Ex-OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair to speak out

Brad Blair, left, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right Toronto Sun files

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Former OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair will speak publicly for the first time Friday about his dismissal from the police service and his libel lawsuit against Premier Doug Ford.

Blair has scheduled a media conference at Queen’s Park to discuss “his efforts in safeguarding the independence and credibility of the province’s largest police service and exposing government abuse,” a statement from his lawyer’s office said Thursday. “Mr. Blair will appear alongside his wife, Danielle Blair, and legal counsel to discuss next steps in his search for government accountability and transparency.”

Lawyer Julian Falconer has said that Blair was fired because he criticized the hiring of long-time Ford family friend Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner as the new OPP commissioner.

Blair filed a $5-million defamation lawsuit in March, alleging the premier accused him of violations of the Police Services Act which subjected him to embarrassment, scandal and ridicule.

The claims, which have not been proven in court, say Ford’s motive was to punish the senior OPP officer for publicly questioning the appropriateness of the process that led to Taverner’s appointment.

Taverner subsequently turned down the job offer.

A statement of defence filed on behalf of Ford, also not proven in court, said the officer used his position to launch personal and political attacks against the premier for his own interests.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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