Chair of Public Accounts Council says Dean French's niece 'remarkably qualified'

Gavin Tighe headshot

The Chair of Ontario's Public Accountants Council is defending the appointment of a niece of the Premier's ex chief of staff who was forced out of her post.

Katherine Pal resigned Tuesday after her ties to Dean French were revealed — a development that reportedly caused the Premier to "hit the roof"

"(Pal is) a remarkably qualified individual, frankly — a bachelor of commerce degree, certified financial planner, impeccable financial credentials," Gavin Tighe, himself an appointee of Doug Ford told NEWSTALK 1010's Moore in the Morning Wednesday.

"To be perfectly blunt, it's difficult to find members, it's very difficult to find female members with that type of background. It's unfortunate that this has occurred and that she's been disqualified from this."

Tighe was appointed to the council, tasked with making sure Ontario meets global accounting standards, last year. He has acted as Ford's personal lawyer and is representing French in a defamation case against ousted Progressive Conservative Randy Hillier.

Pal's position paid $700 four each of the council's four annual meetings, funded through public accountants' dues.

Ford has ordered a review of all pending appointments and warned that anyone "appointed for the wrong reason … will be removed from their positions."

Last week, the government announced four agents-general appointments — positions that haven't existed in the Ontario government since the 1990s — which come with salaries between $165,000 and $185,000. The roles aim to drum up business in the province.

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

The Globe and Mail reported that sources said Shields is related to French through his wife, and that Albrecht, 26, is friends with one of French's sons.

Both appointments were revoked a day later.

French resigned as the Premier's Chief of Staff on Friday.

with files from the Canadian Press