Ontario’s human rights watchdog made a shortlist for new commissioners. Doug Ford picked two of his own instead

Premier Doug Ford has quietly appointed a Toronto police officer and a professor with Progressive Conservative links to sit on the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Star has learned.

Const. Randall Arsenault — a 19-year police veteran with Indigenous roots and a sizable following on social media, where he has lauded Ford — and Violetta Igneski, a McMaster University associate professor in philosophy, were chosen to fill two commissioner positions.

The human rights commission was caught off-guard by the political appointments, which were made on Jan. 14 but have yet to be officially announced.

They come amidst the rights watchdog’s ongoing inquiry into allegations of racial profiling and discrimination against the Toronto Police Service, raising questions around the optics and timing — and the potential for conflict of interest.

Neither Arsenault nor Igneski were among about 330 applicants for commissioners’ posts submitted for vetting to Renu Mandhane, Ontario’s chief commissioner of human rights.


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