'Insufficient' evidence that Ford interfered in Blair firing: Integrity Commissioner
Antonella Artuso
May 7, 2019
May 7, 2019 7:16 PM EDT
Brad Blair, left, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, rightToronto Sun files
Ontario Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake has dismissed an NDP MPP’s complaint that Premier Doug Ford interfered in the dismissal of former OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair.
“After assessing the complaint, Commissioner Wake determined that there were insufficient grounds to conduct an inquiry,” says a statement from Wake’s office which was released Tuesday.
NDP MPP Kevin Yarde alleged Ford violated the Members’ Integrity Act by approving a decision to fire Blair, who had been a candidate for the OPP Commissioner’s position.
NDP MPP Kevin Yarde. (Supplied)
That job went to Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner, who subsequently turned it down after a public outcry about his close relationship with the Ford family.
Wake’s report said that Yarde provided no evidence that Ford was involved or sought to influence the decision.
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“Mr. Yarde suggests in the afidavit that the decision to terminate Mr. Blair from his position furthered the interest of Mr. Taverner by seeking to silence and intimidate a critic of the process that led to Mr. Taverner’s appointment,” Wake’s report says. “Mr Yard does not explain how Mr. Blair would be silenced or intimidated by the termination and in fact, one could argue that the termination would have the opposite effect.”
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ontarians know that the entire “debacle,” including the hiring of Taverner and the firing of Blair, stunk to high heaven.
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“That whole process was a stinking mess,” Horwath said.
Blair has filed a $5-million defamation suit against Ford.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said she respects the finding of an independent officer of the assembly.
“The NDP continue to spin their wheels on issues that frankly are not what the people of Ontario want to deal with,” Jones said. “Wasting the time of these independent officers of the assembly is frankly getting a little frustrating.”