Ford government scandals and cabinet minister changes

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
jerrym
Ford government scandals and cabinet minister changes

On Friday Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson resigned abruptly not only from the ministry but from the PC caucus. The Ford government claimed initially that the resignation was the result of addiction issues. However, there are now numerous media reports that it was over allegations of sexual misconduct. Ford's Executive Director of issues Management, Andrew Kimber, has also resigned over alleged sexual allegations on Friday without the Ford government mentioning what caused his resignation. This also raises questions in the public's minds about the honesty of the government as it did not reveal the  alleged reasons for the resignations.

It was allegations of sexual misconduct, not an alcohol addiction, that led to the resignation of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson, according to multiple media reports. Global News reports that the allegations were brought forward by a male staffer at Queen’s Park and Premier Doug Ford learned of them on Friday — the day Wilson resigned. A statement from Ford’s office late Friday stated that Wilson resigned from cabinet and the Tory caucus “to seek treatment for addiction issues” related to alcohol.

Wilson had been Ford’s most senior minister and was a PC MPP for 28 years. Back in July 2014, he was elected interim party leader after former leader Tim Hudak resigned. Wilson held that role until Patrick Brown took over as leader in May the following year.

A report by Global News cites multiple sources also claiming Andrew Kimber, the premier’s executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, resigned Friday over allegations of sexually inappropriate text messages sent to a female Queen’s Park staffer.

On Monday afternoon, the premier’s office released the following statement on both resignations:

“Jim Wilson is no longer a Minister of the Government, nor is he a member of the PC Caucus. He has entered a treatment facility to deal with addiction issues. 

Andrew Kimber resigned from the Premiers office.

As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on specific details of internal staffing matters.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/11/05/jim-wilson-sexual-misconduct-alle...

 

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
jerrym

In a major cabinet shuffle after just four months in office, Ford also removed Michael Tibollo from the cabinet after a controversial but short term in office. 

Most recently, media reports surfaced that Tibollo was criticized by the Ontario Securities Commission for his actions as a lawyer in the 1990s related to a $30 million stock fraud.   ...

Ford was praising Tibollo as recently as Thursday. During question period, the premier called Tibollo "the most credible minister down here. He has integrity, he has transparency and he's an absolute champion. I'll stand beside him any day, 365 days a year," said Ford. ...

Last month, Tibollo denied campaigning for a Vaughan city council candidate whose cottage and husband are under investigation by the OPP. Tibollo also came under fire for comments he made during question period in July when he told the chamber that he wore a bulletproof vest while on a police ride-along in Toronto's Jane and Finch neighbourhood, drawing criticism from all three opposition parties. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/doug-ford-shuffles-cabinet-after-...

 

jerrym

With numerous changes in cabinet after just four months in office, something rarely seen because cabinet ministers have at that point have not even come close to understanding the complex issues and structure of their ministry at a detailed level, this is almost certainly going to lead to further problems. It also raises major questions about whether the Ford cabinet functions at a basic competence level.  

In a release issued Monday morning, Ford said Progressive Conservative House Leader Todd Smith will take on the additional role of minister of economic development, job creation and trade to replace Jim Wilson, who stepped down on Friday.

John Yakabuski, who served as transportation minister, will become minister of natural resources and forestry. Jeff Yurek, who held the natural resources portfolio, will take on the transportation file.

Sylvia Jones will take over the job of community safety and correctional services minister from Michael Tibollo, who will become minister of tourism, culture and sport.

Bill Walker will join cabinet by succeeding Smith as minister of government and consumer services.

Some caucus positions are also shifting, with Lorne Coe appointed government caucus whip and Doug Downey deputy whip. Ford said all other ministerial, parliamentary assistant, and government caucus and committee roles will remain unchanged.

Critics voiced concerns about the suddenness of the shuffle, saying Ford needs to explain his reasons for making such significant changes so soon into his mandate.

“These actions make it abundantly clear that Ford is trying to paper over the problems in his hand-picked cabinet. To remove and demote a number of ministers after just a few months is troubling,” NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in a news conference. “I think it makes us wonder, you know, is this government ready to govern and are they ready to do the things that they need to do for Ontario’s families.”

Governments typically sit for at least a year — enough time to see policies develop — before switching their lineup, said Genevieve Tellier, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa. It’s also unclear why Ford made so many changes rather than simply replacing Wilson, though it suggests the premier was not satisfied with how a few ministers were handling their portfolios despite praising some of them as recently as last week, Tellier said.

“Maybe Ford was expecting more from those ministries,” she said, noting that transportation appeared to be a priority in the election campaign but has not generated any major policies since then. That may be part of the explanation and if so, then we should expect more activity in the coming months about those portfolios.”

https://nationalpost.com/news/ontario-premier-doug-ford-expected-to-anno...

