Wynne Government Operatives Charged
(November 14, 2016) It is another scandal that is unprecedented in Ontario history. Premier Kathleen Wynne's former chief of staff, Patricia Sorbara, and a top Liberal fundraiser, Gerry Lougheed, have been charged with bribery under Ontario's Elections Act for their role in the 2015 Sudbury by-election.
If you recall, the scandal stems from the Liberal staffers allegedly trying to bribe Andrew Olivier with a job or public appointment in exchange for his withdrawal from seeking the candidacy. All so Wynne's preferred candidate, a former MP and the current Ontario Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault could run.
The police have called the charges laid an unprecedented investigation.
Elections Ontario has said they have never conducted anything like it.
It's an extraordinary turn of events for our province, and the fact of the matter is the public deserves answers.
That is why questions about the scandal from both opposition parties have dominated the legislature in recent weeks.
Specifically, we have asked the Premier: who ordered the accused to make the bribe, what she knew and when she knew it.
We have asked the Premier: why instead of distancing herself from Pat Sorbara she rewarded her former chief of staff with leading her next campaign as CEO of the Ontario Liberal Party.
We have asked the Minister of Energy, MPP Glenn Thibeault, if he was offered anything to run for the seat. The Minister has also been named in the investigation but refuses to step down, which goes against ancient parliamentary convention and tradition.
The government has refused to answer any of our questions.
The bottom line is Ontarians deserve better.
Remember, this is the same government that has been plagued by scandals, waste and mismanagement for almost their entire time in office. And, the same government that has been under five OPP investigations, of which we have seen four senior Liberal operatives charged.
It begs the question of how many more senior Liberal operatives need to be charged before the Premier takes responsibility and makes herself personally accountable?
A conviction for Sorbara or Lougheed carries a penalty of up to $25,000 and/or up to two years less a day in jail.
The people of Ontario deserve a government that puts the best-interests of the province before any political self-interest. This is obviously not the case in Ontario. As MPP for Simcoe-Grey, I will continue to do everything I can to make this government accountable to the people of our province.