TORONTO — The Ontario government says it is delaying the appointment of the man set to become the province’s top cop until an investigation into allegations of political interference in the hiring process is complete.
Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones says the government will respect Ron Taverner’s request for a delay in his appointment, which was supposed to take place on Monday.
Taverner, a longtime family friend of Premier Doug Ford, did not initially qualify for the role, but the government has admitted that it lowered the requirements for the job to attract a wider range of candidates.
Sources in the premier’s office say that until a review is complete, Acting OPP Commissioner Brad Blair will be replaced at the helm of the OPP by Gary Couture, who is currently the force’s deputy commissioner.
On Friday, Blair asked the courts to order Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube to investigate Taverner’s hiring, after the ombudsman declined his request to carry out the probe.
The Ford government has repeatedly denied that the premier’s office had anything to do with Taverner’s hiring.
Taverner did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the delay, which he requested in an email to Jones.
“Out of the greatest of respect for the brave men and women of the Ontario Provincial Police, I am requesting my appointment as commissioner be postponed until as such time the integrity commissioner has completed his review,” he wrote in the email.
The Canadian Press
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