Democracy Watch turns up the heat on Premier Doug Ford over the Ron Taverner appointment - 2019-03-25
An Ottawa-based democracy group wants Ontario's integrity and conflict of interest commissioners to probe why Premier Doug Ford's friend, Ron Taverner, was given "preferential treatment" during the government's pursuit of a new OPP commissioner. Taverner, a 72-year-old Toronto police superintendent, was hired last November, but withdrew his name from consideration on March 6 after a public outcry over his close friendship with Ford.
Premier Doug Ford has maintained he and his staff did nothing wrong in the appointment of Ron Taverner. ( Star wire services )
While integrity commissioner J. David Wake last week concluded in a 101-page ruling that the premier "did not breach" the Members' Integrity Act, the independent ethics watchdog found a "flawed" and "troubling" hiring process guided to ensure the favoured candidate was hired. On Monday, Democracy Watch formally requested Wake and conflict of interest commissioner Sidney Linden to investigate whether Ford's political staff and senior bureaucrats contravened ethics laws by tilting the field to benefit Taverner. "There is clear evidence in the integrity commissioner's ruling on the OPP commissioner appointment process that Premier Ford's chief of staff, Dean French, and his former deputy minister (Steve Orsini) violated Ontario government ethics rules by giving preferential treatment to Ron Taverner more than once, and also to (deputy minister) Mario Di Tommaso," said Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch and an adjunct professor of law and politics at the University of Ottawa.