Report proves Ron Taverner hiring was 'rigged,' says lawyer for fired OPP deputy commissioner - 2019-03-21
An ethics report into the Progressive Conservatives' failed bid to install Premier Doug Ford's friend Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner proves the "bogus" hiring process was "rigged," charges the lawyer for former deputy commissioner Brad Blair. Blair "took a bullet for the service," said lawyer Julian Falconer, when he was fired by the government after exposing possible conflicts in Taverner's appointment as well as the Tories' attempt to get an Ontario Provincial Police van with $50,000 of customized upgrades for Ford's use.
While integrity commissioner J. David Wake's 101-page report concluded Ford "did not breach" the law himself, it revealed the hiring process was fraught with problems and that the premier's office was intimately involved. Falconer said Wake's review released Wednesday is a searing indictment of the provincial government. "The finding that ... what was supposed to be an independent hiring process was in fact a sham rigged for a certain result is nothing to be proud of," he told reporters Thursday.
"Brad Blair did this in the first place to protect the OPP," the lawyer said of Blair's legal battle to force the Ontario ombudsman to probe the Taverner hiring. His lawsuit exposed the premier's unsuccessful efforts to get a customized OPP van with a powered reclining leather sofa, 32-inch TV with Blu-ray DVD player, and a mini-fridge. For his trouble, the 32-year OPP veteran, who was briefly interim commissioner of the force, was sacked by the Tory government. He is considering a wrongful dismissal suit. Falconer said his client's case is bolstered by Wake's report.