Paul Manning brings you this exclusive Exaro News story from Ontario, Canada.
At 8AM this morning, beneath a bewildering cluster of alleged dishonesty and political exploitation Supt. Ronald Taverner of the Toronto Police Service was supposed to present himself for duty at Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Headquarters taking the reins of Ontario’s largest police service, making him the ‘top cop’ in the Province.
On Friday, Taverner released the following statement, “Out of the greatest of respect for the brave men and women of The Ontario Provincial Police, I am requesting my appointment as Commissioner be postponed until as such time the Integrity Commissioner has completed his review.”
In the past weeks his selection had come under intense scrutiny not only from a number of political isles and media outlets, but finally the interim OPP Commissioner, Brad Blair who in an extraordinary move asked the Courts to order the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate Taverner’s’ appointment. An exploration Paul Dube, the Ontario Ombudsman, had declined to instigate on two prior occasions.
Blair also made allegations that Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff had directly asked for a “camper” style van to be purchased “off the books”. This contention was immediately met with calls for Frenchs’ resignation, and a response from Ford that Blairs’ accusations were nothing more than “sour grapes” on the part of the interim Commissioner.
Over the weekend the courts agreed with Blair’s assertion that Taverner’s appointment should be the focus of an independent Ontario Ombudsman review and clarity sought on how much, if any, Provincial political interference played into Taverner’s appointment.
This led the Provincial Government to remove Blair from the position of interim Commissioner, replacing him with OPP Deputy Commissioner Gary Coture. This timing of this action would appear to the layperson punitive in nature and the decision makers in this particular process may well have left themselves open to criminal jeopardy under Sec 425.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.*
Suspicion into this appointment was further roused when the initial selection process excluded Taverner from even applying as his rank was not high enough. The prerequisites of the job were modified on October 22nd, now enabling Taverner to apply. This was apparently done to broaden the pool of applicants for the post. But it would appear in Blair’s filing the requirement changes only widened the group of applicants from 24 to 27.
Taverner’s relationship with the Ford family, including both Doug and the late Rob Ford goes back decades. Unsubstantiated rumors in the policing community have circulated for years that Taverner has been behind bailing the Ford brothers out of trouble on more than one occasion, however those same allegations have yet to be substantiated with evidence or fact.
Taverner’s’ name first came to the attention of Exaro News in a Human Right Tribunal filed in 2014 by Const. Heather McWilliams, Toronto Police Service (TPS). McWilliams’ alleges years of sexual harassment creating a ‘toxic work environment’ at 23 Division TPS, which subsequently led her off on sick leave in 2014.
The supervising officer for 23 Div. TPS at the time was Taverner, who McWilliams also alleges tried to discourage her filing internal complaints and subsequently “punished” her by holding back work place opportunities. Taverner is not named in the application, but is shown as a witness.
If there’s any truth to this action, Taverner is most definitely not a suitable choice to lead an already embattled police service. A service plagued with allegations of sexual discrimination, which is currently defending a Human Rights claim from eighty-four predominately female civilian specialist and managers claiming gender-based discrimination.
At the end of May 2018 Exaro news was contacted by an anonymous source claiming to be from the Ministry of Community and Correctional Safety. The source advised that they already knew the provincial election was lost. Adding that once elected Ford would attempt to remove the Chair on McWillams Human Rights Tribunal and would successively give Taverner the OPP Commissioners position.
In July, weeks after Ford was sworn in, Vice Chair Pickle, HRTO suddenly resigned from her position, to take up a new post with the Immigration and Refugee Board. McWilliams was given the option of discontinuing her action or starting the process from the beginning. A process which had this point had taken over two years.
While VC Pickles’ resignation could have been nothing more than coincidence, rather than foreshadowing, the fact remains Taverner was the only witness left to testify. A testimony which may have backed Ford into a corner, restricting Taverner’s future employment opportunities within the Ford government, and definitely excluding him for the Commissioners spot.
Premier Doug Ford has eminently rebuffed the notion he applied pressure on the committee to appointed Taverner or had any involvement in this procedure. However, if he, any of his cabinet ministers or any of his staff interference in the jurisdictive process for political or personal gains this would be a straightforward criminal obstruction of justice.
*(Sec 425.1 CCC makes it illegal to retaliate against any employee who has provided information to an agency whose duties include the enforcement of Federal or Provincial Law.)
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