|Former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant is writing a tell-all book about his experience being charged with criminal negligence causing death after a confrontation with cyclist D'Arcy Sheppard. (Sun file photo)
TORONTO - First it was former Health Minister George Smitherman’s tearful admission that he’d used “party drugs,” before he got into politics.
Now we hear from former Attorney General Michael Bryant that while he was the province’s chief legal officer, he was also an alcoholic.
While he claims not to have been drunk on the job, he was hung over.
Hello? The attorney general’s job isn’t 9-5 -it’s 24/7. You’re always on duty.
It begs the question, was anyone actually sober at Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet table?
It certainly explains some of their bizarre cabinet decisions.
It was Bryant who came up with the ludicrous pitbull ban and Smitherman once tried to ban sushi.
What kind of judgment does it show for McGuinty to allow people with serious addiction problems to hold senior cabinet positions? Was there no scrutiny of their private lives, no background checks?
The Mike Harris cabinet had its problems too, but mainly with sexual exploits. With McGuinty’s people it seems to be drugs and booze. Sex may be tacky, but it doesn’t impair judgment. Booze and drugs do.
I haven’t read Bryant’s biography, 28 Seconds. Only select members of the media were sent review copies and I, sadly wasn’t included. Bryant’s publicist did not return my phone call Wednesday.
Listening to interviews, Bryant emerges as a self-absorbed, narcissistic whiner.
The 28 seconds in the book title refers to the incident in 2009 in which Bryant struck cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard as he drove along Bloor St.
Sheppard died and Bryant was subsequently charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
In media interviews this week, Bryant suggested he should not have been charged and said Toronto cops over-reacted because of who he was.
That’s nonsense, says Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash.
Right from the start, cops went out of their way to ensure they acted in a fair and even-handed fashion.
“From the minute this case started, we knew it was going to be subject to microscopic scrutiny,” Pugash told me in an interview.
“We brought in a very experienced, very able Crown from B.C. who we consulted with on whether Mr. Bryant should be charged and if so, what he should be charged with,” Pugash said. “He agreed with our advice. He supported our decision to charge him and on the charges.”
He pointed out also that Bryant hired one of the best legal teams in the province to defend him.
“His legal team included some of the sharpest and most aggressive lawyers in the country and if they had seen anything — even the slightest misstep — they would have been all over us,” he said.
The Crown and Bryant’s lawyers met regularly and raised no issues.
“The first we heard about this is with the publication of his book. I think people are entitled to be very skeptical about the timing,” he said.
Bryant has whined in print about the $300,000 he paid in legal fees. Well, if you can’t afford something, you don’t buy it. And what kind of a guy profits from another person’s death by publishing a book?
Bryant’s mawkish self-pitying is disgusting.
There are families courageously battling all kinds of hardships and tragedies, yet this self-entitled, privileged whiner wants us to feel sorry for him?
To think this week we honoured those who died during the Dieppe raid. Compare those brave men and their sacrifice with the nauseating claptrap from Bryant and it turns your stomach.
Darcy Sheppard died. There may have been nothing Bryant could do to avoid that tragedy, but for him to paint himself as some kind of victim is revolting.
You have to wonder, when there were competent people warming the backbench in McGuinty’s government, why he chose to include two such arrogant and embarrassingly flawed individuals as Smitherman and Bryant.