Ontario’s integrity commissioner is citing “insufficient grounds” to investigate an NDP allegation that Premier Doug Ford violated ethics legislation by approving the firing of OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair.
New Democrat MPP Kevin Yarde charged in March that Ford breached the Members’ Integrity Act by using his office to influence the decision to terminate Blair, a veteran Ontario Provincial Police officer who was passed over for the commissioner’s job initially given to Ford family friend Ron Taverner.
Blair was fired after revealing that the premier’s office had pushed the OPP to provide Ford with a van that had been customized with a leather reclining sofa and TV.
“Mr. Yarde has not provided any information in his affidavit to describe specifically how the premier was involved in this decision,” Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake said Tuesday in a five-page report.
Wake noted Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones has told the Legislature the decision to fire Blair was made by the nine-member Ontario Public Service Commission.
“To commence an inquiry in these circumstances would be tantamount to embarking on a fishing expedition.”
When Taverner bowed out of the OPP appointment following widespread concerns about his close relationship with Ford, the government chose York Regional Police deputy chief Thomas Carrique to head the force.
Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1