TORONTO — The Liberal cabinet has bypassed Ontario's opposition parties and appointed Barbara Finlay as the province's temporary ombudsman.
The New Democrats had blocked Liberal motions in the legislature to give the job to Finlay, who was deputy ombudsman, until the three parties could agree on a permanent candidate.
The NDP wanted to give Andre Marin another extension while he applied for a third, five-year term as the government watchdog, but the Liberals refused so Marin's term expired at midnight.
Government house leader Yasir Naqvi wrote his Progressive Conservative and New Democrat counterparts saying it is "absolutely unacceptable" for the ombudsman's position to be vacant for even one day.
Naqvi says the government had to appoint the deputy as the temporary ombudsman until the parties can agree on a permanent candidate because the NDP was "playing politics."
Marin held a news conference Monday to appeal for reappointment, and criticized the Liberals for politicizing the hiring practice and treating him unfairly as he reapplied for the job.
"Unfortunately there's no ombudsman for ombudsman because I'd be knocking on that door," Marin told reporters.
The three parties did agree on a new environmental commissioner for Ontario, appointing lawyer Dianne Saxe to a five-year term.
Former environmental commissioner Gord Miller retired after three terms and is a Green Party candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.
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