Crown says he didn’t mean to imply wrongdoing by Ontario energy minister
TORONTO – The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says remarks made last month by a Crown attorney were not meant to imply any wrongdoing by Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault.
Vern Brewer, the federal prosecutor in an Election Act bribery case involving two Ontario Liberals, said outside court in Sudbury, Ont., that Thibeault “sought certain benefits” to run for the provincial Liberals.
Thibeault vehemently denied the Nov. 21 allegation and noted he hadn’t been charged with anything. His lawyer had said Brewer sullied his client’s reputation.
In a statement Wednesday, the Public Prosecution Service said Brewer wished to clarify that he never “suggested, nor intended to suggest” that Thibeault acted corruptly.
Thibeault said in a statement that he was “pleased that the issue arising from Mr. Brewer’s statements has been resolved,” adding that he would not comment further as the matter is before the courts.
The charges against the two provincial Liberals stem from allegations they offered a would-be candidate a job or appointment to get him to step aside in a 2015 byelection in Sudbury for Thibeault, who was Premier Kathleen Wynne’s preferred candidate.
Thibeault was then the New Democrat MP for Sudbury. He ultimately won the byelection for the provincial Liberals, and then was promoted to energy minister earlier this year.
Thibeault is named in one of the charges against Pat Sorbara, who took a leave of absence from her job as Wynne’s deputy chief of staff to become the Ontario Liberals’ CEO and 2018 campaign director – posts she resigned from when the charges were laid. She is alleged to have promised to get Thibeault “an office or employment” to induce him to become a candidate.
Sorbara denies the charges, as does her co-accused, Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed.
Sorbara and Lougheed’s case has been adjourned to Jan. 18 for a judicial pre-trial.
New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh had asked the Chief Electoral Officer in early November to relaunch an investigation into the events leading up to the 2015 Sudbury byelection.
Elections Ontario, in an email dated Dec. 12, says the allegations in Singh’s complaint “do not constitute an apparent contravention on the Election Act.”
“Furthermore, we understand the OPP have already conducted and concluded an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the 2015 Sudbury byelection,” the email states.
© 2016 The Canadian Press