Two Ontario Liberals On Trial For Election Act Bribery

Two members of the Ontario Liberal Party are now on trial for Election Act Bribery Charges, as the Kathleen Wynne-led government faces yet another scandal.

Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal fundraiser in Sudbury is facing one charge, while Pat Sorbara – former CEO of the Ontario Liberal Party – is facing two charges.

The scandal centres around the recruitment of NDP MP Glenn Thibeault to be the Liberal candidate in Sudbury for the 2015 byelection.

It seems Kathleen Wynne preferred Thibeault to the former Liberal candidate, and the Ontario Liberal Party went to extensive lengths to get Thibeault to run.

As noted by the CP, “One of Sorbara’s charges relates to an allegation she promised to get Thibeault “an office or employment” to induce him to become a candidate, which both deny.”

Additionally, it seems the party may have made an offer to the former candidate – Andrew Olivier – to entice him to step aside. According to the CP, “Sorbara and Lougheed are alleged to have offered Olivier a job or appointment in exchange for stepping aside for Thibeault, who was ultimately given the post of energy minister last year.”

Kathleen Wynne’s party faces a big political problem with this trial. In addition to already being incredibly unpopular, the scandal could cause the Ontario Liberals to lose even more support.

A key reason for that is because Andrew Olivier recorded his conversations. Wynne will be testifying in the trial, though she does not face charges.

Here’s part of what Lougheed said to Olivier, according to a recording: “So I come to you on behalf of the premier and on behalf of, I guess, Thibeault more indirectly, to ask you if you would consider stepping down — more than that Andrew, nominating him. In the course of that deliberation the premier wants to talk to you. They would like to present to you options in terms of appointments, jobs, whatever, that you and her and Pat Sorbara can talk about.”

According to the Election Act, nobody may “give, procure or promise or agree to procure an office or employment to induce a person to become a candidate, refrain from becoming a candidate or withdraw his or her candidacy.”

If convicted, Lougheed and Sorbara could face a penalty of $5,000. However, if the judge finds that they broke the law knowingly, they could face a fine of up to $25,000 in addition to the possibility of two years in prison.

Ontario Liberals have to go

The Ontario Liberals are showing all the signs of a party that has been in power far too long.

Even worse than the scandals and possible corruption, are the policies that have robbed much of the working-class and middle-class. Higher taxes, massive over-spending, insane debt levels, restrictive regulations, skyrocketing hydro rates, and an overly intrusive government have put Ontario in a very vulnerable position, and have made the province far less competitive economically.

For all those reasons, the Ontario Liberals have to go.

Spencer Fernando

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