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2 of 4 Ford government appointments rescinded

Last Updated Jun 21, 2019 at 12:52 pm EDT

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has revoked the appointments of two people to positions abroad a day after announcing them.

Ford announced four agents-general appointments, which come with salaries between $165,000 and $185,000, shortly after a massive cabinet shuffle Thursday intended as a reset after a rocky first year in power.

Taylor Shields, an assistant vice-president of marketing for Chubb Insurance, was appointed to a post in London and Tyler Albrecht, 26-year-old senior analyst at Optimize Capital Markets, was being sent to New York City.

The premier’s office confirms Shields and Albrecht will no longer get those jobs. According to several media reports, Shields and Albrecht have close personal ties to Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French.

Shields, an assistant vice-president of marketing for Chubb Insurance, is a second cousin of French’s wife. Albrecht, a senior analyst at Optimize Capital Markets, is friends with French’s sons having played lacrosse with one of them while in school where French was a coach.

The other two appointments still remain.

Earl Provost, who was a former Ontario Liberal Party executive, was named an agents-general in Chicago. He served as chief of staff to Ford’s late brother Rob Ford when he was mayor of Toronto and joined the premier’s office as a policy adviser a few weeks ago.

Jag Badwal, who is a past president of the Ontario PC Party, will be heading to Dallas.

New Democrat Taras Natyshak said Ford was trying to “slip first-class gravy train tickets to friends and family.”

“For Doug Ford to create these posh international appointments for family and friends is gross,” Natyshak said in a statement. “For him to try to sweep this under the rug when he’s caught is disgusting.”

The four agents-general positions have not existed in Ontario since the 1990s and the government said it may appoint up to four more agents-general.

This is not the first time the Ford government has been criticized for appointing friends and loyalists to civilian positions – an accusation Ford leveled against the Liberals during the last election campaign.

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 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 Ford family lawyer Gavin Tighe was appointed to the Public Accountants Council.

Failed Tory candidate Cameron Montgomery was appointed to lead a standardized testing organization.