Andrea Horwath letter to Premier Wynne regarding Elections Ontario report

February 20, 2015


Premier Kathleen Wynne

Room 281, Legislative Building

Queen’s Park, Toronto


Dear Premier,
The Election Ontario investigation findings that your Deputy Chief of Staff Pat Sorbara and senior Liberal operative Gerry Lougheed Jr. violated the Elections Act for bribery is unprecedented and is happening under your watch. 
As of today there are two OPP investigations into Ms. Sorbara and Mr. Lougheed’s attempts to bribe Mr. Andrew Olivier with an “appointment or job” in exchange for his withdrawal from the Liberal nomination race in the Sudbury by-election. 
Premier, this scandal is a clear breach of trust between your government and the people of Ontario.

On your first day as Premier of Ontario, you made a commitment to the people of this province. In reference to past Liberal government corruption, you said your government will:

Holds itself to the highest standards of performance and integrity…We must acknowledge our mistakes, take responsibility for them and work together to guarantee that they are not repeated. 

After a decade of Liberal scandals, you asked Ontarians to put their faith in you.  You promised you would clean up your party, clean up your office and clean up the Liberal government. Sadly, two years later senior Liberals have been caught offering bribes, under your direction.  You have refused to take any responsibility, and you are denying that any mistake was made.  Rather than restore faith in your government, you are undermining Ontarians confidence and trust in the democratic process. 

I’m calling on you to do the right thing and keep the promise you made two years ago. I’m calling on you to acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for them.
The first step is to remove Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed from their positions of public trust until all criminal and legal proceedings into this scandal are concluded.

The second is to make clear when you decided to appoint Glenn Thibeault and your role in directly or indirectly issuing the order for Mr. Lougheed and Ms. Sorbara to make the offers to Mr. Olivier.

There is ample precedent in Ontario and across the country that when someone is under criminal investigation they step aside from their duties until the investigation is complete.  However, your unwavering refusal to remove Ms. Sorbara and Mr. Lougheed from their duties is nothing short of disgraceful and an insult to the people of Ontario. 
Premier, there are two independent OPP investigations that say your top aides broke the law.
Senior Counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada has filed a “Factum in support” of the OPP’s ITO and wrote that at the core of the “offense was the corrupt act of dealing in appointments”
OPP Detective Constable Erin Thomas wrote:

I do believe on reasonable ground that between the dates of 11th December 2014 and 12th December 2014, in the Province of Ontario, that Gerry Lougheed and Patricia Sorbara committed the offence of Negotiating appointments contrary to section 125(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada
I believe these references to the Premier in conjunction with the suggestions of appointments, jobs or commissions relates directly to the authority of the Premier who may in fact have the ability to secure an office for Olivier should he choose to comply with the request and step aside. I believe this reference to the Premier’s authority threatens the appearance of the government’s integrity 

Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer said: 

I have reviewed the report of Stockwoods LLP as well as all transcripts of the interviews and recordings. Having taken into account these facts and the applicable legal provisions, I am of the opinion that the actions of Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Patricia Sorbara constitute apparent contraventions of subsection 96.1(e) of the Election Act.

Every day that you keep Ms. Sorbara and Mr. Lougheed on the public payroll and making decision that affect Ontarians it further damages the government’s integrity and confidence in our political system.
Premier, you stood in the House and said by the time Andrew Olivier was being offered jobs and appointments, you “had already had a conversation with the former candidate about the fact that [you] was going to appoint a candidate.” 

This is contradicted in taped conversations by Gerry Lougheed and Pat Sorbara.  It is contrary to the findings of the OPP investigation and the Elections Ontario Investigation.

On December 12th, after speaking with the Premier, Andrew Olivier told Pat Sorbara, “the Premier has to make her decision” 

Pat Sorbara didn’t dispute that.

Rather, she told Olivier, the Premier is “gonna have to make a decision around the appointment”.  According to Sorbara no decision had been made. 

This version of the truth is further supported by Gerry Lougheed’s taped December 11th conversation in which Lougheed tells Olivier, “the Premier up to now, has always said to me, she’s in favour of a nomination race. So I want to make that really clear, she’s never said to me ‘I want to appoint him’,”

The timelines don’t match and neither does your story.  It's time to come clean on when you decided you were going to appoint a candidate in the Sudbury by-election.
Premier, your behaviour during this scandal speaks volumes about the Liberals’ arrogance, cynical politicking and corruption, and now calls into question the integrity of the entire Liberal government.  Ontarians expect their politicians to make laws, not break them.  

It’s time to put the interests of Ontarians ahead of the interests of the Liberal Party.   It’s time to keep your promise, acknowledge your mistakes, take responsibility, do the right thing and remove Ms. Sorbara and Mr. Lougheed.


(original signed)

Andrea Horwath, Leader
Ontario New Democrats