Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

You don’t need to be qualified for a ticket on the Ford gravy train

Published on February 18, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK —According to the posting for the job, Ford advisor Jenni Byrne doesn’t have the professional qualifications and experience required for the sweet seat on the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) that Doug Ford is giving her.

And a spate of appointments shows that Byrne’s move from the premier’s office to a cushy seat on the Ford gravy train is just one of many.

“Ford is handing out golden tickets on his gravy train, and those appointments look like they’re all about putting people he trades favours with into positions of power,” said NDP MPP Taras Natyshak.

According to the advertisement, the job Byrne is being given requires:

  • A law degree (LLB or JD) or graduate degree in specific fields, including administrative law or engineering
  • Work experience in those fields and, specifically, in the electricity and natural gas sectors

According to publicly available biographical information, Byrne doesn’t have those qualifications.

Yet, Ford announced on Jan. 11 he was putting Byrne into the job for $197,000 a year for two years. On Jan. 8 the job posting closed, but had specified that for “weekly meetings” the paycheque would be $192,500 a year, renewable for up to 10 years.

“He’s moving a cast of Ford loyalists into power positions, and shovelling money at them,” said Natyshak.

Over the holiday break, Ford moved a slew of friends and Conservative insiders into government positions.

Michael Kraljevic. Toronto Portlands Company president and supporter of Ford’s waterfront megamall scheme has been appointed to the Metrolinx board. In 2013, Ford tried to have Kraljevic appointed CEO of Build Toronto over the objections of six Build Toronto directors, who quit in protest.

David Tsubouchi. The former Conservative cabinet minister, who advised low-income Ontarians to make life more affordable by buying dented cans of tuna, has been appointed to the Ontario Arts Council board.

Ron Chatha. Chatha has been nominated to the Peel Police Board. Chatha was national outreach chair for Conservative Kevin O’Leary’s leadership campaign, and was accused of fraud, offering to buy memberships.

Randy Aulbrook. Michael Tibollo’s former constituency assistant and campaign manager was Tibillo’s director of operations, caucus liaison and public appointments while Tibollo was minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Tibollo was removed from that ministry after QP Briefing revealed his involvement in a Ponzi scheme that bilked Ontarians out of millions of dollars, and Aulbrook was given the Landlord Tenant Board appointment.

Those appointees join Ford’s other multi-million-dollar appointments to seats on his gravy train, like Gavin Tighe, Ian Todd, Ron Taverner and Reubin Devlin.

Ford’s campaign tour director, Todd was appointed to be Ford’s representative in Washington, taking home $350,000 a year. That’s nearly 30 per cent more than the Canadian ambassador takes home.

Ford is still trying to appoint Taverner, a long-time ally, to be the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police. Taverner is a middle-management Toronto Police officer who didn’t qualify for the provincial commissioner job, according to the original job posting — but the job qualifications were mysteriously changed.

Tighe is the Ford family lawyer, and was given a $667,000 deal to chair the Public Accountants Council by Ford.