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Wynne: Liberal party CEO will step aside if charged under Elections Act

Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

By Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief

TORONTO - 

Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged Tuesday morning that one of her key aides will be charged by police in connection with the Sudbury byelection scandal.

Wynne told reporters that if her former deputy chief of staff, Pat Sorbara is charged she will step down from her current role as President of the Ontario Liberal Party. According to a Toronto Star report, both Sorbara and Sudbury Liberal operative Gerry Lougheed, will be charged with allegedly violating the Elections Act during the 2015 byelection. The pair are alleged to have offered candidate Andrew Olivier an inducement to step aside to make way for the Liberals’ star candidate, former NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, who is now Energy Minister.

"We are now at a point where we understand that charges will be laid," Wynne said. "I said in 2015 if charges were laid Pat would step aside. If they are laid, that's what will happen."

Wynne was asked about the investigation Monday, but said at the time she had no knowledge of the pending charges. Sorbara moved from a job in the Premier's office to her role with the party earlier this year to help prepare for the 2018 election. Wynne said the investigation had no bearing on that move.

"That was a change that was made that was a role that needed to be filled. Pat Sorbara has the skill set to play that role. In terms of the on-going investigation, that wasn't part of the conversation."

Wynne was asked if the party will pay both Sorbara and Loughheed's legal bills and referred the questions to the Liberal Party.

sjeffords@postmedia.com

 



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