March 27, 2019 4:25 pm

Fired OPP deputy commissioner launches $5M defamation lawsuit against Premier Doug Ford

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. (March 20)

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Global News has learned recently ousted OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair is launching a $5-million defamation lawsuit against Premier Doug Ford.

The news comes after a public battle between the two men over the appointment of Ron Taverner to the OPP.

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Taverner, who recently withdrew his name from consideration for the position of OPP commissioner, was appointed by the government despite questions being raised about his friendship with Ford. Blair claimed the appointment was inappropriate and a clear conflict of interest.

READ MORE: Ford says new leadership needed for Ontario Provincial Police

Blair was fired after the government claimed he released confidential OPP correspondence through other court filings.

Last week the integrity commissioner cleared Ford of any conflict of interest in the appointment of Taverner.

READ MORE: Brad Blair’s lawyer says firing of former OPP officer was wrong, did not follow proper procedure

A statement of claim in the defamation lawsuit against Ford was filed in Ontario Superior Court on March 15. Julian Falconer, Blair’s lawyer, confirmed the lawsuit to Global News but declined comment further.

Ford’s office responded to the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon through a written statement.

READ MORE: Brad Blair, who questioned appointment of Ron Taverner, fired as OPP deputy commissioner

“The Premier’s concern is and always has been protecting and supporting the front line OPP officers who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our communities,” Laryssa Waler, Ford’s executive director of communications, said.

“Premier Doug Ford will be responding to Mr. Blair’s filing through his legal counsel. As the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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