GLOBE AND MAIL ISSUES THIRD EDITORIAL ON SUPERINTENDENT TAVERNER CONTROVERSY
The Globe and Mail has issued its third editorial concerning the controversy about Toronto Police Service Superintendent Ron Taverner’s appointment as the next Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”).
The editorial begins with a potential script for Premier Doug Ford, one where the Premier would recognize the gravity of allowing “the people of Ontario to think, for even one second, that my government, the Government for the People, would do anything to undermine the independence of the Ontario Provincial Police.”
Instead, the Globe notes that “The Premier is vociferously defending the choice of a 72-year-old, underqualified crony – while simultaneously insisting that it wasn’t his choice. He refuses to acknowledge the mounting evidence that something was terribly wrong with the hiring process, and with his office’s relationship with the OPP. And he refuses to recognize that someone so close to the head of government cannot be the province’s head police officer.”
The piece concludes with a repetition of the Globe’s editorial stance that nothing short of an “independent inquiry, led by an independent party like a retired judge, with the power to subpoena witnesses….will do.”
Today, Alok Mukherjee, the former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, weighed in, providing a detailed overview of the Taverner controversy and raising several key questions. He concludes, “There is a smell permeating the manner in which Supt. Taverner was chosen to be the next head of one of the country’s most important police forces. A narrow, limited review by the Integrity Commissioner will not remove it. A full inquiry will.”
PREMIER DOUG FORD SKIPS QUESTION PERIOD FOR THREE DAYS IN A ROW OVER SUPERINTENDENT TAVERNER CONTROVERSY
This week, the Ontario legislature was called back for an emergency session. Premier Doug Ford skipped question period on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, leaving Cabinet Minister Sylvia Jones and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney to answer questions about Toronto Police Service Superintendent Ron Taverner’s appointment as the next Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”).
The Official Opposition filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain Premier Ford’s calendar and found out that Premier Ford had a private dinner with Superintendent Taverner and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders on July 30, 2018. This meeting occurred five days after Premier Ford sat down with former OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, who retired in early September, and four months prior to Superintendent Taverner’s appointment as the next OPP Commissioner.
The Integrity Commissioner is investigating whether Premier Ford used his office for personal gain and/or the personal gain of Superintendent Taverner; however, members of Premier Ford’s cabinet are sending conflicting signals as to whether the government will support the Integrity Commissioner’s forthcoming recommendations. The Globe and Mail reports Attorney General Mulroney as stating, “We will of course abide by the recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner, we will respect the outcome of his investigation.”
On the other hand, Minister Jones would not commit to following the recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner. Further, Premier Ford made public remarks that Superintendent Taverner will become the head of the OPP after the Integrity Commissioner concludes his investigation, presupposing its outcome. Falconers LLP represents Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair in his request to have the hiring process of the next OPP Commissioner reviewed by the Ombudsman of Ontario, as a result of perceived political interference in the administration of the OPP.
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