02/05/2015 08:14 EST | Updated 04/07/2015 05:59 EDT

Ontario Liberals Violated Criminal Code With Alleged Bribe: Reports

TORONTO - Media reports say police believe two Ontario Liberals broke the law by offering a job to an individual in return for having him not run as a candidate in the Sudbury byelection.

The allegations are contained in an Ontario Provincial Police document sworn before a judge to get a production order for evidence, and was obtained by the Globe and Mail on Thursday.

The Globe and Mail report says OPP Detective-Constable Erin Thomas is quoted in the document as saying she "has reasonable grounds to believe and does believe" that the job offer to Andrew Olivier violates the criminal code.

Police cite section 125 (b), part of the code's anti-corruption section, which prohibits "negotiating appointments." The police allegations have not been tested in court, and no charges have been laid.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has denied that the Liberals made any specific offers to Olivier and has promised to co-operate with the police investigation.

Late last year Wynne asked Olivier, who ran for the Liberals in last year's general election, not to seek the nomination for Thursday's byelection because she wanted to appoint another candidate.

Olivier has alleged that the Liberals offered him a job or appointment in exchange for his stepping aside for Glenn Thibeault, who left his job as an NDP MP to run for the provincial Liberals.

Olivier, who is quadriplegic and records conversations in lieu of taking notes, posted audio to YouTube of his talks with two Liberals — Ontario Liberal campaign director Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed, a Sudbury Liberal fundraiser.

In one of the recordings Olivier posted to YouTube, a man he identified as Lougheed says he is there on behalf of the premier to ask if he would consider stepping aside and nominating Thibeault, and telling Olivier they want to give him options "in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever.''

Olivier said Sorbara called him the next day and suggested Wynne had all but decided to appoint Thibeault as the candidate in favour of an open nomination race.

"We should have the broader discussion about what is it that you'd be most interested in doing, then decide what shape that could take that would fulfil that, is what I'm getting at, whether it's a full-time or part-time job at a (constituency) office, whether it is appointments to boards or commissions, whether it is also going on the (party executive),'' Sorbara is heard saying in the recording.

Wynne has said Olivier's allegations are false, insisting that "there were no specific offers made in requests for any specific action" to Olivier.

The Liberals have said Olivier's recordings vindicate them, as they were discussing ways Olivier could remain involved in the party or with accessibility work, but only after he was already told he wouldn't be the candidate.

They also said Lougheed is neither a government nor Liberal staff member and speaks for himself.

In a statement to local media in December, Lougheed said that he does not have the authority to offer jobs and "at no time'' did he promise Olivier a job or appointment if he stepped aside.

The opposition parties had asked the OPP to investigate Olivier's allegations, suggesting they could contravene sections of the Criminal Code that relate to offering government advantages and securing appointments.

The OPP determined last month that no criminal offence was committed, but later reopen the investigation in light of Olivier's audio.

A spokeswoman for Wynne said late Thursday that it is common for an investigator to make an assertion in order to obtain a warrant.

"It is in no way confirmation that an offense has occurred," the spokeswoman said in an email.

Elections Ontario is also investigating and has interviewed both Wynne and Sorbara, after the New Democrats suggested the Liberals' alleged conduct violates the Election Act.

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