TORONTO -- An Ontario Provincial Police deputy commissioner who expressed concerns about a friend of the premier's being appointed the province's top cop has been fired.

A spokeswoman with the provincial police says Essex native Brad Blair was fired this morning.

Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne says the termination came at the direction of the deputy ministry of community safety and correctional services and was approved by the public service commission.

She directed questions about the reason for the firing to the ministry.

Blair has asked the courts to force the provincial ombudsman to investigate the hiring of Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner, a friend of Premier Doug Ford, as the new OPP commissioner.

Blair is also threatening to sue Ford, alleging that the premier damaged his reputation when Ford accused him of breaking the Police Services Act by speaking out against Taverner's hiring. Taverner's appointment has been delayed until the integrity commissioner completes an investigation.

Originally from Essex, Blair is graduate of the University of Windsor where he obtained a sociology degree.

He joined the OPP in 1986 and worked his way up from Constable in rural and northern Ontario, serving in detachments including Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Chatham.

With files from CTV Windsor.