In the wake of an Ontario Provincial Police investigation that found the provincial Liberals did not commit a criminal offence, a Sudbury, Ont., byelection candidate has released recordings to the public he feels will "clear the air."
Olivier, the party's candidate in last June's general election, says he was asked by Premier Kathleen Wynne to step aside because she had another candidate in mind, which she later revealed to be NDP MP Glenn Thibeault.
Olivier says Liberal officials asked him not to seek the nomination and suggested a job or appointment could be arranged — accusations the Liberals have denied.
Olivier, who is a quadriplegic and records conversations in lieu of taking notes, has posted audio to YouTube a conversation with a man he identifies as Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal and chair of Sudbury's police services board.
The man is heard saying he is there on behalf of the premier and that they would like him to consider stepping aside in the byelection race for Thibeault and "in the course of that deliberation" they would like to present Olivier with "options in terms of appointments, jobs or whatever."
The premier's office said Lougheed is neither a government nor Liberal staff member and speaks for himself.
In his own defence, Lougheed issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"As I’ve said, at no time did I make promises to Andrew there would be a job or an appointment in it for him if he stepped aside. I don't have the authority to offer jobs.
I approached Andrew in friendship and as a supporter from his last campaign.
The transcript shows that I told Andrew that the Premier wanted to talk with him, and I understand that in that conversation the Premier told him she had decided to name another candidate."
Olivier's Facebook posting
The following are Olivier's comments taken from his Facebook page, first published about 11 a.m. on Thursday:
"As a quadriplegic, writing notes is a luxury I do not have.
I record many of my one on one conversations and then log them for further use.
I did not wish to release the recordings of these conversations. But I have been left with no other option.
In order to clear the air once and for all, and to allow my fellow Sudburians to know the full and whole truth about what transpired, I am releasing my full and unedited conversations that took place on December 11th and 12th.
Someone once told me that all you have in life is your good name and your integrity.
I have to do what needs to be done to uphold both of those. A man can only take so much before he must finally stand up for himself.
I would like to say to everyone who has cast doubt on my openness and honesty, that I was telling the truth.
In these conversations, I was repeatedly asked what I want, and what my reward should be for stepping aside.
What I want – and what I’ve always wanted – is to fight for the needs of this community, and to uphold truth, honesty, and transparency.
To advocate for better schools, roads, and hospitals for my community. And to be Sudbury’s next Member of Provincial Parliament."
The following is the email response from Premier Wynne's office:
"Regarding the audio tapes released today by Andrew Olivier:
The tapes released today confirm what we have said all along.
The tape confirms that the Premier communicated to Andrew Olivier that he would not be the candidate, as per the Liberal Party Leader’s prerogative.
Pat Sorbara re-iterated the Premier’s decision and discussed ways Olivier could remain involved in the Party or in matters related to his own personal and stated interests, such as accessibility issues.
The tape confirms what Pat Sorbara said publicly last month – that any suggestion that anything was offered in exchange for any action is false. Olivier had already been informed that he would not be the candidate.
Pat Sorbara has been vindicated of the false allegations.
Gerry Lougheed is not Government or Liberal Party staff, he speaks for himself. What I can tell you is that the tapes confirm that Mr. Lougheed communicated to Olivier that he should speak to the Premier and that the Premier subsequently spoke with Andrew Olivier, informing him that he would not be the candidate."
Lyndsay Miller, press secretary to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne
The audio and transcripts
The following are transcripts that Olivier claims are of two separate discussions between him and Pat Sorbara, the premier's chief of staff, as well as between him and Sudbury Liberal party member Gerry Lougheed Jr. Neither Sorbara nor Lougheed have confirmed that they did speak with Olivier and that the conversations took place.
Pat Sorbara call to Andrew Olivier - December 12th 2014
Conversation between Gerry Lougheed and Andrew Olivier Dec. 11th 2014