NEWS

Kathleen Wynne won't ask 2 Liberals in byelection controversy to step down

02/20/2015 11:30 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne accused the NDP and Progressive Conservatives of hypocrisy, and insisted she won't ask her staff to step down as a result of an investigation into bribery allegations linked to a byelection earlier this month.

The allegations focus on Wynne's deputy chief of staff, Patricia Sorbara, and a Sudbury-area Liberal Gary Lougheed Jr. 

An Elections Ontario report alleged the two contravened the bribery section of the Election Act. Ontario Provincial Police are doing a concurrent investigation.

"If charges are laid in the future, then Pat Sorbara will of course step aside," Wynne said Friday at a surprise news conference. "In the meantime, I will not force someone to resign in the face of allegations that I do not believe to be true."

She went on to lash out at her government critics, saying the two opposition parties were guilty of the same discussions as Sorbara and Lougheed.

The report and ongoing allegations refer to an alleged offer made to Andrew Olivier, a former Liberal candidate in Sudbury, to step aside and allow another candidate to run. That other candidate, former federal NDP member Glenn Thibeault, eventually contested and took the seat.

The report appears to clear Wynne and Thibeault.

Olivier has alleged that a job or appointment was offered to him in exchange for not seeking the Liberal nomination. He had previously run for the Liberals and intended to run again in the Feb. 5 byelection.

Olivier released recordings of the discussion he had with Lougheed  and Sorbara, as he records all conversations due to a disability.

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