Ford doles out political patronage plums to allies

Ford doles out political patronage plums to allies

Premier Doug Ford has awarded plum patronage posts to two political allies.

Hours after shuffling his cabinet, Ford on Thursday announced four new agents-general have been hired for up to $185,000 a year to boost Ontario business in Britain and the U.S.

Former Progressive Conservative party president Jag Badwal, a realtor, will represent the province in Dallas, Texas.

Earl Provost, a former Ontario Liberal party executive director and chief of staff to the late Rob Ford when he was Toronto mayor, is being dispatched to Chicago.

Both Badwal and Provost have worked with Doug Ford on political matters and are seen to have the premier’s ear.

Tyler Albrecht, who works in finance, will be the province’s representative in New York while Taylor Shields, an assistant vice-president at Chubb Insurance, will promote Ontario in London, England.

The three-year appointments pay $164,910 Canadian in the U.S., and $185,000 in the U.K.

“Taking Ontario’s open for business message around the world will help create the good jobs people need right here at home,” said Ford.

“Our government will work closely with these experts to make sure they’re delivering what we need and creating opportunities for our businesses to thrive.”

The move comes after the United States Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization, criticized the Ford government earlier this month for threatening to rip up Ontario’s 10-year deal with the Beer Store.

Up to four more agents-general could be hired.

Also Thursday, Ford named Steven Davidson as secretary of the cabinet and head of the public service. The well-respected Davidson had served as interim secretary since the retirement of Steve Orsini in February.

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