The interim head of the Ontario Provincial Police is the latest voice of concern over the appointment of Premier Doug Ford’s personal friend to be the next OPP commissioner.
Interim commissioner Brad Blair has asked the provincial Ombudsman to investigate the appointment of Ron Taverner, amid what he says are growing concerns about political interference.
In his letter to the Ombudsman, 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.’
The government has admitted that the job requirements were lowered during the selection process and that until then, Toronto police Superintendent Ron Taverner did not have a high enough rank to qualify for the job.
In a statement the government said it stood by the appointment and will cooperate with any investigation, although Doug Ford refused to take reporter questions at a business event.
Opposition leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a legislative committee and an RCMP investigation.
Blair’s letter includes other allegations about attempted influence by the Premier’s office, including a request for a van built to the Premier’s specifications by a supplier selected by the Premier and directed to be kept off the official financial books.
Taverner is expected to be sworn in as OPP commissioner on Monday.