 

WWWTT

I find it kind of harsh that the Ontario pc would come out and say something along the lines that one of their ministers is retiring due to addiction treatment. That may even be slander?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Evidently he checked himself into a rehab facility.  If he wished this to remain confidential then the party may have broken some confidentiality rules by divulging this, but then if the sexual impropriety story is true, he may also have asked the party to say only that.  We probably assume alcohol or drugs, but maybe he feels he's a sex addict.

I can see stepping down from a Cabinet post to deal with an addiction issue, but quitting caucus seems more than is needed in order to take a month or two medical leave of absence.

As for the abrupt turfings and shufflings, I hate to be so cliche here, but I cannot help thinking of Trump.  Names on the office doors in the West Wing are probably just written in whiteboard marker for convenience.

jerrym

Doug Ford today finally confirmed after announcing  that while  Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson has resigned over an addiction problem, he also resigned over sexual misconduct. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has publicly acknowledged for the first time that he forced former trade and economic minister Jim Wilson to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct, not only addiction issues, as his office had originally said. ...

Mr. Ford also confirmed that his office launched third-party investigations into Mr. Wilson and Andrew Kimber, one of Mr. Ford’s former top staffers who also resigned last Friday, over allegations of sexually inappropriate text messages. “In the case of Andrew Kimber, one person came forward, an investigation was immediately launched, since then, others have come forward. The investigation is ongoing,” a spokesman for the Premier said. ...

NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in a statement that protecting a victim of sexual misconduct “is the right thing to do.” But she added that it was not necessary to protect “a powerful man accused of sexual misconduct.”

“Mr. Ford absolutely could have been honest, and told Ontarians that there were serious allegations against his most senior minister, and could have done that without revealing the identity of anyone impacted. He didn’t — he chose to mislead the public to protect Mr. Wilson,” she said.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-doug-ford-admits-former...

 

jerrym

A third member of Ford's administration, John Sinclair who was Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, has been dismissed, apparently because he knew about Andrew Kimber's allegations of misconduct and did nothing about them. Once again minimal information is being given out about the dismissal as the PCs avoid disclosing the entire story. 

The departure of a senior Ford administration staffer from the PC Caucus Service Bureau on Thursday was directly connected to the resignation of the premier’s director of issues management a week prior, CTV News Toronto has learned.

A government spokesperson said Thursday that John Sinclair, Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, was no longer in his role. The spokesperson would not say whether Sinclair resigned or was fired.

Sinclair was responsible MPPs budgets, drafting bills and Human Resources. 

Sources tell CTV News Toronto that Sinclair appeared to be aware of other allegations of misconduct against Andrew Kimber, but had not disclosed those allegations to anyone before.

Kimber served as Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of issues management. He was accused of sending sexually inappropriate text messages to PC staffers.

He resigned his post last Friday.

Kimber issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the “pain” he caused others, and said “everyone has the right to live and work free from harassment.”

Sinclair’s exit is the third departure from the PC’s elected caucus and political staff in six days.

It follows Kimber’s resignation as well as Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson, who resigned from cabinet and caucus over what was first described as an addiction issue but was later revealed to be related to an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The NDP is demanding the government “come clean” about what has gone on, while Ford has committed to conducting a full third party investigation into all allegations.

 https://www.cp24.com/latest-departures-from-ford-government-are-linked-s...

 

jerrym

John Sinclair, Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, who was dismissed last week has hired a lawyer to dispute allegations against himself. 

A senior PC staffer no longer in his role says the suggestion made last week that his exit is tied to the dismissal of another senior Ford staffer last week is “categorically false” and the truth will be “revealed in time.”

Last Thursday evening, a brief statement in response to inquiries from CP24 revealed that John Sinclair, the PC Caucus Service Bureau’s executive director, left his job.

It was the third departure from the PC government in six days, followingthe resignations of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson and Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of issues management, Andrew Kimber.

Ford’s team originally said Wilson was leaving cabinet and caucus due to an addictions issue, but it was later revealed his exit was due to an allegation of sexual misconduct. ...

On Tuesday, his lawyer Scott Hutchinson said “the insinuation that has been in the media about John – that he was in some way deficient in his handling of the recent dismissal of Andrew Kimber, Executive Director of Issues Management and Legislative Affairs from the Office of the Premier of Ontario – is categorically false.”

“As with all sensitive staffing matters, John Sinclair acted with efficiency and professionalism.”

https://www.cp24.com/news/departed-pc-staffer-retains-lawyer-denies-alle...

jerrym

The NDP and Greens are calling for an investigation of into a Ford senior staffer, Dean French, interfering in the firing of Alykhan Velshi at a Crown Corporation, Ontario Power Generation. Sources say French requested Velshi, who had worked for the previous PC leader, Patrick Brown, be fired on his first day on the job. Many view this as a Ford vendatta against those associated with Patrick Brown.

