QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Taras Natyshak said Wednesday that revelations Doug Ford berated an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer assigned to his security detail and demanded he be given a different detail are particularly chilling, given Ford’s subsequent appointment of his close friend to head the OPP.
According to newly filed court documents, Ford told the officer on his detail: “If I have to, I will drive up there [to see then-OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes]… so he can how serious I am about [getting a new detail]. If he can’t sort this out, then maybe a new commissioner can make it happen.”
Shortly afterwards, Hawkes retired and Ford attempted to install his long-time ally Ron Taverner in the role.
“Evidently, Doug Ford’s top priority has not been public safety, but meeting the personal demands of Doug Ford," said Natyshak in the legislature. "Is this the premier’s vision for policing in Ontario?”
Natyshak also railed against another demand he made of the OPP: a customized Mercedes camper van, retrofitted with a 32-inch television, power reclining leather sofa and a mini-fridge — a purchase that, all told, would have cost taxpayers upwards of $100,000, but Ford’s team asked the OPP to keep off the books.
“The fact is, Ford knows that the people of Ontario shouldn’t be paying for his electric, leather, reclining couch,” Natyshak said. “That’s why Ford asked that the costs of the van be moved off the books. That’s why Ford’s staff used personal e-mails instead of government accounts to coordinate the purchase.”
When the news surfaced of Ford's shady attempts to procure what Natyshak called “a souped-up man cave on wheels,” Taverner immediately came to Ford’s defence to journalists.
"This confirms people's fears that Taverner may be a Ford insider, not to mention an apologist," said Natyshak. "Is Taverner being hired to make the people of Ontario safe, or is he being hired to make sure Doug Ford gets to continue living above the law?"