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Doug Ford’s chief of staff resigns after patronage controversy

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, has resigned in the wake of damning reports that the Progressive Conservative government’s picks for two patronage appointments had ties to French. 

In a statement Friday evening, Ford’s office said the premier accepted French’s resignation in the early afternoon — the same day the government revoked the appointments of Tyler Albrecht and Taylor Shields as agents general to New York and London, respectively. 

According to a Globe and Mail report published Friday morning, the 26-year-old Albrecht knows French and his two sons through their mutual participation in lacrosse. The Globe also reported that Shields, an assistant vice-president of marketing for Chubb Insurance, is a second cousin to French’s wife.

Ford’s press secretary announced Friday morning that the appointments were rescinded, but declined to explain why.  

Friday evening’s statement says, “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.”

French will be replaced by deputy chief of staff Jamie Wallace, who will step into the position of interim chief of staff until a permanent replacement is announced.

French has been embroiled in controversies since Ford appointed him a year ago. 

Former PC MPP Randy Hillier alleged earlier this year that French engaged in an “underhanded and relentless campaign” to boot him from caucus.

Last fall, French ordered Ontario Power Generation to fire a newly hired vice-president, according to reporting by the Globe and Mail

The Toronto Star reported that French ordered political staff to tell police to carry out raids on cannabis dispensaries on the day of legalization last October. 

 


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