03/10/2015 01:01 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Sudbury Scandal: Wynne Says 'Scheduling Issue' Is Why She Hasn't Met With OPP

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday that she hasn't met with police investigating allegations of bribery and corruption because of a "scheduling issue."

The Ontario Provincial Police are probing allegations the Liberals offered would-be Sudbury byelection candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to step aside for their preferred candidate.

It has been more than seven weeks since audio recordings of the conversations in question were made public, prompting the police to reopen an investigation they had previously deemed closed.

And it has been more than five weeks since police went to court seeking access to the original recordings, but they have not yet interviewed the premier.

Conversations with Wynne's deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, and local Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed, who is also chair of Sudbury's police services board, are at the centre of the allegations. Wynne spoke to Olivier as well, but her call with him was not recorded.

Wynne said there are ongoing conversations with the police about scheduling an interview with her, but "the date just hasn't been set yet."

"There's lots happening in all of our lives and I can't tell you about the timing of the OPP," she said after an unrelated announcement.

In question period later, the Opposition said it suggests the premier does not take the investigation as seriously as she proclaims.

"Premier, you were so quick to interview with the chief electoral officer about this scandal, but you can't find the time to interview with the OPP," said Progressive Conservative John Yakabuski. "Is it because the chief electoral officer is a provincial appointee but the OPP carry handcuffs?"

The OPP began investigating allegations the Liberals' actions violated the Criminal Code late last year, but last month began looking into the conduct under the Election Act as well. Elections Ontario concluded that Sorbara and Lougheed's actions constitute an "apparent contravention" of a section of the Election Act concerning bribery but the agency has no mandate to conduct prosecutions.

Wynne said in question period she could hear heckling from the opposite benches about how she hasn't yet met with the OPP.

"I just think the members opposite need to understand that that's a scheduling issue," she said. "I have said repeatedly that I am co-operating with the authorities."

Progressive Conservative house leader Steve Clark said after question period that was a "lame excuse."

"I'm going to make her an offer right now," he said. "I'm going to tell her that she doesn't have to come to question period tomorrow. She can invest that hour in meeting with the OPP."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it shows Wynne is not taking the investigation seriously.

"I do have a very busy schedule — I think every elected person does," she said. "I think lots of people that are not elected have busy schedules, but it's about prioritization."

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