 

Ontario’s opposition parties are calling for an investigation into allegations that a senior aide to Premier Doug Ford interfered in staffing matters at one of the province’s Crown corporations.

A Globe and Mail report published Tuesday alleged that Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff, personally asked the Ontario Power Generation to fire Alykhan Velshi, who used to hold a key role in the office of Ford’s predecessor – former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said Velshi was fired the day he started working for the OPG after French asked the head of the company’s board for his removal, but his termination has yet to formally take effect. ...

Velshi, who has deep roots in the Conservative party – he previously served in the office of former prime minister Stephen Harper – referred all questions to the OPG.

The government refused to comment on the allegations against Ford’s aide, and French did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

OPG CEO Jeffrey Lyash said that Velshi still works for the company and that he doesn’t publicly discuss personnel matters. Lyash added that he has never spoken with French. ...

“I’ve read what I’ve read in the paper but I personally don’t have knowledge of that,” he said. “Personnel decisions are mine as the CEO of the company, for Mr. Velshi and for every other employee, and I try to make them in a balanced way and confidentially.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner says Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, or potentially another agency, should look into the matter.

“If it’s proven then I think (French) should resign because it’s an inappropriate over-reach of power,” he said.

NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said the move looks as if Ford’s office is settling a political grudge.

“The premier is taking out his political revenge or vendettas…on these individuals and they’re receiving these large severance packages which are coming from Ontario taxpayers,” she said.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4658912/green-party-opg-executive-firing/

 

 

jerrym

Ford appears to be pursuing a vendetta against a fellow member of the Progressive Conservatives in the reuqested firing of Alykhan Velshi on his first day on the job, as described in the previous post, because he was an ally of previous PC leader, Patrick Brown. Unfortunately, its the taxpayer who ends up paying the $500,000 bill for this. 

Practising petty, vindictive politics is bad enough. Doing so when it will cost taxpayers as much as $500,000 when you’re purporting to be a frugal, cost-cutting government is the height of hypocrisy. 

Doug Ford’s government has put itself in that sorry position by ordering the firing of a top executive of Ontario Power Generation, Alykhan Velshi. Velshi just happens to have served as chief of staff to the Progressive Conservative party’s previous leader, Patrick Brown, and this looks very much like part of a settling of accounts between the Ford and Brown camps.

Pursuing a vendetta against enemies, real or perceived, inside his own party isn’t a good look for Ford. It’s especially bad when, as the Star’s Robert Benzie reports, ousting Velshi from his position as OPG’s senior vice-president of corporate affairs and community relations may cost the government up to $500,000 in severance payments. ...

But what’s a measly half-million when the latest provincial budget shows spending running at $158.5 billion? Actually, it adds up. For example, it’s exactly the amount of money that a charity called Pro Bono Ontario is seeking from the province to continue offering free legal aid to some 18,000 people. Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney has told the organization to look elsewhere for the money. Times, after all, are tough and the government has to tighten its belt.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/11/13/political-score-se...

Mobo2000

And the expected unfolding disaster unfolds.   If progressive action doesn't bring them down, perhaps their incompetance and infighting will do it for us.

jerrym

Patrick Brown has alleged that Finance Minister and former interim PC leader Vic Fedeli has engaged in sexual misconduct, causing the NDP to call for his resignagtion from cabinet while the allegation is investigated. 

There has been swift reaction to former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown's new tell-all memoir, including an opposition call for an investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct against Vic Fedeli, and the removal of the finance minister from cabinet until that investigation is finished. Brown made the allegation in the book, entitled Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown.

Brown writes that in December 2017 — not long before he was ousted as leader of the party —he received a handwritten letter on his desk from a female staffer accusing Fedeli of inappropriate behaviour. CBC News has not seen the letter.

"If a woman has made sexual misconduct allegations against Vic Fedeli, I assume that Doug Ford will be immediately ordering a fully independent investigation, and will be removing Mr. Fedeli from cabinet while that investigation takes place," NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said in a written statement on Wednesday. "If there is any truth to allegations that the Conservative government is protecting Mr. Fedeli by buying the silence of his victim, Ford needs to come clean with the people of Ontario. Obviously, protecting a powerful man who has committed any sort of misconduct is wrong."

Premier Doug Ford has responded to the allegation on Twitter, calling it a "disgusting smear campaign," and saying he is standing by his finance minister. "Minister @VictorFedeli is one of the most honourable, ethical, and decent individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with," Ford tweeted. "I stand behind him completely from this disgusting smear campaign. He has my full support."

Ford also said he was standing behind Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, whom Brown also mentions in his book. "I stand behind @MacLeodLisa 100%. She is an absolute champion as a Minister and as a mental health advocate," the premier said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/patrick-brown-memoir-ndp-calls-fo...

