Opposition pushes Kathleen Wynne on ‘two versions...
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Feb 18, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Opposition pushes Kathleen Wynne on ‘two versions of the truth’ in byelection scandal

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s version of events in the Sudbury byelection scandal is facing new question

OurWindsor.Ca

Premier Kathleen Wynne is facing new questions about her version of an alleged job offer in the Sudbury byelection as opposition parties dig deeper into the scandal under investigation by the OPP.

The NDP and Progressive Conservatives pushed Wynne to reconcile her insistence that former Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier was not offered a position with tape recordings that appear to capture Liberal operatives Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed dangling prospects of a post for him.

“We are confronted with two versions of the truth . . . . It’s apparent that somebody here is not being quite truthful,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath charged after Wynne repeated “there were no specific offers.”

“Will she come clean . . . or will we just see more cover-ups?” Horwath added, keeping pressure on a government also facing police investigations into deleted gas plant emails and the ORNGE air ambulance service.

Olivier, who ran for the Liberals in last June’s provincial election, had hoped to carry the party banner in the Feb. 5 byelection. But the Liberals had wooed Sudbury New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault into defecting and Wynne said she wanted to appoint him as her candidate.

The premier characterized conversations with Olivier — who ran as an independent as placed third behind the victorious Thibeault — as being aimed at keeping him involved in the party.

“They were suggestions about things he might apply for,” Wynne told the legislature. “Any suggestion that anything was offered in exchange for any action is simply false.”

Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton accused the premier of continuing to “dance around this issue” and said “something stinks here” given that the OPP obtained a court order to get certified copies of Olivier’s taped conversations with Lougheed, a Sudbury organizer for the Liberals, and Sorbara, Wynne’s deputy chief of staff.

Olivier often tapes conversations for note-taking purposes because he is a quadriplegic. His allegations of an illegal job offer, also being investigated by Elections Ontario, have not been proven in court and no charges have been laid.

Both Sorbara and Lougheed, a businessman and chair of Sudbury’s police board, have maintained they have done nothing wrong. Both have rejected opposition demands they resign their public posts.

The Liberals tried to turn the tables on the opposition, noting Conservative MPP Laurie Scott quit her Lindsay-area riding in 2009 so then-leader John Tory could run for a seat in the legislature and was given a job helping the party with election readiness.

“It might just be a coincidence,” quipped deputy premier Deb Matthews.

Tory, now mayor of Toronto, lost that election to a Liberal and resigned as PC leader but Scott won her seat back in 2011.

Toronto Star

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