TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff resigned Friday night after a string of controversies in the government’s first year that culminated in the premier rescinding the lucrative appointments of two people with reported ties to Dean French.
The timing of French’s resignation isn’t directly related, the premier’s office suggested.
“Mr. French informed the premier that he will be returning to the private sector after a successful first year of government, as he had always planned,” spokeswoman Kayla Iafelice wrote in a statement.
Ford said French’s legacy will be that of leading a successful election campaign and a successful first year of government.
“I want to personally thank Dean for his hard work, his leadership and his friendship,” Ford said in a statement.
Earlier Friday, Ford was forced to address a controversy about the appointments of two people who reportedly had personal ties to French.
On Thursday, Ford announced four agents-general appointments, which come with salaries between $165,000 and $185,000.
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 say Shields is related to French, and that Albrecht, 26, is friends with one of French’s sons. A 2014 tweet from French says one of his sons and Albrecht are former lacrosse teammates.
The appointments were rescinded just one day after a cabinet shuffle intended as a reset after a rocky first year in power that knocked the government off message.
Henry Jacek, a McMaster University political science professor, said the appointments controversy was the latest in a string of incidents involving French.
“There is this rule around Queen’s Park and elsewhere (that) when the media is talking about the staffer, it’s time for the staffer to go,” he said.