 

jerrym

Patrick Brown said on Power and Politics that he was overthrown by "climate change dinosaurs" who did not like his trying to bring PC policies on this issue into the 21st century.

He also attacked Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod for always "being angry" and said she was hated by the PC caucus.

A  new tell-all book from former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown claims local MPP Lisa MacLeod was not a team player and worked to push him out the door when allegations of sexual misconduct broke earlier this year. 

The book, entitled Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown, traces his career in politics and the sexual misconduct allegations that forced him from office in January 2018.

In it, Brown claims MacLeod had long hated him, because he had won her riding during the party's leadership race. He charges that she had a poor attendance record at caucus and was disliked by political organizers, fellow members of caucus and her staff.

"When I think about Lisa MacLeod, I think about a person who is always angry. She was just angry with everything, with everyone and with her situation in life," he writes.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/patrick-brown-book-lisa-macleod-1....

 

jerrym

Another scandal is brewing over the appointment of the new OPP commissioner, Toronto Police superintendent Ron Taverner, a friend of Doug Ford, who initially did not meet the posted job qualifications for OPP commissioner before they were changed two days after they were released. The article also discusses concerns about Ford government hirings at Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation.

When the top job with the Ontario Provincial Police was posted in October, Ron Taverner couldn’t apply, because his rank was too low. Two days later, the job requirements were changed — paving the way for the Ford family friend to apply. He got the job. ...

The first job description was posted to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police website in October and — according to a search of the document’s web history — was last modified on Oct. 22. That posting required all applicants to hold, at minimum, the rank of deputy chief or assistant commissioner. The candidate should have a “track record and demonstrated ability to provide executive leadership in a complex policing organization at the rank of Deputy Police Chief or higher, or Assistant Commissioner or higher in a major police service,” read the posting. Taverner, a superintendent with the Toronto Police Service, sits two ranks below that threshold. ...

“The fix was in from Day 1,” former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis told CP24 on Thursday. “The decision’s the premier’s,” Lewis said. “There’s old relationships there; we all know it, and I think it was a travesty that this occurred. And I don’t want to show any disrespect to Ron Taverner. He got the job, good for him. I don’t think it’s good for the OPP, and I don’t think it was a good decision on the part of government whatsoever.” ...

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told reporters early on Monday she thinks Lewis’s concerns are legitimate. “Come clean and outline — particularly and specifically — what the process was,” Horwath said. “Let’s figure out why the process left us with a candidate that leaves so many people scratching their heads.” ...

The promotion means Taverner will go from being responsible for more than 700 uniformed officers and civilian staff to approximately 8,000 uniformed officers and civilian employees. ...

In spite of Ford and Taverner’s personal relationship, Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones said she can “absolutely” guarantee there will be a separation between the premier’s office and the commissioner.

However, Horwath told reporters she’s skeptical any separation will be maintained, because Ford’s office has previously tried to direct police operations, she said. In November, the Toronto Star reported that Ford’s chief of staff asked senior officials to ask police to raid illegal dispensaries on the day cannabis was legalized. “We’ve already seen, as you know, a government that doesn’t understand that that’s not supposed to happen,” Horwath said.

The Ford government is already facing questions over its involvement in appointments in the electricity sector. Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, was accused of interfering with hiring at Ontario Power Generation last month. He reportedly asked the provincial Crown corporation to fire Alykhan Velshi, who held a key post in the office of former PC leader Patrick Brown, according to reporting by the Globe and Mail. And last week, the Globe reported that the premier’s office is in a standoff with Hydro One over the selection of its next CEO.

https://ipolitics.ca/2018/12/04/qualifications-lowered-for-opp-commissio...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Hmmm. What an upgrade. Oh, but Liberal/Tory same old story. But Wynne was there for 15 years. So let's vote in an openly corrupt even-before- election unqualified government. Same thing happened in Quebec.  Liberez nous aux libéraux. Yeah. Now look what we're stuck with. Bravo. Take a bow.

jerrym

More problems for the Ford government over the hiring of Ron Taverner as Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner.

Opposition politicians pounced on a call from Ontario’s interim top cop for an independent investigation into the executive hiring process at the provincial force on Wednesday, as Premier Doug Ford ducked questions over his role in the appointment of a family friend as new commissioner.

The Ford government condemned interim OPP Commissioner Brad Blair for formally complaining to the Ontario ombudsman about the hiring of Ron Taverner — a 73-year-old Toronto Police superintendent and close family friend to the Ford family — to helm the force.

Opposition politicians, however, are urging Taverner, who will be sworn in Monday as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner to temporarily stand down.

