OPP commish case to get hear­ing

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - NEWS - AL­LI­SON JONES

TORONTO — An On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice deputy com­mis­sioner is ask­ing a court to ur­gently con­sider or­der­ing the pro­vin­cial om­buds­man to in­ves­ti­gate the ap­point­ment of a friend of the premier’s to the job of top cop.

Brad Blair has ap­plied to On­tario’s Divisional Court in an at­tempt to force an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the hir­ing of Toronto po­lice Supt. Ron Tav­erner as the new OPP com­mis­sioner, rais­ing con­cerns about po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

Blair asked the om­buds­man last month to probe the hir­ing process that saw 72-year-old Tav­erner get the job but Paul Dube de­clined, say­ing cab­i­net de­lib­er­a­tions are out­side the of­fice’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

A few days af­ter Blair asked the courts to con­sider the case, the prov­ince’s in­tegrity com­mis­sioner launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and Tav­erner de­layed his ap­point­ment pend­ing the out­come of the probe.

Premier Doug Ford has in­di­cated that Tav­erner’s ap­point­ment will go ahead when­ever the in­tegrity re­view is fin­ished, and Blair’s lawyer ar­gues in doc­u­ments filed to the court that could be com­plete in a mat­ter of weeks.

That leaves a nar­row win­dow for the court case, ar­gues Ju­lian Fal­coner.

“The un­der­ly­ing mat­ters re­quire an ex­pe­dited res­o­lu­tion in or­der to ad­dress the per­ceived po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in the OPP and to en­able a timely re­turn to the nor­mal ad­min­is­tra­tion of the OPP,” he writes.

The court is set to hear Fal­coner’s mo­tion for an ex­pe­dited hear­ing on Mon­day.

Fal­coner ar­gues that the in­tegrity com­mis­sioner’s man­date is to re­view whether Ford used his of­fice to fur­ther his own or some­one else’s per­sonal in­ter­est, while an om­buds­man probe could be broader, look­ing at po­ten­tial po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in the hir­ing process, any neg­a­tive im­pact on the in­de­pen­dence of the OPP and any ef­fects on pub­lic con­fi­dence in the OPP’s in­tegrity.

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