Criminal charges laid in by-election scandal
OPP on Thursday laid criminal charges in Sudbury by-election scandal. Allegations were made by a former Liberal candidate who said that he was offered a job to step aside to make way for another candidate in Feb 5 by-election in Sadbury.
According to OPP release, Gerry Lougheed, a prominent Sudbury Liberal, has been charged with one count of counseling an offence not committed and one count of unlawfully influencing or negotiating appointments. The police investigation was launched after Andrew Olivier, the Liberal candidate in the 2014 general election, said he was offered an appointment to step aside in the byelection for Premier Kathleen Wynne’s preferred candidate, former New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault. Thibeault won the by-election for the Liberals.
Andrew Olivier recorded his telephone conversations with Lougheed, whom he describes as a Liberal king maker and with Wynne’s deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara, in which he said he was asked if he wanted a job. Olivier released audio recordings of his conversations with Sorbara and Lougheed. In her response to these allegations Premier Wynne said the Liberals were just trying to keep Olivier in the party fold, and that there was no need to offer him a job or appointment. OPP investigators questioned Wynne in April about Olivier’s allegations against Lougheed and Sorbara, but despite opposition demands the premier never removed Sorbara from her office. Both Sorbara and Lougheed have denied the allegations.
Few months ago, Elections Ontario said that Lougheed and Sorbara’s actions constituted an “apparent contravention”‘ of the Election Act concerning bribery, but the agency has no mandate to conduct prosecutions.