Blair's letter was submitted to the ombudsman's office on Tuesday requesting an independent investigation into the executive hiring process at the force. The next morning, Ford appeared at the Toronto Global Forum at a downtown hotel, where he gave a speech about his government’s efforts to cut red tape. The premier entered through a side door and exited through a back route, avoiding reporters.

At Queen’s Park, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford’s actions that morning suggested he was guilty.

“When you're the premier and you're running and hiding from the media it means you've got something to hide,” she told reporters.

Horwath, along with other opposition members, urged the government to delay the appointment process set to take place on Dec. 17, until a full investigation is conducted into Ford’s involvement in the matter to “try and get some sense of assurance for the public that their OPP commissioner is not in any way under a cloud of suspicion…because of the relationship with the premier.”

In a letter to the premier, Horwath urged Ford to create an emergency special committee “with equal representation from government and opposition members, to conduct a full review of the appointment process that led to Taverner’s selection.” The committee, Horwath added, should have “full power to call witnesses and subpoena any relevant documents.”

Horwath also urged the Ontario ombudsman to conduct his own investigation into Taverner’s appointment — echoing Brad Blair’s request to him. “Your investigation will be essential to giving the public confidence in the selection,” Horwath wrote in a letter to the ombudsman on Wednesday.

The NDP leader said she's concerned that Doug Ford himself selected Taverner, citing his decision not to recuse himself from signing the order-in-council that officially selected Taverner and for lowering the required qualifications to allow Taverner to be an eligible candidate.

Ford’s actions in his first six months in office have shown an "extremely disturbing” pattern, Horwath said, of “a government that won’t accept limitations to its power and could very reasonably be perceived as influencing policing operations at the OPP.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/12/12/news/opposition-pounces-onta...

 

 

 

jerrym

Another scandal is brewing over Ford's attempt to have the Ontario Provincial Police, for which he has just hired an old friend to be the new commissioner, buy him a camper vehicle "off the books". 

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the RCMP to investigate an allegation that Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office asked the provincial police force to buy him a specialized "camper-type vehicle." 

The alleged request is detailed in a Dec. 11 letter sent by Brad Blair, interim commissioner of Ontario Provincial Police, to ombudsman Paul Dubé. In the letter, Blair alleges Dean French, Ford's chief of staff, wanted the OPP to buy the vehicle, have it modified to specifications set by the premier's office and keep the costs off the provincial books.

Horwath, who leads Ontario's Official Opposition, told reporters on Wednesday at Queen's Park that she agrees with Blair that hiding the costs of a camper vehicle would be a violation of the province's financial policies.

"It's a bad episode of 'Pimp My Ride,' where the premier actually asks the OPP, or one of his operatives, Dean French, whoever it was, to put together a camper-style vehicle that is pimped out with all the premier's specifications, and that the supplier of said vehicle is somebody that the premier is going to choose," she said.  "And on top of that, keep it away from the public, don't let anybody know what the costs are going to be, keep it off the books. Are you kidding me? People deserve so much better than this from their new government."

At the news conference, Horwath demanded that the government create a new committee to look into what role Ford played in the appointment of the next provincial police commissioner, Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner — a close friend of the Ford family.

"The independence of police forces is fundamental to the health of our democracy," she said. "Mr. Taverner's appointment cannot go ahead under this cloud of suspicion." Horwath said police forces must be free of real or perceived political influences. "That is why I'm calling for the creation of a select committee of the legislature, a committee with equal representation from government and non-government MPPs and the full power to call witnesses and subpoena any relevant documents," she said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ndp-calls-for-investigation-into-...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I hope that at some point in the investigation into the "camper", the Premier's office is asked exactly what they feel they need a special police camper for in the first place.

Were the special modifications to make it better for camping?  More room to stuff sleeping bags and suchlike?

cco

It was for cooking meth. Duh.

WWWTT

Good for Andrea for keeping on top of this train wreck Doug Ford!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It was for cooking meth. Duh.

My personal guess:  some sort of "mobile command centre" for something.  Something the Premier and his office don't actually need to be involved in.

I also hope someone presses Ford to tell Ontario whether he wanted this FordMobile to be off the books because it's:

a) expensive

b) unnecessary

c) inappropriate

d) redundant

e) all of the above

jerrym

Interim OPP commissioner Brad Blair believes the Ford government had the fix in for a hostile takeover of the police force that is the organization that polices provincial politicians. 

Ron Taverner, a personal pal of the premier, didn’t meet the original qualifications for the job — until a hand-picked hiring committee downgraded the job qualifications, two days after the competition opened. Unless the public can make the premier understand that he has crossed a line, Taverner will take over as OPP chief Monday. ...

Consider the devastating allegations in the OPP commissioner’s detailed submission — on official letterhead — to the independent Ombudsman’s Office this week seeking a formal investigation: The hiring process “remains enveloped in questions of political interference,” Blair wrote. “To have this new command assumed without addressing this matter will cause dysfunction in the service.”

