TORONTO — An appointee to Ontario’s accountants council resigned Tuesday after the Opposition noted that she is the niece of the premier’s ex-chief of staff — who also resigned recently after other appointees were revealed to have personal ties to him.
Premier Doug Ford’s office spoke with Katherine Pal and she resigned effective immediately from the Public Accountants Council, said spokeswoman Kayla Iafelice.
The resignation follows a press release from the NDP criticizing the government for yet another “gravy train” appointment by giving a post to Pal, a niece of Dean French’s wife.
“This reeks of nepotism, with paycheques, power and favours for Ford’s inner circle, while everyday Ontarians get nothing but cuts,” New Democrat Taras Natyshak said in a statement.
French himself resigned late Friday as Ford’s chief of staff after the premier rescinded the appointments of two people with reported personal ties to French.
A day earlier, Ford had announced four agents-general appointments — positions that haven’t existed in the Ontario government since the 1990s — which come with salaries between $165,000 and $185,000. The roles aim to drum up business in the province.
Taylor Shields, an assistant vice-president of marketing for Chubb Insurance, was appointed to a post in London and Tyler Albrecht, a senior analyst at Optimize Capital Markets, was being sent to New York City.
The Globe and Mail reported that sources said Shields is related to French through his wife, and that Albrecht, 26, is friends with one of French’s sons. A 2014 tweet from French said one of his sons and Albrecht are former lacrosse teammates.
Both appointments were revoked Friday.
Meanwhile, the Public Accountants Council said Pal, a principal at Pal Insurance, was extremely well qualified to be on the council and that her finance credentials are impeccable.
Pal did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She would have earned $2,800 in the position for four meetings a year, funded through public accountants’ dues.
The government has come under fire numerous times for appointments given to associates of the premier and the Progressive Conservative party.
Gavin Tighe, a Ford family lawyer and who is also acting for French in a defamation lawsuit he launched, was also appointed to the Public Accountants Council.
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Ford sparked a huge outcry when he named family friend Ron Taverner as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, an appointment Taverner ultimately turned down.
Jenni Byrne left her post as Ford’s principal secretary for an appointment with the Ontario Energy Board with an annual salary of about $197,000.
Past Progressive Conservative party president Rueben Devlin was granted a three-year term as a health-care adviser. Ford campaign adviser Ian Todd was appointed Ontario’s trade representative to the United States, with a $350,000 salary. And failed Tory candidate Cameron Montgomery was appointed to lead a standardized testing organization.
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