What about the next ten months?



So Councillor Jeff Earle's political math did not prove to be quite accurate.

City council's vote last night on his motion to halt the OPP costing process ended up with a five-four split in favour, rather than the six-four result Earle had anticipated.

He was wrong about David LeSueur, while Tom Blanchard was not at the meeting – although Blanchard informs us he followed the proceedings, thanks to my live-tweets, from South Carolina.

My prediction, however, did play out. The five-four result was not the two-thirds majority required for the motion to pass.

A few questions arise from council's resulting decision to continue with the OPP costing process.

First, since it is clearly to be an election issue as the numbers come in around September 2014, the question begs to be asked again: will COPS leader Louise Severson reprise her role as a mayoral candidate, using local policing as her springboard?

She has strongly rejected that suggestion up to now, but it's one I intend to ask again.

As Councillor Earle said last night: “Things have changed.”

Second, what happens during the ten months in between?

There seems to be little for the city to do, OPP-wise, as it waits for the provincial force to complete its billing reform exercise and come back with a Brockville proposal.

And there is little COPS can do as well, since its one obvious move – trying to halt the costing – has been tried and failed.

So does COPS spend the intervening time inviting guest speaker after guest speaker to tell us how the OPP has failed other communities, followed by rebuttals from Mayor David Henderson, or does the whole issue fall blissfully silent until late next summer while both sides gather their strength?

I suspect the momentum-conscious citizens' group will opt for the former.

Also, where does this leave the police force's cost-cutting exercise?

Henderson last night promised Friday's budget reveal will include no increases for emergency services. Is the OPP costing the Sword of Damocles that is making this possible?

It's hard to argue with the costing supporters when they maintain that, since we asked for the numbers anyway, we might as well get them and avoid doing all of this over again in the next term.

But what happens when we do get those numbers – and maybe even who is around to get them – will depend greatly on how the political game is played in the intervening months.