The Ford government has fired the outspoken Ontario Provincial Police deputy commissioner Brad Blair.
Blair has been a fierce critic of the Progressive Conservatives’ appointment of Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner as the next chief of the OPP.
Blair is asking an Ontario court to force the province’s ombudsman to investigate the appointment of Taverner, who is a longtime friend of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
The PCs say the decision to fire Blair was made by the deputy minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The firing was approved by the Public Service Commission.
During question period Monday morning, Opposition leader Andrea Horwath suggested that Blair was fired after speaking out against Taverner’s appointment.
“It was a brave thing for this person to do, to come forward, and it looks like that bravery has lost him his job,” Horwath said.
She went on to describe Blair as “the only person who’s been acting with some integrity in this entire fiasco.”
PCs say decision made ‘independently of political process’
In response to Horwath’s accusation, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones said the decision was made “independently of the political process.”
“I will not be commenting, nor should anyone else on private HR issues,” she said.
An interim incumbent will be identified by the ministry.
In addition to his request to Ontario’s ombudsman, Blair is also threatening to sue Ford, alleging that the premier damaged his reputation when Ford accused him of breaking the Police Services Act by speaking out against Taverner’s hiring.
Taverner’s appointment has been delayed until the integrity commissioner completes an investigation.