Tuesday September 29, 2015
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 29, 2015
Furor over Sudbury bribery scandal continues
Ontario’s New Democrats demanded Premier Kathleen Wynne “come clean” Friday about her role — if any — in the Sudbury byelection scandal that led to criminal charges against a senior Liberal operative.
OPP charged prominent Sudbury Liberal Gerry Lougheed on Thursday after an investigation into allegations he offered former candidate Andrew Olivier a job to step aside for a Feb. 5 byelection.
Wynne refused to answer when asked directly who had instructed Lougheed to make the job offer, insisting she couldn’t comment because the case is now before the courts.
All the premier has to do is say “No,” said NDP house Leader Gilles Bisson.
“If she didn’t do it she should at least say so,” he said. “And I don’t see the courts as having anything to do with her ability to be able to deny that in fact she had anything to do with it.”
The Progressive Conservatives said they too want to know if Wynne ordered Lougheed to offer Olivier an incentive to step aside, and called on the premier to step down until the charges are dealt with.
Wynne maintains the Liberals were just trying to keep Olivier in the party fold, and there was no need to offer him anything to step aside because she had already decided he would not be the byelection candidate.
Wynne had convinced federal New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault to be the Liberal candidate in the byelection, and Lougheed said the premier wanted Olivier to step down and agree to nominate his replacement.
Olivier released recordings of his conversations with Lougheed and with Wynne’s deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, but he did not record his conversation with the premier.
“I come to you on behalf of the premier,” Lougheed said. “The premier wants to talk to you. They would like to present to you options in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever that you and her and Pat Sorbara can talk about.”
The recording is pretty damning, said Bisson.
“It is clear somebody in the premier’s office said: ‘go and offer Mr. Olivier a bribe not to run in the provincial byelection.’ The tapes are clear,” he said. “The premier has a responsibility to the people of Ontario to say I did or I did not order this particular thing to happen.” (Source: Toronto Sun)