Appointment of Ron Taverner to OPP Commissioner delayed

NDP ‘relieved’ Ron Taverner will not be sworn in to take command of the Ontario Provincial Police
WATCH: NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said Saturday that they are relieved that Ron Taverner won't take command of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) on Monday.

Ron Taverner’s appointment to OPP Commissioner is being delayed until Ontario’s integrity commissioner completes an investigation into whether or not there was political interference in his appointment, Global News has learned.

According to Premier Doug Ford’s office, Taverner was the one who requested that the appointment be delayed.

READ MORE: Acting OPP commissioner asks court to force investigation into hiring of Ron Taverner

“Out of the greatest of respect for the brave men and women of the Ontario Provincial Police, I am requesting my appointment as Commissioner be postponed until as such time the integrity commissioner has completed his review,” Taverner said in a message to Sylvia Jones, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Taverner was set to be sworn in Monday.

This past week has seen numerous calls for investigation into Taverner’s appointment to OPP commissioner, given his history as a Ford family friend.

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READ MORE: Doug Ford’s friend was named Ontario’s new OPP chief. Why that’s now causing political uproar

Following calls from NDP MPP Kevin Yarde and Liberal Leader John Fraser in the Ontario legislature, the integrity commissioner launched an investigation.

“While the government has full confidence in Mr. Taverner, we will respect his request for a delay in his appointment, until such time as the integrity commissioner has conducted a review of the selection process,” Jones said in a statement.

During the week, interim OPP commissioner Brad Blair, who had been in the running for the position for permanent commissioner, called on the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate the appointment as well.

That request was denied by the ombudsman and Blair has since gone to the courts to request that a judge force the ombudsman to investigate.

READ MORE: Interim OPP commissioner calls for review of Ron Taverner appointment

In the meantime, the premier’s office also announced Saturday that Blair has been removed from the position as interim commissioner.

The OPP Deputy Commissioner for Field Operations, Gary Couture, has been appointed the interim OPP commissioner while the review of Taverner’s appointment is conducted.

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“I will be fully supportive in assisting his transition,” Blair said in a statement.

“I understand the preference for an alternative interim commissioner and will co-operate in every respect.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath responded to the news of the delay in Taverner’s appointment by expressing more concern over potential political interference.

WATCH: Government refutes OPP acting chief’s allegations of possible political interference in Taverner appointment

Government refutes OPP acting chief’s allegations of possible political interference in Taverner appointment
Government refutes OPP acting chief’s allegations of possible political interference in Taverner appointment

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Horwath said in a news release.

“Taverner, a Ford insider, can’t be sworn in unless an integrity commissioner investigation is concluded, an emergency select committee of the legislature has an opportunity to look into political interference from the premier, and any investigations from RCMP or other police forces are concluded.”

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Taverner, who has been with the Toronto Police Service for over 50 years, submitted his resignation from the force Friday ahead of the expected appointment Monday.

It is unclear if his resignation has taken effect, or if it will be delayed as a result of this news.

Toronto police spokesperson Meghan Gray told Global News Saturday that she was unsure if his resignation had been rescinded.