When you tell someone they're not going to be your party's candidate in an upcoming byelection, that you're going to appoint someone else if they even try to run, but let's look at the bigger picture and consider not only what's best for the party but also how else you can stay involved politically instead of the job that's not available to you, is that a crime?
When you don't offer someone an appointment or a job, are you actually offering someone an appointment or a job?
Most reasonable people would say no. But in the hyper-partisan world of Queen's Park, where desperate NDP and PC opposition MPPs have been grasping at anything slightly smelly or unethical for years to scream, "Crime!" or "Corruption!", the answer is yes.
Sadly, the Ontario Provincial Police continues to entertain the notion that somehow a crime was committed when a couple of Liberals spoke to former Sudbury Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier about options for staying involved politically after they told him he wouldn't be the party's candidate in the Feb 5th provincial by-election.
"We have said repeatedly, and now the tapes have confirmed, that we
were working to see if we could keep this young man involved in the
team," said Premier Kathleen Wynne today.
"There had already been a decision made that Glenn Thibeault was going to be our candidate, and so now we're just going to work very hard to get him elected."
Of course, no amount of common sense will prevent opposition MPPs from seeing "crime" where there is merely ineptitude or something unseemly. It also seems Adrian Morrow of the Globe likes to hear things that aren't there too.
I listened to the recordings that were posted this week by Andrew Olivier. I have to agree that it doesn't appear that anything concrete was ever offered to him. But it was strongly hinted in his conversations with Sudbury Liberal bigwig Gerry Lougheed and Liberal operative Pat Sorbara that if he supported Wynne's choice for candidate that he could possibly find other ways to stay involved politically, perhaps with a run for the party in the future.
When you suggest sacrificing for the good of the team might benefit you in
the future, is that a crime? Or is it stating the obvious? It clearly wasn't obvious to Olivier, I guess.
Based on the phone recording, it's clear that Sorbara didn't offer Olivier anything concrete except possibilities. Some of the options discussed Sorbara clearly has no power to offer, such as work in Thibeault's theoretical constituency office (should he be elected) or on the party executive. Or even a provincial appointment.
But what is clear is how intent Olivier now is to wreck havoc on the party and leader with whom he was prepared to stand just a few weeks ago. His independent candidacy and the release of these recordings this week seem to be the last sticks of dynamite Olivier has loaded onto the bridge between him and the Liberal Party.
I'm not a hyper-partisan Liberal. I'm not really that active anymore. While I have worked for the party and volunteered for the party for
years, other mostly non-partisan, creative efforts command my attention these days. But I understand
how party politics works and I've seen dozens of people get shafted by
the powers-that-be in the Liberal party.
The true team players, when asked to make a sacrifice for the team, realize such sacrifices can possibly lead to future rewards. Rarely are those rewards clear or obvious when you make those sacrifices. There's usually only hope or a vague promise. It's the gamble you take when you make the sacrifice. I have no doubt in this case that Olivier is now just trying to exact some revenge. It strikes me as quite spiteful and short-sighted that Olivier, at the relatively young age of 36, has decided this is the hill he's prepared to politically die on.
Now his goal seems to be nothing more than ensuring the defeat of Glenn Thibeault in the by-election and electing the NDP, as his independent candidacy probably won't be garnering many votes come Feb 5th. One thing is certain: he's finished as a Liberal candidate in the future. That's too bad.
In the end, I suspect the OPP will again close the investigation, as will Elections Ontario, with zero charges laid. I hope that happens before Feb 5th.
You can dislike how things have been handled in Sudbury. But just because you don't like them, doesn't mean you have the right to call them, "Criminal!"