe and Mail, telling reporter Ann Hui, "I have spent my life in public service. I am going to find a way to continue to serve."

A source inside the Liberal Party also told the newspaper that its people had talked about recruiting him. Another source told the Globe, "As far as I know, everyone wants Chief Blair."

The chief's potential candidacy would come following a tenure that was, at times, marred by a public row with the Ford brothers.

Last year, Blair served then-Coun. Doug Ford with a defamation notice after the politician accused him of exacting political payback on his brother, former mayor Rob Ford, after The Toronto Star reported Rob would be subpoenaed in a case involving his friend Sandro Lisi.

Earlier in the year, Doug accused Blair of breaking the law and campaigning for now-Mayor John Tory.

Doug Ford later apologized to the chief.

Blair initially didn't accept the apology, but later said the dispute with Doug Ford had been resolved.

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