Wynne Liberals threw a quadriplegic under the bus
What we have learned thus far from the bribery trial going on in Sudbury is that the Wynne Liberals are so cold and calculated that they had no qualms throwing a quadriplegic under the bus.
This takes some brass. When running for the Liberals in the 2014 provincial election, Andrew Olivier, a mortgage specialist paralyzed from the chest down since 14 following a bantam minor hockey accident, managed to come within a handful of votes of defeating NDP candidate Joe Cimino.
He would get no second chance.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, in the witness box last week at the trial of two highranking Liberals charged with bribery in relation to allegedly fiddling with the 2015 byelection, testified Wednesday that Olivier “hadn’t been a great candidate.”
She said she wanted to “keep him involved” in the party, but didn’t want his name on the ballot.
It purportedly had nothing to do with sure-thing federal MP Glenn Thibeault knocking on her back door, and wanting to switch sides and to downsize — as in leaving the federal NDP to run for less dough as a provincial Liberal.
No, according to Wynne, it was comments Olivier made during the 2014 election campaign about merging Catholic school boards with the public ones that was “antithetical” to her party.
Now there’s a humdinger of a word. Antithetical.
No need to run to your Funk & Wagnalls, however. It means “mutually incompatible.”
So, under the bus went Olivier, wheelchair and all, which is why Pat Sorbara, Wynne’s former chief of staff and campaign director, and Gerry Lougheed, a Sudbury funeral home director and Liberal bagman, are now facing charges under the Elections Act.
This is harsh criticism regarding Olivier’s treatment, and even harsher optics, but someone had to say it.
With the prospect of Thibeault turning his back on the federal NDP to carry his Sudbury banner for the
Wynne Liberals, all progressive liberal thought about affirmative action and inclusiveness for the disabled was quickly tossed in the trash bin.
Olivier was not getting the premier’s nod, despite coming oh-so-close in 2014.
Thibeault had all but promised victory.
As he wrote in one telling e-mail, “My folks here in Sudbury will follow me. They are loyal to me, and not the (NDP).”
It worked out well for the Liberals, of course.
Thibeault handily won the 2015 byelection, supposedly with no incentives promised, or propositions made, because that would be both unethical and illegal.
But today he sits in Wynne’s cabinet as minister of Energy.
Surely, this is mere coincidence.
The Liberals, without question, are a crafty crew, however, and very adept at the art of deception and deflection.
On the very morning Wynne was set to testify, for example, she had her lawyers publicly raise the threat of libel action against Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown for misspeaking that Wynne, herself, was on trial.
As a result, it was the prime topic for radio talk shows all that day, and even the lead item on many newscasts. It was very clever of them. Brilliant, even.
Wynne, by all accounts, was poised and confident on the witness stand, although no doubt unimpressed by the artists’ courtroom sketches that leave subliminal messages of being an accused.
A columnist for The Toronto Star, a newspaper that can always be counted upon to find a Liberal pony under a pile of manure, opined that there may be many reasons not to vote for the Wynne Liberals again, but this bribery trial isn’t one of them.
If throwing a quadriplegic under a bus for political gain doesn’t qualify, then God forbid what will.
Andrew Olivier leaves court following the first day in an Election Act bribery trial in Sudbury.
THIBEAULT Jumped ship