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Long-standing feud in Midland turns political

A long-standing feud between former members of the Midland Police Service and the town's police service's board has resurfaced less than three weeks before the municipal election.

The feud involves former Midland Police union leader Bill Gordon, who now has his sights set on becoming mayor.

"There's no other way to see it other than a smear campaign," Gordon said.

"I felt that I'm clearly being targeted," he added. "It's been a multiyear vendetta at my own expense, and now just as we thought everything was over, they've resurrected these things in the last two weeks of the election, and that's a head-scratcher I think anybody can see through."

The mayoral hopeful is referring to a press release issued by the police services board through the Town of Midland accusing Gordon of spreading false and misleading information.

In 2019, when the Midland Police Service disbanded to transition to the OPP, town officials claimed Gordon and former police chief Michael Osborne destroyed encrypted police hard drives.

"There seemed to be a high level of anxiety to get that stuff destroyed," said George Dixon, Midland Police Services board chair.

However, the OPP has said it received all the necessary records, and no charges were laid.

Regardless, Dixon remains convinced Gordon and Osborne did not follow the town's direction when Gordon disposed of old hard drives.

"Neither Mr. Gordon nor Mr. Osborne owned those hard drives they took to get destroyed," Dixon said.

Still, Dixon has no proof anything was lost or destroyed from the confidential collection of Midland police data.

Paul Hamelin is a former Midland police chief and police data security expert and spent decades preserving and protecting confidential operational police information.

"Disclosing personal information that relates to law enforcement is clearly within the purview of the chief of police. Section 41 of the Police Services Act stipulates that the chief will be the one deciding what will be released," he said, adding the town had no business having those documents.

"Go to any serving police service, any serving police chief in the province of Ontario, that would include the commissioner of the OPP, [and] ask them a simple question, 'If you were asked by your municipal council to have unfettered access to your police operational data would you give it to them?' And I'm sure the answer would be no," Hamelin concluded.

On Thursday, the OPP confirmed to CTV News it found no grounds to lay criminal charges in the matter.

CTV News reached out to Mayor Stewart Strathern and was told he was unavailable for comment.

Gordon is on the ballot for mayor against incumbent Strathern, Jonathan Main, and Ute Schmid-Jones. The municipal election is on Oct. 24. Top Stories

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