Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Audio Released amid Liberal Byelection Allegations in Sudbury, Ont

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Audio Released amid Liberal Byelection Allegations in Sudbury, Ont

Article excerpt

Audio released amid Liberal byelection claims

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A spurned Liberal candidate for a Sudbury, Ont., provincial byelection released audio Thursday that he said backs up his claim that party officials offered him a job or appointment in exchange for stepping aside.

Andrew Olivier, the party's candidate in last June's general election who lost by fewer than 1,000 votes, was asked by Premier Kathleen Wynne to step aside for the upcoming Feb. 5 byelection because she had another candidate in mind -- which she later revealed to be NDP MP Glenn Thibeault.

Olivier, who is a quadriplegic and records conversations in lieu of taking notes, posted audio to YouTube of a conversation with a man he identified as Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal and chair of Sudbury's police services board.

"I come to you on behalf of the premier, and on behalf of Mr. Thibeault more indirectly, to ask you if you would consider stepping down and more than that Andrew, nominating him," the man identified as Lougheed is heard saying.

"In the course of that deliberation the premier wants to talk to you. We would like to present to you options in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever, that you and her and (Ontario Liberal campaign director) Pat Sorbara can talk about."

Lougheed is neither a government nor Liberal staff member and speaks for himself, the premier's office said in a statement.

Lougheed did not return messages left for him at the police services board and the funeral home he runs.

Wynne spoke with Olivier after Lougheed and she has said she encouraged him to stay involved, but that there were no specific offers or commitments made.

Sorbara called Olivier 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 said. …

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