The Canadian Politician (Toronto) – After many weeks of controversy and accusation of patronage, Ron Taverner has withdrawn his name from consideration for Ontario’s top police post. Taverner’s appointment by Premier Ford in November came under intense scrutiny when it was reported that the requirements for the position were altered to allow Taverner to meet the minimum threshold. The appointment appeared doom from the beginning when the suggestion of conflict of interest was made on the basis of his longstanding friendship with Ford. Soon after the appointment, the Integrity Commissioner, J. David Wake, weighed in and began an ethics investigation to determine the propriety of the appointment.
This week, the deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Brad Blair, who was also interested in the position was fired by the Ford administration after he called for a broader investigation into Taverner’s appointment alleging political interference in a highly administrative police process. The administration stated that he was relieved of his post for leaking confidential police information in his court case against the province.
In his communication with the Minister for Community Safety, Sylvia Jones, Taverner stated that it had become necessary to withdraw his name from consideration “to protect the integrity of rank and file police officers given the controversy surrounding my appointment.” He further noted,
“This decision is not an easy one for me to make. I believe the OPP requires new leadership and a change in culture at its most senior levels. The thousands of men and women who make up the front lines of the OPP deserve leadership that will put their concerns and well-being at the forefront of decision-making.”
Taverner’s withdrawal has not stopped calls for a full inquiry into his hiring and the firing of Brad Blair. The Province NDP leader, Andrea Horwath stated that despite the withdrawal, a full investigated is needed to understand why he was appointed. Taverner who is still active in the Toronto Police service as a Superintendent, has well over four decades of service.