Global News has learned Premier Doug Ford‘s chief of staff Dean French resigned Friday.
The news comes less than one day after Global News first reported on controversial appointments made by the premier’s office which included people who had personal ties to French.
“Earlier this afternoon Premier Ford accepted the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Dean French,” the premier’s office said in a statement.
“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.”
According to the statement, the premier’s deputy chief of staff, Jamie Wallace, will assume the position of interim chief of staff until a permanent replacement is announced.
On Thursday, Global News was first to report on controversial appointments by the premier’s office to the position of agents-general.
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One of the appointments included 26-year-old Tyler Albrecht, a friend of French’s son, to the role that included a $164,000 salary and was based in New York City.
Global News also inquired about a possible family connection between French and a second appointment, Taylor Shields, who would have been based in London, England. Multiple sources confirmed to Global News that Shields is a cousin of French’s wife.
By Friday morning, a senior government source confirmed that the premier’s office revoked both appointments. However, the premier’s office would not comment on the decision.
“The Global News story from last night was the nail in the coffin for French,” a PC MPP who wished to remain anonymous told Global News.
“That article set in motion a series of events that ultimately led to Dean French’s resignation … He was bully, he was known for making MPPs and staffers cry, he had a short temper and everyone had to walk on eggshells around him. Any indication of disagreement however minor, even if that disagreement was in private, MPPs would be reprimanded and threatened to be kicked out of caucus for not being a good enough team player.”
WATCH: Doug Ford revokes 2 foreign Ontario government appointments after allegations of nepotism. Travis Dhanraj reports.
French, who has been Ford’s chief of staff since the PCs took power in 2018, has been extremely controversial and, according to sources within the PC caucus, has been seen as ruling with “an iron fist.”
According to a report by the Globe and Mail last fall, French allegedly called Ontario Power Generation to have an executive there removed.
A second report by the Toronto Star alleged French directed government staff to tell police to raid pot dispensaries on the day cannabis became legal in Canada so the public would see images of people in handcuffs.
During the controversial attempt to appoint Ron Taverner to the position of Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, then-Interim OPP Commissioner Brad Blair also alleged that French requested the OPP purchase a “large camper type vehicle,” have it customized and have the costs “kept off the books.”
Despite the controversies, Premier Ford thanked French for his time served as chief of staff.
“I want to personally thank Dean for his hard work, his leadership and his friendship,” Ford said in a statement. “Dean’s legacy will be that of leading a historic and successful election campaign last year, as well as the incredible successes we have had in our government’s first year. ”
NDP MPP Marit Stiles responded to French’s resignation with criticism of the premier.
“The buck stops with Doug Ford. As long as he’s plowing ahead with his callous cuts for families, backroom deals for friends, and relentless bullying of anyone who disagrees with him, changing back room staff won’t help the people of Ontario who are hurting under the Ford regime,” she said.
– With files from Travis Dhanraj
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