POLITICS
12/17/2018 11:27 EST | Updated 12/17/2018 11:27 EST

Ron Taverner Asks For Toronto Police Job Back As Watchdog Investigates His OPP Hiring

Questions are swirling about how a friend of Premier Doug Ford landed the OPP's top job.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail via Canadian Press
Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner speaks to media in a 2012 file photo. Taverner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto police, after asking the government to delay his swearing-in as commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.

TORONTO — The man selected to become the next Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto police force and will return to his old job.

Supt. Ron Taverner, a longtime friend of Premier Doug Ford, will return to his role as unit commander of three divisions in the city's northwest end, Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said Monday.

"He requested that this resignation be rescinded this weekend,'' Gray said. "It was reviewed and approved by the chief last night and he's back being unit commander of those divisions effective this morning.''

Taverner off the job for just 24 hours

Gray said Taverner, 72, had officially resigned Saturday.

"He was only absent 24 hours,'' Gray said.

The Ontario government said over the weekend that Taverner requested his appointment to the OPP's top job be delayed until an investigation into allegations of political interference in the hiring process was complete.

The choice of Taverner as the province's top cop has drawn ire from within the OPP and from Ford's political opponents, who noted that the qualifications required for the position had been lowered, allowing the premier's longtime ally to qualify.

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The Progressive Conservatives have repeatedly denied that the premier's office had anything to do with Taverner's hiring.

Gray said she didn't know Taverner's long-term plans, but said he was back at work with the Toronto force.

Former acting OPP commissioner Brad Blair has asked the courts to order Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube to investigate Taverner's hiring, after the ombudsman declined his request to carry out the probe.

Blair's lawyer, Julian Falconer, said the ombudsman won't investigate because he believes the matter is out of his jurisdiction since the hiring was ultimately a decision made by cabinet.

Falconer said Blair will be replaced at the helm of the OPP by Gary Couture, who is currently the force's deputy commissioner.

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