Rarely-used clause allows Integrity Commissioner to strike public inquiry
QUEEN'S PARK — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is asking the Integrity Commissioner to use a rarely-used power to trigger a public inquiry into Doug Ford's interference in the police commissioner pick.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant," said Horwath. "The investigation into Doug Ford's interference in Ontario's police force, and the attempt to install an insider as commissioner, can't only happen behind closed doors."
The Integrity Commissioner is investigating Ford's role in selecting close friend and ally Ron Taverner as the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and any political influence Ford attempted to exert over the police force. Evidence has been piling up, including evidence that Ford demanded that the OPP buy him a custom camper van, built to his specifications, and hide the expense.
The rarely used Subsections 33 and 34 of the Public Inquiries Act allows the Integrity Commissioner to launch a public inquiry — a power usually reserved for the premier and cabinet.
"An investigation of this importance — an investigation that's critical to continued public confidence in the OPP — has to be an open, transparent process," said Horwath. "That's why I'm urging the Integrity Commissioner to call a full public inquiry with the power to summon witnesses, request documents, and ensure witnesses are protected from self-incrimination and discipline or retribution from their employer. A public inquiry can guarantee those things."
On Monday, the Ford Tories blocked an NDP motion to have a select committee of the legislature examine the political interference by Ford. The NDP will move the same motion again Tuesday.