Integrity Commissioner’s ruling on OPP Commissioner appointment contains clear evidence Ford’s Chief of Staff, deputy minister and possibly others gave preferential treatment to Ron Taverner and Mario di Tomasso
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released the letter it has sent to Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé calling on him to investigate Premier Ford’s Chief of Staff Dean French (and possibly other Ford staff) and former deputy minister Steve Orsini providing preferential treatment to Ford’s friend Ron Taverner, and also to Mario Di Tomasso and Chris Froggatt, which would violate the provincial government ethics law.
Democracy Watch sent a similar letter to Ontario Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake on March 25th but he has refused to confirm even receiving that letter even though Democracy Watch has contacted him multiple times. Democracy Watch also sent that letter to Ontario Conflict of Interest Commissioner Sydney Linden but he refused to issue a public ruling.
In its letter to Ombudsman Dubé, Democracy Watch also requested an investigation of Premier Ford’s staff intervening in the purchase by the OPP of a van for the Premier’s travel, in violation of government spending rules.
Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake’s ruling on March 20th concerning the OPP Commissioner appointment process contains clear evidence that Dean French, and former Secretary of the Cabinet Steve Orsini, and likely others, provided preferential treatment to Mr. Taverner with regard to the offer Premier Ford made to Taverner of an executive job with the government’s Ontario Cannabis store, and also throughout the OPP Commissioner appointment process that resulted in Premier Ford’s attempted appointment of his friend Mr. Taverner.
There is also evidence in Commissioner Wake’s ruling that Mr. French and Mr. Orsini provided preferential treatment to Mario Di Tomasso by considering only him for the position of Deputy Minister of Community Safety, which helped ensure Mr. Taverner’s appointment as OPP Commissioner given Mr. Di Tomasso was Mr. Taverner’s former boss at the Toronto Police Service.
There is also evidence in Commissioner Wake’s ruling that Mr. French provided preferential treatment to Chris Froggatt in connecting him (and him only) with Mr. Taverner after the Ford Cabinet appointed him as OPP Commissioner to have him give Mr. Taverner communications advice and assistance.
Further investigation is needed by Commissioner Wake to determine if the actions of Derek O’Toole, Senior Policy Advisor in Premier Ford’s office, and Greg Harrington, Policy Advisor to Mr. French, also crossed the line in the ethics law. There is some evidence in Commissioner Wake’s ruling that they also provided preferential treatment to Mr. Taverner.
All public servants in the Ontario government, including ministers’ staff and the Secretary to the Cabinet, are prohibited by regulations under the Public Service of Ontario Act from giving preferential treatment to any person or entity, and are required to “endeavour to avoid creating the appearance that preferential treatment is being given to a person or entity…”
“There is clear evidence in the Integrity Commissioner’s ruling on the OPP Commissioner appointment process that Premier Ford’s Chief of Staff Dean French and his former deputy minister violated Ontario government ethics rules by giving preferential treatment to Ron Taverner more than once, and also to Mario Di Tomasso,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “Hopefully Ontario’s Ombudsman will do the right thing and investigate and issue a public ruling on these violations.”
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179 Cell: 416-546-3443