OPP clears Premier over OPP recruitment

But finds recruitment process "flawed"

Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner says Premier Doug Ford did not breach conflict of interest rules during the recruitment process for a new OPP commissioner.

“I found that the Premier stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process and that he believed it to be independent.”

– J. David Wake, Ontario Integrity Commissioner

However, J. David Wake says he did find the process to be flawed and was disturbed by text messages between two high ranking people in the premier’s office that could lead to doubts about the fairness of the process.

He says anyone examining messages between the then-secretary of the cabinet Steve Orsini and Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff, would have serious doubts as to the fairness of the process. “There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement by the Secretary that Mr. French was rooting for Mr. Taverner’s success.”

Wake’s probe was launched after complaints from opposition politicians over the appointment of Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner. Taverner withdrew his name from the competition as a result of the controversy around his appointment. York Regional Police Deputy Chief Thomas Carrique was subsequently appointed to the Commissioner’s post.

Wake has recommended an “established appointment process” be put in place for appointing a commissioner, “which is independent, transparent and readily activated with predetermined criteria.”