Liberal Canada jobs
A man who ran for the Ontario Liberal Party during the spring election claims the party offered him a job in exchange for him quietly ceding the nomination for an upcoming byelection.
Andrew Olivier was about 1, 000 votes away from becoming Ontario’s first quadriplegic MPP when then-NDP candidate Joe Cimino beat him during the spring election. But less than five months later, Cimini unexpectedly resigned and now the northern riding of Sudbury is facing a byelection in early 2015.
Olivier had hoped to run again, but in a statement to the media Monday, he said he was asked not to by the party and was offered “a job or appointment” instead. Premier Kathleen Wynne denied Olivier was offered anything specific in a press conference Monday.
A lengthy statement Olivier posted to Facebook details a very different story, in which long-time Sudbury Liberal Gary Lougheed first discouraged Olivier from running, before Wynne called him herself. Then, the premier’s deputy chief of staff and head of Ontario Liberal campaigning efforts weighed in, Olivier claims.
“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, ” Olivier wrote. “At that point, I was informed that if I sought the nomination, the Premier was prepared to bypass the nomination process, and appoint their chosen candidate.”
Sorbara flatly denied offering Olivier a job.
“I reached out to Andrew Olivier last week and discussed ways he could remain involved. Any suggestion that anything was offered in exchange for any action is categorically false. Just as the Premier said today, Andrew is a terrific person and I do sincerely hope he will stay involved, ” she said in a statement.
Olivier had a different takeaway:
“My message is clear. I will not be bullied or bought, ” Olivier said in a lengthy Facebook post.
At an unrelated press conference Monday, Wynne called Olivier a “terrific young man” she hopes will stay involved in politics. She said she only spoke to him when another, still unnamed, candidate became available to run who was able to during the spring election. The premier added Liberals reached out to Olivier so he knew they were looking at another candidate so he didn’t find out from other sources or the media.
“There were no specific offers of anything, ” Wynne said. She later repeated that discussions were had to keep Olivier involved in the party, “but there were no specific commitments.”
The Ontario Liberal Party does not have a strict open nomination process. In fact, the party constitution gives the party leader the ability to appoint as many as five candidates during a general election. This is often used to increase diversity, but patronage and local politics can also factor in.
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