His appeal followed a public protest from a previous OPP chief, Chris Lewis, over the rigged hiring process that has discredited a police force that requires public legitimacy to do its job: “The fix was in,” Lewis complained publicly, referring to the Ford-Taverner tag team. “There’s old relationships there, we all know it, and I think it was a travesty that this occurred.” ...

Detailed allegations that the premier’s office conspired to flout procurement rules and political norms are a devastating indictment of Ford’s brief time in power. According to Blair, Ford bulldozed the OPP command to get the bodyguards he wanted, demanding a meeting with then-commissioner Vince Hawkes, and letting it be known that if he did not acquiesce, “perhaps a new commissioner would.” Ford’s office also asked the OPP to procure a “large camper type vehicle and have it modified to the specifications the premier’s office would provide us,” adding that it be “kept off the books ... hidden from the public record.” 

This is a scandal unlike any other, for it is almost as much a question of competence as corruption.  This isn’t just the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, it is the group that couldn’t keep its story straight. ...

Perhaps Ford has correctly calculated that the damage can be contained, that he can ride out this storm as he has so many others in his past, that he can have the last laugh. 

Maybe he will get away with it. ... And Ontarians will grow accustomed to their chief executive interfering in law enforcement at the very top, just like in America.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2018/12/12/how-doug-f...

jerrym

Interim OPP Commissioner Brad Blair has asked an Ontario court to order the Ontario Ombudsman, Paul Dubé, to investigate the selection of Ron Taverner as the new OPP Commissioner. 

"This is a serious matter as the independence of the OPP — a body that can be called in to investigate provincial politicians — must be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the citizenry." Blair sought Ontario ombudsman Paul Dubé's review of the hiring process for the position of the OPP commissioner on Tuesday and said Dubé twice refused his request.  ...

Blair now wants Divisional Court to determine if the ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate the hiring.

"We don't agree on the views the ombudsman takes of his role," said Julian Falconer, Blair's lawyer, adding Dubé's office is the appropriate place to conduct the probe. "If not there, where? How does this issue, which obviously is troubling a great many Ontarians, get resolved?" Falconer said the ombudsman won't investigate because he believes the matter is out of his jurisdiction since the hiring was ultimately a decision made by cabinet. Falconer said Blair wants the watchdog to probe the hiring process conducted by a three-person committee tasked with selecting the new commissioner. ...

On Wednesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath​ demanded that the government create a new committee to look into what role Ford played in Taverner's appointment. "The independence of police forces is fundamental to the health of our democracy," she said. "Mr. Taverner's appointment cannot go ahead under this cloud of suspicion." Horwath said police forces must be free of real or perceived political influences. ...

"That is why I'm calling for the creation of a select committee of the legislature, a committee with equal representation from government and non-government MPPs and the full power to call witnesses and subpoena any relevant documents," she said. Horwath appealed to Taverner directly, asking him to delay assuming control of the OPP and "do the right thing." He is expected to assume his post on Dec. 17. She also backed Blair's call for a review of Taverner's appointment by the ombudsman's office and called on the province's integrity commissioner to carry out his own investigation into the circumstances of the appointment in light of allegations of political interference. She made the comments in a press conference in which she called on the RCMP to investigate an allegation that Ford's office asked the provincial police force to buy him a specialized "camper-type vehicle." ...

Taverner, a longtime Ford ally who initially did not meet the requirements listed for the commissioner position, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The 72-year-old is set to take on his new role on Monday. ...

Earlier this week, Blair said in a letter to Dubé that the original job posting required candidates to have a rank of deputy police chief or higher, or assistant commissioner or higher, in a major police service — a threshold Taverner did not meet. Of the 27 candidates, Blair — who was an applicant himself — contended only four did not meet the original threshold requirements.

Falconer said Blair's push for an investigation is aimed at clearing the cloud of suspicion around the hiring process — and in turn the provincial police service itself. The acting commissioner is not doing this for personal gain, he said. "This is a significant personal sacrifice to him and his career," Falconer said. "This is not a great career boost for him. This is a tremendous amount of pressure, a true feeling of peril for him."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/blair-opp-ombudsman-taverner-1.49...

 

 

jerrym

Interim OPP Commissioner Brad Blair sent a letter to the Ontario's ombudsman, Paul Dubé, urging that Dubé investigate the hiring process that resulted in Ron Taverner being selected as the new OPP Commissioner. 

