Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne signalled Monday that she will not send in the Ontario Provincial Police to take over an investigation of Mayor Rob Ford’s associates.
Sources have told The Globe that Toronto Police are investigating people close to Mr. Ford. The probe, led by veteran detective Gary Giroux, has included aircraft surveillance.
Asked if the OPP should be handling the investigation rather than the Toronto force – which depends on city council for its budget and is governed by a civilian board partly appointed by city hall – Ms. Wynne said it was up to the police themselves to make that choice.
“I am not going to second-guess the workings of the Toronto Police or the OPP,” she said following an unrelated meeting near Queen’s Park. “I think that those decisions have to be made by the police force, so I’m not going to wade into that.”
Last week, the police investigation led to the arrest of Alessandro Lisi, Mr. Ford’s friend and occasional driver, on marijuana trafficking charges.
Ms. Wynne refused to offer an opinion on the recent developments.
“I’m not going to wade into that. It’s a police matter and the police need to deal with that,” she said.
She also would not say whether the province would bring in a special prosecutor to look at the case.
“You know what? Not weighing in, just not weighing into that at this point,” she said. “The police are handling the situation. I’m just not going to weigh in.”
Ms. Wynne has been reluctant to get involved in the allegations surrounding Mr. Ford. Last spring, after the Mayor was accused of smoking crack cocaine on video, government lawyers reviewed Queen’s Park’s legal options in case it had to intervene with the city, and Ms. Wynne said the province would be involved “as appropriate.” Her comment, and the revelation, led her opponents to accuse her of considering meddling in municipal affairs. She promptly clarified that she had no intention of doing so.
Toronto Chief Bill Blair also would not discuss the alleged investigation after a police board meeting Monday. Asked whether his force had used an airplane to conduct surveillance on Mr. Ford or his circle, Chief Blair would only say: “I am not going to comment on any investigative technique.”
Mr. Ford denies that he uses crack cocaine and says the video does not exist.
With a report from George Halim