‘A lot chaos that day’

Thibeault staffer tells bribery trial about the day when NDP MP an­nounced he was run­ning for pro­vin­cial Lib­er­als

The Sudbury Star - - FRONT PAGE - HAROLD CARMICHAEL THE SUD­BURY STAR

The day NDP MP Glenn Thibeault an­nounced he was re­sign­ing to run as the Lib­eral can­di­date in the 2015 pro­vin­cial by­elec­tion in Sud­bury is one Dar­rell Marsh will never for­get.

“Peo­ple came in yelling,” the for­mer part-time con­stituency of­fice em­ployee tes­ti­fied Thurs­day about what hap­pened Dec. 16, 2014. “I re­mem­ber peo­ple telling me off and tak­ing it out on me.

“I re­mem­ber see­ing peo­ple cry­ing, peo­ple who had worked hard for the NDP. There was a lot of chaos that hap­pened that day and the next day. We talked to lots of peo­ple. They were upset. We had to shut the of­fice down a lit­tle bit early be­cause we couldn’t take it. It was pretty tense.”

Marsh was tes­ti­fy­ing at the bribery trial of Sud­bury busi­ness­man and Lib­eral fundraiser Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Pa­tri­cia Sor­bara, for­mer deputy chief of staff in Wynne’s of­fice. They have pleaded not guilty. Lougheed is fac­ing one count and Sor­bara two. They’re ac­cused of of­fer­ing wouldbe can­di­date An­drew Olivier a job or ap­point­ment to get him to step aside for Glenn Thibeault, Wynne’s pre­ferred can­di­date.

Marsh in­di­cated he had worked in the of­fice since Novem­ber 2012 and upon hear­ing of Thibeault’s an­nounce­ment, be­gan think­ing about his fu­ture. Out of loy­alty to Thibeault, he de­cided to quit and work as a vol­un­teer on his elec­tion cam­paign.

“Dur­ing (New Demo­crat Joe) Cimino’s cam­paign (in the June 20, 2014, pro­vin­cial elec­tion), when I was fired, Glenn stood up for me and re­ally showed me a lot of re­spect,” he said. “You don’t know me, sir (to prose­cu­tor David McKercher). I’m not re­ally some­one who will in­ter­rupt a meet­ing and stand up, but I spoke up and spoke my mind.

“It was the right thing to do at the time. Glenn was a good per­son and a good em­ployer. I de­cided not to stay with the NDP. I didn’t have a good re­la­tion­ship with them.”

Marsh said he was paid a $2,000 hon­ourar­ium for his “pro­fes­sional con­sult­ing ser­vices” with the five­week cam­paign af­ter Thibeault made some in­quiries, and then landed a full-time con­stituency of­fice job af­ter Thibeault won the elec­tion. In Novem­ber 2016, Marsh left for a new job.

Marsh said he knew late in 2014 that Thibeault was in the midst of mak­ing a ma­jor de­ci­sion.

“I know that he said he did it for his fam­ily,” re­called Marsh. “I did say to Glenn ‘what­ever you do, I sup­port you.’ I know he had a de­ci­sion to make.”

Marsh said work­ing in the Thibeault cam­paign was an un­usual sit­u­a­tion.

“I was well aware the switch fac­tor was a ma­jor fac­tor,” he said. “Peo­ple were upset. There was a lot of stuff go­ing on.”

Full-time con­stituency of­fice worker Brian Band, mean­while, tes­ti­fied had a very sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence to Marsh. Hav­ing once worked with Thibeault in ra­dio (in fact, he was Thibeault’s boss), he joined the Thibeault of­fice in 2009.

When asked if, in late 2014, he knew Thibeault planned to leave the NDP, Band said he had a strong in­kling some­thing was com­ing down.

“I know he had an is­sue with Mr. (Thomas) Mul­cair, the NDP leader, in his role as cau­cus chair,” said Band. “I don’t think that he was happy at all. We had team meet­ings and things were dis­cussed and stuff.”

As for when he learned Thibeault was con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the NDP to run for the Lib­er­als in the Sud­bury by­elec­tion, Band said he did not know, only that his em­ployer was mulling it over.

“Just that it was a tough de­ci­sion for him to make, for him and his fam­ily,” said Band. “I re­mem­ber him speak­ing about the de­ci­sion. He had to re­spect all the fac­tors.”

Band said he did not know what his fu­ture would be if Thibeault left.

“I made a tough de­ci­sion to leave the fed­eral of­fice,” he said. “He was my friend, so, I de­cided to go and work in the cam­paign. That was as Christ­mas­time ... Glenn was hon­est with me. He made a tough de­ci­sion. He didn’t try to pres­sure me one way or an­other.”

Band said that in the days af­ter Thibeault’s an­nounce­ment, there was con­fu­sion.

“The of­fice was in dis­ar­ray,” he said. “I didn’t know what was go­ing. The Speaker of the House (of Com­mons) was run­ning the of­fice.”

As was the case with Marsh, Band said Thibeault was able to get him some money for his work in the cam­paign, the cheque com­ing to $2,800. Af­ter the elec­tion, Band said Thibeault of­fered him a job as in his con­stituency of­fice and he ac­cepted.

Band left the con­stituency of­fice last June and is now semi-re­tired.

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