Here are ten of the most compelling arguments and insinuations contained in the letter:

  1. That Blair was viewed as a "front runner candidate" for the job, based on his qualifications and experience.
  2. That key requirements for the job were modified two days after it was posted, removing the need for a candidate to hold a certain level of rank in a major police service. Taverner would not have met the initial requirements. This revelation was originally reported by iPolitics.
  3. That Sal Badali, a partner at headhunting firm Odgers Berdtson, told Blair "on numerous occasions that he had no influence on either the process or the outcome of the interviews." Badali's fellow panel members were a deputy minister and the deputy attorney general.
  4. That the hiring panel members "changed at the last minute." Doug Ford's chief of staff Dean French was due to take part in Blair's second round interview but Blair saw him leave the building. Ten minutes before Blair's interview was due to start, he was told that French would not attend.
  5. That Badali had told Blair that a hiring decision would be made following one of two scheduled cabinet meetings, but that it was in fact made before either meeting took place. In addition, Taverner was seen leaving the premier's office on the day the decision was made. 
  6. That French (Ford's chief of staff) had requested the OPP purchase a large vehicle to be modified to Ford's specifications, and asked for a sole source provider's costs to be kept off the books during the command of his predecessor, Commissioner Vince Hawkes, who retired in November.
  7. That Blair met with Taverner at a Swiss Chalet after Taverner had been named to the job and that Taverner told him that he had run into a reporter after his second-round interview, and that the reporter accused him of leaving Ford's office. He said Taverner told him he asked the reporter to "hold off on any story in exchange for providing this reporter with a first interview in the near future," suggesting that Taverner knew he would be named to the job.
  8. That Premier Ford had made requests for specific officers to serve on his security detail so that he "would feel comfortable" — disrupting the chain of command within the OPP and a dedicated unit responsible for the security of the premier and the lieutenant-governor.
  9. That Premier Ford told the previous commissioner, J.V.N. "Vince" Hawkes that if the top cop would not address Ford's security requests, that perhaps a new commissioner would.
  10. That the "perception of political interference in the hiring process has deeply affected the morale of the rank and file" at the OPP, Blair wrote. "OPP officers have shared with me their concerns that the process was unfair and their feeling that the independence of the OPP is now called into question." They believe that this will affect public confidence in the police, which runs counter to principles of a democratic society as well as running counter to fully effective policing, Blair added.

Blair, who had also applied for the job, said he has accepted he will not remain commissioner and that his request has "nothing to do" with wanting to stay in the job.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/12/12/news/ten-things-you-need-kno...

 

jerrym

On Friday, Ron Taverner, who was selected to be the next OPP commissioner despite widespread concern about his freindship with Premier Ford and the qualifications of the job being changed after originally being released enabling him to apply for the job, resigned from his job as a Toronto police commissioner. On Saturday, he rescinded this resignation as complaints increased. Taverner was previously expected to be sworn in as OPP commissioner today.

A reporter on CBC's Power and Politics said that on a CBC Radio call-in show today, police officer after police officer after police officer phoned in saying they were deeply concerned about the appointment of Taverner because being a superintendent does not mean he has the managerial skills to be OPP commissioner. 

Ron Taverner, who's tapped to be the next chief of Ontario Provincial Police, has rescinded his resignation papers as a superintendent with Toronto police. It's not yet clear if Taverner's decision will affect his status as the incoming OPP commissioner. Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Syliva Jones issued a statement saying the government maintains its "full confidence" in the longtime Toronto cop. ...

Taverner was controversially appointed by Ontario's Progressive Conservative government to become the next chief of the OPP in late November. Taverner is a 51-year veteran of Toronto police who leads the force's Etobicoke divisions.

Former acting OPP commissioner Brad Blair has asked the courts to order Ontario ombudsman Paul Dube to investigate Taverner's hiring, after the ombudsman declined his request to carry out the probe.

The Ontario NDP and the citizen advocacy group Democracy Watch have also called for investigations into the appointment.

Taverner had previously asked to have his appointment as provincial police commissioner postponed after Blair's call for an investigation. He was originally scheduled to be sworn in today. ...

"The appointments for commissioner of the OPP have always been, as far as I can remember, clean as a whistle," said Ian Scott, a former director of the Special Investigations Unit, Ontario's police watchdog. There's definitely an odour around this one. It smacks and stinks, frankly, of cronyism," he told CBC Toronto.

Scott questioned the decision to lower the job qualifications in the midst of the hiring process, saying that Taverner does not appear to have the experience necessary for the job.

Given the controversy now swirling around the appointment, Scott said a Taverner-led OPP would be handcuffed when it comes to investigating political wrongdoing, which typically falls under OPP jurisdiction. Investigations against the Ontario Liberals, for example, would be seen as vindictive, while investigations into Ford's PCs would be seen as a coverup, he said. "For the sake of policing in the province, he ought to decline [the job]," Scott added.

Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath, who has repeatedly criticized Taverner's appointment amid concerns about political interference, told reporters at Queen's Park she's "relieved" by Taverner's decision. Horwath explained that a "flood of concern has been forming across Ontario" about Taverner's controversial appointment. She also renewed calls for a non-partisan emergency select committee to conduct its own investigation into the matter.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/taverner-rescinds-resignation-opp...

