Law in the familyPublished on May 30, 2015

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

Charles Bordeleau met his future wife Lynda while they were both working at a local McDonald’s restaurant at the age of 16. His smile and sense of humour captured her heart. As native Ottawans they shared similar family values of respect, integrity and compassion.

Growing up in a police family, Lynda became interested in criminal law and this passion led her to become a lawyer. Today she practises labour  and administrative law in the police sector and is fortunate to be able to act both as general counsel to the Peel Regional Police  â€" her dream job â€" and to continue as a partner in her law firm.

Pursuing his interest in business, Charles attended the University of Ottawa, and obtained an MA in disaster and emergency management from Royal Roads University. Stories his father-in-law told him about life in law enforcement motivated him to join the police force, and after 28 years of active duty he was sworn in as Chief of the Ottawa Police Service in 2012. In recognition of his philanthropic efforts as an energetic community volunteer and sought-after public speaker who sits on numerous boards, Charles was awarded the Dean’s Philos Award from the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his contribution towards building a safe and inclusive community.

Family time is precious for this busy career couple and they enjoy attending concerts with their 20-year-old daughter Marie , travelling and jogging. To unwind, Lynda likes listening to Bon Jovi and doing yoga, while Charles relishes gardening, watching House of Cards  and playing the drums. Their private oasis is sitting on the dock at a family cottage that Lynda’s father and uncle built more 50 years ago in Ladysmith, Que. 

LYNDA, WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING THE DAUGHTER OF A POLICE CHIEF? My father is my biggest inspiration and supporter. He was a police officer for 40 years in this community and to this day he meets someone almost daily who will recognize him as a police officer or retired chief. That includes people he had arrested, and they are actually happy to see him. He treated everyone with respect, and that was instilled in my brother and me from an early age. He is a hero.

KNOWING YOUR HUSBAND’S CAREER SO WELL, DO YOU EVER WORRY? I’ve lived all of my life in a policing environment. My father was taken hostage in a bakery in Ottawa when I was 16, and Chuck was in a serious accident while on patrol when we were first married. You learn not to think about it. I’m no longer a spouse of a front-line officer, but when I was I took comfort in knowing that officers are well-trained and supported when on duty. The worries are different now.  

CHARLES, WHAT IS YOUR PLATFORM AS CHIEF OF POLICE? Everyone matters. Each member of the Ottawa Police Service adds value and contributes to our mission of keeping our community safe. Each member of the public deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, no matter their circumstance. From an operational perspective, it is tackling the issue of guns and gangs, ending violence against women and improving traffic safety.  

WHAT STYLE OF LEADERSHIP IS CRITICAL IN LEADING A POLICE DEPARTMENT? It was an honour being appointed Chief of Police for the nation’s capital. You need to be able to adapt your leadership style to the situation. It’s important to be patient, open-minded, driven, make decisions and show empathy. In policing, situations are very fluid and dynamic. You have to be flexible and adapt quickly. The women and men of the police service motivate me and the passion they have to help our community is inspiring.  

IS OTTAWA A SAFE CITY? Absolutely. Like any big city, we have some challenges, but our crime rate and our crime severity index are very favourable. Our community surveys also reflect the fact that people in general do feel safe.

LYNDA, DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE LANDMARK IN OTTAWA? Parliament Hill. I’m so proud to stand on the lawn on Canada Day at noon with Marie and watch the Snowbirds pass overhead. I can’t believe I’ve actually practised yoga on the lawn of the Hill in the summer. It’s those feelings that make the (Parliament Hill shooter) attack of Oct. 22, 2014 so emotional.


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