Some of the Ford Government’s Patronage Appointments

If you can believe everything you read, the most significant course correction for the Ford government could be the departure of Dean French from the position of Chief of Staff to the Premier. 

If you believe everything you read, Premier Ford has little interest in the fine details of public policy and left much of the decision making up to French. If you believe everything you read, French, who has no past experience working in government, was an iron fisted autocrat who made decisions unilaterally without consultation and who thought the Ontario government was his own business. 

While all governments appoint their loyal allies and supporters to positions on agencies, boards and commissions, French was given to appointing friends and family, some who had scarce qualifications, to these types of roles. 

While French is now gone, here are some examples of the appointments he and the Ford government have made:

  • Gavin Tighe, a Ford family lawyer and who is also acting for the Premier’s former chief of staff Dean French in a defamation lawsuit he launched, was appointed chair of the Public Accountants Council at a salary of $166,000 annually.
  • Former PC Party of Ontario president and former Humber River Hospital CEO, Rueben Devlin, was appointed to a three-year term as the government’s health-care adviser with an annual salary of $348,000 + expenses (so much for “dollar a year men”).
  • Ford campaign adviser Ian Todd was appointed Ontario’s trade representative to the United States, with a $350,000 salary, $75,000 more than his Liberal predecessor.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the Orleans riding and education professor at the University of Ottawa, Dr Cameron Montgomery, was appointed chair of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) at an annual salary of $140,000; previously,   the position was part-time with annual pay in the range of $4,000.
  • Jenni Byrne, a former senior staffer in the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left her post as Premier Ford’s principal secretary to take a two year appointment to the board of directors of the Ontario Energy Board with an annual salary of $197,000.
  • Personal injury and insurance lawyer, Andrew Suboch, who was found to have engaged in professional misconduct and fined $8,000 by the Law Society of Ontario, was appointed chair of the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Council; the position comes with a per diem of $566 and in 2017 the chair earned $113,766; Suboch’s son played lacrosse with Dean French’s son and was coached by French.
  • Tory fundraiser, PC Ontario Fund board member and Toronto developer Carmine Nigro was appointed chair of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario; Nigro has pledged to donate his LCBO salary to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Taylor Shields, an assistant vice-president of marketing for Chubb Insurance and friend of Dean French’s sons, was appointed to the position of agent-general in London with an annual salary of $165,000, to drum up investment there; Shields is a relation of Dean French’s wife; her appointment was revoked by Premier Ford.
  • Tyler Albrecht, a 26 year old senior analyst at Optimize Capital Markets, was appointed as agent-general, a business and investment development role that pays yearly compensation of $185,000, in New York City; Albrecht is a friend of Dean French’s sons; his appointment was revoked by Premier Ford.
  • Premier Ford’s friend, Toronto Police Service superintendent, Ron Taverner, was appointed commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, a position which after public outcry, he withdrew his application.
  • Ken Hughes will be paid $1,000 per day to a maximum of $200,000 per year to advise the Ford government on beer and wine distribution in the province; Hughes is a former Alberta cabinet minister and businessman who is believed to have few connections with the Ontario Tories.
  • Lobbyist Michael Diamond, who ran Doug Ford’s PC leadership run and his election campaign was appointed to the board of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • David Shiner, a former City of Toronto Councillor who was a strong supporter of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was appointed to the board of directors of Infrastructure Ontario that pays a per diem of $500.
  • Unsuccessful Tory candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election and former federal finance minister in the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Joe Oliver, was appointed to the board of directors of the Independent Electricity System Operator.
  • Tory fundraiser, Toronto businessman and Ford family acquaintance, Jim Ginou was appointed chair of Ontario Place, a position he previously held during the Harris and Eves governments
  • Long-time real estate and development professional and former CEO of Toronto Port Lands Co., Michael Kraljevic was appointed to the board of Metrolinx in January.
  • Lawyer and former attorney general in the government of Premier Mike Harris, Charles Harnick, was appointed chair of Legal Aid Ontario; his appointment was made by a three member panel that included a judge and a representative of the Law Society of Ontario.
  • Katherine Pal, Principal in her family’s financial planning business and niece of Premier Ford’s former chief of staff Dean French was appointed to the Public Accounts Council which paid $2,800 for four meetings per year; Pal, seen by many as reasonably qualified for the position, resigned immediately when contacted by the Premier’s Office.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in the St Catharines riding, Sandie Bellows, a sales consultant and former St Catharines councillor, was appointed chair of the Niagara Parks Commission, a part-time position that comes with a per diem $250.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in the Niagara Centre, former mayor of Wainfleet mayor and professional photographer, April Jeffs, was appointed vice chair of the Niagara Parks Commission at a per diem of $175
  • Lobbyist, two-term MPP and eight-year Niagara Regional councillor, Bart Maves, was appointed to the Niagara Bridge Commission.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in the Niagara Falls riding and executive officer of the Niagara Home Builders Association, Chuck McShane was appointed to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in the Kingston and the Islands and former Kingston mayor, Gary Bennett, was appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • Unsuccessful PC candidate in the June 2018 Ontario general election in the Kitchener Centre riding and former political staffer, Mary Henein Thorn was appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • Former Barrie MPP and PR consultant Rod Jackson, was appointed to the board of directors of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.