Com­mit­tee chair linked to Ford’s for­mer chief of staff re­signs

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - QUEEN'S PARK RE­PORTER

The chair of a com­mit­tee that helps choose jus­tices of the peace has re­signed from his paid post after The Globe and Mail re­vealed his ties to On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford’s for­mer chief of staff.

An­drew Suboch re­signed on Wed­nes­day after a two-week re­view into his ap­point­ment, a Pre­mier’s Of­fice spokes­woman said.

“An­drew Suboch has just ad­vised the Jus­tices of the Peace Ap­point­ments Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee that he is re­sign­ing ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately,” Laryssa Waler, Mr. Ford’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said in a state­ment to The Globe and Mail.

“The At­tor­ney-Gen­eral has spo­ken to the Chief Jus­tice and ad­vised that he in­tends to des­ig­nate a ju­di­cial mem­ber of the Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee as the in­terim chair, who will over­see this year’s Jus­tice of the Peace re­cruit­ment and ap­point­ment process.”

Mr. Suboch was named to the Jus­tices of the Peace Ap­point­ments Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee last Septem­ber and be­came chair in Fe­bru­ary. In an e-mail to The Globe on Wed­nes­day night, Mr. Suboch said he re­signed but did not pro­vide fur­ther com­ment.

In a phone call be­fore his res­ig­na­tion on Wed­nes­day, Mr. Suboch said he had dis­cussed his ap­point­ment with other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee but the con­ver­sa­tions were con­fi­den­tial. He said no one from the govern­ment had asked him to re­sign.

“Right now I am chair of the JPAAC and that’s all I’ll say about that,” he said. He re­signed less than two hours later.

The Globe and Mail first re­ported June 25 on the per­sonal con­nec­tion be­tween Mr. Suboch, a per­sonal in­jury and in­sur­ance lawyer, and Dean French, Mr. Ford’s for­mer chief of staff, who re­signed last month amid a pa­tron­age scan­dal.

Mr. Suboch is a long-time friend of Mr. French and their sons played lacrosse to­gether. His ap­point­ment was put un­der re­view by Mr. Ford’s govern­ment on June 25.

Mr. French re­signed from his top post in Mr. Ford’s of­fice on June 21 after it was re­vealed that two peo­ple with per­sonal ties to the for­mer chief of staff were given lu­cra­tive for­eign ap­point­ments: a for­mer lacrosse player who is friends with Mr. French’s son and the sec­ond cousin of Mr. French’s wife. Both of those ap­point­ments have been re­voked.

Upon his de­par­ture from govern­ment, other ap­point­ments with con­nec­tions to Mr. French were un­cov­ered, in­clud­ing his niece, who re­signed from the Public Ac­coun­tants Coun­cil. Mr. Ford’s of­fice has since launched a re­view of pend­ing govern­ment ap­point­ments and pledged to also ex­am­ine cur­rent ap­point­ments brought to its at­ten­tion.

On­tario’s strate­gic trans­for­ma­tion ad­viser, Peter Fen­wick, was also fired last week after the Toronto Star re­ported that he had long-time ties to Mr. French. His of­fice was also dis­solved.

On Mon­day, Mr. Ford said he dealt swiftly with the pa­tron­age scan­dal that has en­veloped his of­fice. But he dis­missed queries about his for­mer chief of staff’s de­par­ture as be­ing “into the weeds” and re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about whether he pushed Mr. French to quit.

“Let’s be very clear: Dean French is no longer there. We changed our chief of staff,” Mr. Ford said in Calgary, where he was meet­ing with Western pre­miers. “We’re mov­ing for­ward. My goal is to fo­cus on our econ­omy, not about get­ting into the weeds and what the me­dia likes to do 99 per cent of the time.”

As com­mit­tee chair, Mr. Suboch earned a per diem of $566. The core com­mit­tee meets about 12 times a year, ac­cord­ing to a govern­ment web­site.

How­ever, other meet­ings can be called to screen ap­pli­ca­tions, hold in­ter­views and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the at­tor­ney­gen­eral. In 2017, then-chair Karen (Kaz) Flinn took home $113,766, ac­cord­ing to the Sun­shine List.

Mr. Suboch has long-stand­ing ties to Mr. French. Mr. French en­cour­aged Mr. Suboch’s son to be­gin play­ing lacrosse when he was 5 and later coached him, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 blog post.

As well, one of Mr. French’s sons was a team­mate of Mr. Suboch’s son at the U19 men’s lacrosse world cham­pi­onships in 2016, when Mr. French was chair­man of Team Canada.

In 2012, Mr. Suboch was found to have en­gaged in pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct by the Law So­ci­ety of On­tario. He pre­vi­ously told The Globe he has had thou­sands of clients and his record speaks for it­self.

Mr. Suboch said he has a record of com­mu­nity ser­vice and has served in his role with in­tegrity. He said he was qual­i­fied for the po­si­tion and “faith­fully” filled out an on­line ap­pli­ca­tion form. He said Mr. French did not tell him he would get the po­si­tion.

When asked whether Mr. French told him to ap­ply, Mr. Suboch told The Globe, “I don’t know, re­call, who ad­vised me to ap­ply.”

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