THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – The race in Sudbury is on. A writ was issued today under Section 9.1 of the Election Act for a byelection in the electoral district of Sudbury. The byelection will fill a vacancy created in the provincial parliament.
Under the Election Act, elections must be called on a Wednesday and held the fifth Thursday after the date of the issue of the writ. Voting day will be February 5, 2015.
Former New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault will represent the Liberals. The New Democrats have Suzanne Shawbonquit as their candidate.
The campaign has been ongoing with some controversy at the start over the nomination of the Liberal candidate. NDP MPP Gilles Bisson has written to Elections Ontario, over comments made by the former Liberal candidate who was seeking the nomination.
On December 15th, Andrew Olivier issued a statement: “Last Thursday, I was asked to meet with Gerry Lougheed, who was contacting me on behalf of the Premier. As many already know, Gerry is something of a Liberal kingmaker and chief fundraiser for the Liberal Party in Sudbury…so I was optimistic and flattered about being asked to meet him.
“At the meeting, he told me they had someone else in mind for the candidate and they wanted that person acclaimed without being challenged and asked me to support their choice of candidate. I will not be identifying that person because it is not my information to share. He mentioned that if I stepped aside and endorsed this other person, that I should that I request to see what was in it for me. Perhaps a job or appointment. I informed Gerry that I have a job—we were sitting in my office— and that I would be seeking the nomination
“Shortly after, Premier Kathleen Wynne contacted me by phone and also told me she wanted someone else as the candidate. She has a vision for Sudbury but her vision did not include me as this candidate. And I respected her vision but didn’t agree with it And, finally, on Friday, the head of the Ontario Liberal Party campaign, Pat Sorbara, called me and reiterated suggestions of a job or appointment. I told Pat I had a job and that I wanted to seek the nomination to be Sudbury’s MPP”.
The New Democrats have asked Elections Ontario to look into this as it is, in their view a matter that violated Ontario legislation on offering an incentive to a candidate. Bisson says, “The allegation made by Mr. Olivier is deeply concerning. Mr. Olivier indicated that was being contacted on behalf of the Premier to offer him a job or appointment to induce him to refrain from becoming the Liberal candidate in the upcoming Sudbury by-election. As you know, this is a serious allegation, and a conviction carries a penalty of $25,000 and prison term of two years less a day.
“Ontarians deserve to know if this allegation is true, and if so, who ordered Mr. Lougheed and Ms. Sorbara to offer Mr. Olivier a “job or appointment” in exchange for his withdrawal from the Liberal nomination race,” concluded Bisson.