Doug Ford didn’t break rules hiring Ron Taverner, integrity commissioner says

Click to play video: 'Integrity commissioner releases report on Ron Taverner appointment' Integrity commissioner releases report on Ron Taverner appointment
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario's integrity commissioner has cleared Premier Doug Ford of conflict of interest in the appointment of Ron Taverner to the OPP. Travis Dhanraj reports – Mar 20, 2019

Ontario’s integrity commissioner says Premier Doug Ford did not break the rules that govern legislators when one of his close friends was hired as the province’s top cop last fall.

J. David Wake released his report on Wednesday — two weeks after Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner removed himself from consideration as the OPP’s next commissioner amid an outcry from critics.

READ MORE: Ontario government appoints Thomas Carrique as new OPP Commissioner

The integrity commissioner interviewed over 20 witnesses in his investigation, including former Deputy OPP Commissioner Brad Blair, Deputy Minister of Community and Correctional Services Mario Di Tommaso, Ford and Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff.

Wake’s 100-page report found that, “Premier Ford did not breach any of the sections of the Act” and “stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process, but that the process was flawed.”

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WATCH: Premier Doug Ford standing by Ron Taverner appointment (December 2018)

Click to play video: 'Premier Doug Ford standing by Ron Taverner appointment' Premier Doug Ford standing by Ron Taverner appointment
Premier Doug Ford standing by Ron Taverner appointment – Dec 18, 2018

One of those flaws Wake said is that “at present not only is there no process set out in legislation for the appointment of an OPP Commissioner, but the appointment process has been inconsistent and made up, usually with some degree of urgency, on the fly.”

Wake also wrote, “For a position of this importance and given the sensitivity of the relationship between the government and the police in general, and the OPP Commissioner in particular, there ought to be an established appointment process in place which is independent, transparent and readily activated with predetermined criteria and membership on the selection committee.”

READ MORE: Ron Taverner withdraws from consideration for OPP Commissioner

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Wake encouraged the government to establish such a process “before the next appointment of an OPP Commissioner is required.”

Ford has maintained throughout that he did nothing wrong and has accused the opposition of politicizing the hiring process.

On Wednesday, at a press conference, Ford said he and his government are “vindicated” by the report.

Ford said it’s now clear that any allegations to the contrary are baseless and “totally political.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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