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Premier Doug Ford continues to defend the provincial government’s decision to appoint his friend Ron Taverner to head the Ontario Provincial Police. Mr. Ford said this week that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. This was a “political appointment,” he argued, and he had the right to choose anyone he wished.

That might be technically true, but it misses the point by a country mile. The job of leading the OPP is not a patronage plum, to be handed out at the whim of the party in power. In any case, Mr. Ford ran for office last spring on a pledge to end the old practice of handing plums to pals. He said voters were sick of all that. The Ontario Liberals had spent 15 years in power “lining the pockets of their friends and Liberal insiders.” When the Progressive Conservatives took office, “What we won’t be doing is feathering anybody’s nest.”

Those words ring hollow now. Mr. Ford’s government has already handed out a basketful of plums. Ford campaign adviser Ian Todd got a $350,000 post as Ontario’s trade representative to the United States, based in Washington. Rueben Devlin, a former president of the PC Party, got a $348,000 job heading a new agency for improving the health-care system. Dr. Devlin, who was chief of Toronto’s Humber River Hospital for years, was part of the Ford transition team. Lawyer Gavin Tighe becomes chair of the Public Accountants Council. He represented Toronto mayor Rob Ford, the Premier’s late brother, when he was sued for defamation in 2012.

Then there is Supt. Taverner. The chief cop for the Fords’ bailiwick in suburban Toronto, he has been a friend of the family for years. So, naturally, Doug Ford thinks he is great choice to head the provincial police. The Premier doesn’t see any trouble with having his chum head up a force that might be called on to investigate possible misdeeds by his government.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that Supt. Taverner met multiple times with Mr. Ford in the months before getting the job. That raises more than a few questions about the Premier’s claim that he had “zero influence” over the hiring process. So, for that matter, does the fact that the government lowered the qualifications for the job, easing the way for Supt. Taverner, whose rank would have made him ineligible.

The OPP job was not the last of the plums dispensed by Mr. Ford’s “Government for the People.” Quite unabashed by the uproar over Taverner affair, he announced last week that his principal secretary, Jenni Byrne, was leaving his office to take a seat on the Ontario Energy Board. The two-year appointment pays $197,000 a year. Ms. Byrne is a veteran of Tory backrooms. She ran election campaigns for Stephen Harper in 2011 and 2015. She played a leading role in Mr. Ford’s successful run for office. She is said to have been a voice of reason in the fledgling Ford government.

But what, exactly, qualifies her to oversee the province’s energy regulator? The OEB sets electricity and natural-gas rates, a complex matter in a regulated energy market. Its board members include a former chief regulatory officer for Hydro Ottawa and a former executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Of course, Mr. Ford is hardly the first premier to appoint friends and associates to cushy government jobs. Most new governments clear out the appointees of the old regime and install their own: supporters, pals, failed party candidates and other friendly faces. It is such a common practice that it barely raises an eyebrow when someone such as Ms. Byrne gets a reward, although the public grows steadily more cynical.

What makes this round of favours stand out is that Mr. Ford swore to be different. He would oust the self-serving “elites” that dominate Ontario politics. He would bring integrity, accountability and transparency back to the halls of power. He would “stop the gravy train” at Queen’s Park. Well, the train rolls on. Perhaps when he promised a government for the people, what he really meant was a government for our people.

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