 

    jerrym

    Premier Ford is doubling down on Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner even though Taverner's selection is being now reviewed by the Integrity commissioner. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a public inquiry into the selection. 

    Ontario's integrity commissioner confirmed Tuesday he is conducting an inquiry into the appointment of Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner as the next provincial police commissioner following a request by an NDP member about Premier Doug Ford. ...

    Ford, speaking to reporters on Tuesday after visiting the new Amazon office in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, defended the Taverner appointment and said it will happen despite allegations of political interference. "Ron Taverner is a great guy .... this guy has given his life to policing. Let the review take place. And I can tell you one thing, once the review gets done, he's going to be the best commissioner the OPP has ever seen," Ford said. "We look forward to having Ron Taverner as the commissioner of the OPP." ...

    Taverner, a family friend of Ford, was set to start his new job on Monday, but he announced over the weekend that he would wait until the integrity commissioner completed his investigation. On Monday, the 72-year-old returned to his previous job as superintendent of three Toronto police divisions. ...

    Meanwhile, Ontario's Official Opposition is calling for a public inquiry into allegations of political interference in the appointment. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the integrity commissioner's investigation into the hiring can't only happen behind closed doors. Horwath said two rarely used subsections of the Public Inquiries Act allow the integrity commissioner to launch a public inquiry — a power usually reserved for the premier and his cabinet.

    "An investigation of this importance — an investigation that's critical to continued public confidence in the OPP — has to be an open, transparent process," Horwath said in a news release on Tuesday. She said a full public inquiry would have "the power to summon witnesses, request documents, and ensure witnesses are protected from self-incrimination and discipline or retribution from their employer. A public inquiry can guarantee those things."

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ont-opp-inquiry-1.4950680

     

    jerrym

    The pressure is growing on the Ford Conservative government to drop Ron Taverner's nomination for OPP commissioner. 

    Mr. Ford has refused to abandon the idea that Supt. Taverner will be sworn in as the OPP’s chief. The appointment is on hold, apparently at Supt. Taverner’s request, until the integrity commissioner reports. But once that happens, the Premier said on Tuesday, “we look forward to having Ron Taverner as the commissioner of the OPP.”

    The Premier is vociferously defending the choice of a 72-year-old, underqualified crony – while simultaneously insisting that it wasn’t his choice. He refuses to acknowledge the mounting evidence that something was terribly wrong with the hiring process, and with his office’s relationship with the OPP. And he refuses to recognize that someone so close to the head of government cannot be the province’s head police officer.

    Instead, Mr. Ford has smeared his critics. On Tuesday, he claimed that the former acting head of the OPP, Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, was a law-breaker, and that by writing a whistleblowing letter alleging unethical and possibly illegal behaviour in the Premier’s dealings with the OPP, he had broken the Police Service Act. The Premier told journalists that there were “endless” inaccuracies in the letter, and that “I could give you a list of all the Police Act that was broken throughout that whole letter.”

    The Premier then declined to provide such a list, because “none of you want to report on that.”

    The people of Ontario deserve answers, not personal attacks on those raising questions.

    Why were the job qualifications for OPP chief lowered two days after being posted, just enough to make room for Supt. Taverner? Was the Premier’s chief of staff, Dean French, involved in that decision? Was the Premier? Who was on the hiring panel? Who made the hiring decision? And what about Deputy Commissioner Blair’s allegation that the Premier’s chief of staff asked the OPP to procure a “camper-type vehicle” for the Premier, without putting the contract out to tender, and keeping the spending off the books and hidden from the public? If true, that may be a crime. Is it true?

    It’s clear the Ford government will only answer questions asked by those it does not have the power to bully, silence or ignore.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-globe-editori...

     

    jerrym

    As the questions mount over the hiring of Ron Taverner as OPP Commissioner, Ford has found a solution: skip Question Period.

    Facing more heat over the hiring of his longtime friend Ron Taverner to head the OPP, Premier Doug Ford skipped question period in the legislature for the third straight day Thursday as opposition parties continued to question the controversial appointment.

    The premier’s staff and at least two cabinet ministers said his week was booked solid with meetings and events because the legislature was supposed to be on a break, but that didn’t wash with rivals seeking answers.

    https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2018/12/20/premier-doug-ford...

     

    Debater

    Vic Fedeli serves libel notice on Patrick Brown over book allegations

    Ontario finance minister demands former PC leader retract claims of sexual misconduct complaint

    Jan 09, 2019

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/vic-fedeli-patrick-brown-book-libel-notice-of-intent-1.4971664

    WWWTT

    Yep, Brampton is a magnet for bad politicians!