Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, February 20, 2015
Elections Ontario finds ‘apparent contravention’ of Election Act by Liberals
Elections Ontario has found an “apparent contravention” of anti-bribery provisions in its Election Act probe of allegations two Liberal operatives offered a job to a former Grit candidate in the Sudbury byelection.
The case has been turned over to the Ministry of the Attorney General, which must now decide whether to refer the case to police, in what Elections Ontario chief Greg Essensa called “unprecedented circumstances.”
“This provision concerns bribery in connection with inducing a person to become, refrain from becoming, or withdrawing from being a candidate,” he added in a statement.
“No chief electoral officer of Ontario has ever conducted a regulatory investigation into allegations of bribery.”
Timeline: Sudbury byelection
The bombshell revelation fuelled opposition demands Premier Kathleen Wynne fire one of the people in question, her deputy chief of staff Pat Sorbara, and have Sudbury Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed removed from the city’s police services board, which he chairs.
“Cut these two bad apples loose,” Progressive Conservative House Leader Steve Clark said in a raucous question period in the legislature.
“If you stand with these two, you’re going to fall with these two.”
Wynne defended Sorbara and said “we will let this process unfold.”
“We’ve all just received this information,” said Wynne, adding “this is just the next stage in Elections Ontario’s process.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was aghast at the premier’s response and demanded the case be referred to an independent prosecutor.
“This is a shameful demonstration by a government that will simply not take responsibility for its actions,” she said, noting the OPP is also investigating the deleted emails in the government’s $1.1 billion gas plants scandal and questionable business practices at the ORNGE air ambulance service.
“The people of Ontario deserve better than this.”
Wynne has repeatedly maintained “there were no specific offers” of a job to Andrew Olivier in conversations he taped with Sorbara and Lougheed. (Source: Toronto Star)