TORONTO — Doug Ford defended the appointment of a family friend as the new provincial police commissioner on Tuesday as critics accused the premier of offering key positions to his allies.
Ronald Taverner’s appointment as the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police has prompted demands for an investigation into his selection — calls that intensified after the government said qualification requirements for the job were lowered partway through the hiring process to broaden the pool of applicants.
Ford, whose family has been close with 72-year-old Taverner for years, shrugged off concerns around the hiring and said the process had been transparent.
“I told (the hiring panel) very clearly, I don’t want anything to do with this whatsoever,” he told reporters at the legislature.
Ford went on to say he had seen no problem with providing the final stamp of approval on Taverner’s appointment, which came after a unanimous decision from the hiring panel.
“I had zero influence,” he said of the process.” No matter who it was I would have accepted.”
The premier also said his office would not interfere with the operations of the OPP.
“I can’t influence and tell the police what to do,” he said. “It’s very simple.”