After months of controversy regarding what many termed as a patronage appointment of Ron Taverner as Ontario top police boss, the Integrity Commissioner has determined that Premier Doug Ford did not interfere in the selection process. The appointment of Taverner, a long-time friend of the premier, prompted the opposition NDP to ask for an investigation into how he was appointed and why the requirements were changed presumably to enable him to qualify. But the Integrity Commissioner stated in a report that was send to the press on Wednesday, “I found that the Premier stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process and that he believed it to be independent,” said the commissioner, J. David Wake.
While the premier was cleared of any interference in the process, the commissioner did allude to the fact that the appointment process was not straightforward citing “some troubling aspects of the recruitment process.” The commissioner noted, “What I found most disconcerting in all the evidence were the text messages from the Secretary to Mr. French as Mr. Taverner’s progress throughout the process. There seemed to be a tacit acknowledgement by the Secretary that Mr. French was rooting for Mr. Taverner’s success.” The commissioner by his report made it known that the appointment process was seriously flawed and unfair, a process that would not inspire confidence in anyone.
Amid widening controversy and calls for investigation, Taverner withdrew his name from consideration and a new boss, Thomas Carrique, was appointed last week from York Regional Police.