Deputy OPP commissioner who spoke out about Taverner hiring has been fired

The Canadian Press
March 04, 2019
By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — An Ontario Provincial Police deputy commissioner who expressed concerns about a friend of the premier’s being appointed the province’s top cop has been fired.

A spokeswoman with the provincial police says Brad Blair was fired Monday morning.

“At the direction of the deputy minister of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and as approved by the public service commission, Deputy Blair was terminated this morning,” said Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne. “We weren’t provided any details as to the reason for the termination.”

She directed questions about the reason for the firing to the ministry, who did not immediately re-spond to a request for comment.

Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones addressed the firing Monday in the legislature.

“The public service commission, in consultation with the OPP, made a decision independently of the political process to terminate the employment of Mr. Blair,” she said. “I will not be comment-ing, nor should anyone else, on private HR issues.”

Blair has asked the courts to force the provincial ombudsman to investigate the hiring of Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner, a friend of Premier Doug Ford, as the new OPP commissioner.

Blair initially requested an investigation in December, amid what he called “growing concerns of political interference” in the hiring process. He said it had deeply affected the morale of rank and file officers.

Taverner’s appointment has been delayed until the integrity commissioner completes an investiga-tion.

Blair, who was also in the running for the commissioner’s job, was acting OPP commissioner at the time he originally started his legal case, but soon after was removed from that position.

He is also threatening to sue Ford, alleging that the premier damaged his reputation when Ford ac-cused him of breaking the Police Services Act by speaking out against Taverner’s hiring.

Blair’s lawyer Julian Falconer has alleged that Ford’s comments were meant to intimidate his cli-ent.

A Ford spokesman has denied that the premier’s statements were a reprisal against Blair.

Taverner, 72, initially did not meet the requirements listed for the commissioner position. The Ford government has admitted it lowered the requirements for the position to attract a wider range of candidates.

- Allison Jones and Shawn Jeffords

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2019

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