Questions continue to swirl around Premier Doug Ford‘s chief of staff Dean French. French’s management style has been called into question by members of his own party and by the opposition.
According to a report by The Globe and Mail, French allegedly called Ontario Power Generation to have a top executive removed.
The executive, Alykhan Velshi, previously served as chief of staff to former Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Leader Patrick Brown.
On Tuesday, a report by The Toronto Star alleged French directed government staff to tell police to raid pot dispensaries on the day of cannabis legalization so images of people in handcuffs would be broadcast on the local news. Multiple sources confirmed the story’s validity to Global News.
During question period at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath raised the issue.
“The police of this province should never ever be told to make arrests to generate a photo-op for the government,” she said.
“(The premier) cannot pretend that this simply isn’t happening. Has he spoken to his chief of staff and if so what did he say!?”
Despite numerous attempts, Ford refused to directly answer questions from the opposition.
“I think the police in this province know who support them and who doesn’t support them,” he said.
Numerous requests for comment on this story were made by Global News to French and Ford’s office, but no one was available for an on-camera interview.
WATCH: I have ‘absolute confidence’ in my chief of staff, Ford says (Nov. 20)
Global News has spoken to multiple government sources, some within the Ontario PC Party caucus, who confirm French rules with what they consider to be “an iron fist.”
“He is the one who is really in charge. He controls everyone and everything — staff, cabinet, caucus, appointments. It’s his way or the highway,” a source speaking on the condition of anonymity told Global News.
“He yells at people, controls our social media, and questions our loyalty constantly.”
Interim Ontario Liberal Party Leader John Fraser said French’s alleged actions are inexcusable
“I can tell you he wouldn’t work for me. Not a minute longer. That’s not the kind of people we need here to build up the things Ontario needs,” he said.
Fraser said the liberals are thinking about asking the integrity commissioner to look into the reports about French.
The Green Party of Ontario (GPO) has sent a letter to the commissioner’s office asking for an immediate investigation. Leader Mike Schreiner said he can’t understand why Premier Ford has not questioned French about the allegations.
“He’s either grossly ignorant about what’s happening in his office, he’s potentially lying or he’s not providing the leadership you’d expect a premier to provide with staff in his own office.” he said.
In a letter sent to Schreiner and released by the GPO, the province’s integrity commissioner said he can look into French’s alleged actions but can’t make the findings public.