TORONTO – Premier Doug Ford says he will listen to the integrity commissioner’s findings on the appointment of his friend as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, but he isn’t committing to abiding by them.
Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner was named last year to the job of the province’s top cop and critics say that as a long-time friend to the premier, the hiring raises concerns about potential political interference.
Taverner’s appointment has been delayed until after the integrity commissioner completes an investigation, but Ford has indicated it would go ahead whenever the review is finished.
The premier was asked Wednesday if he would abide by J. David Wake’s findings.
“I have a great deal of respect for him and I’ll be sitting down and listening to what he has to say,” Ford replied.
If the integrity commissioner finds a provincial politician has violated the Members’ Integrity Act, he can recommend various penalties, but the legislature – under the majority Progressive Conservatives – could reject the recommendation.
Ford said as he travels across the province, no one is concerned about Taverner’s appointment.
“The only people that talk about it is the media, no one else,” he said. “Do you know what people are concerned about? People are concerned about health care, mental health…people are looking for jobs. People aren’t worried about that.”
Taverner is a longtime Ford ally who initially did not meet the requirements listed for the commissioner position. The Ford government has admitted it lowered the requirements for the position to attract a wider range of candidates.