Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday March 22, 2019
Doug Ford didn’t breach rules in Taverner appointment, integrity commissioner says
Ontario’s integrity commissioner says Premier Doug Ford did not breach conflict of interest rules during the appointment of his friend Ron Taverner as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner.
“I found that the Premier stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process and that he believed it to be independent,” J. David Wake said in the report released on Wednesday.
But the report on the Taverner’s selection does not fully exonerate the government. Wake said the appointment process itself was flawed and said there were “some troubling aspects of the recruitment process” — most notably communication between the then-secretary of the cabinet Steve Orsini and Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff.
“What I found most disconcerting in all the evidence were the text messages from the Secretary to Mr. French as Mr. Taverner’s progress throughout the process. There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement by the Secretary that Mr. French was rooting for Mr. Taverner’s success,” the commissioner said.
“Anyone examining these messages would have serious doubts as to the fairness of the process to the other candidates.”
Wake’s investigation was launched after complaints from opposition politicians over Taverner’s appointment.
Taverner, 72, a Toronto police superintendent, initially did not meet the criteria listed for the position and the government admitted it changed the requirements to attract a wider range of candidates.
Earlier this month, Taverner withdrew his name from consideration for the job because of the controversy around his appointment. He said he needed to protect the integrity of front-line officers.
After he withdrew his name, the government named Thomas Carrique as the new OPP commissioner. Carrique is currently deputy chief of York Regional Police. (Source: CBC)