September sees the start of the bribe trials of two high-profile Liberals charged in connection with the 2015 Sudbury by-election. It’s alleged that Pat Sorbabra, the Premier’s former chief of staff, and Gerry Lougheed junior of Sudbury offered a job or appointment to former candidate Andrew Olivier in return for not seeking the Liberal nomination. They were charged with bribery under the Ontario Election Act and both have consistently denied the allegations. Moose News asked Nipissing MPP his thoughts about the upcoming trial after the public learned last week that Premier Kathleen Wynne and Sudbury MPP and energy minister Glenn Thibeault will testify on behalf of the Crown Attorney. Fedeli acknowledges that Wynne and Thibeault could each have used privilege to avoid testifying. But he quickly points out that doing this would have been “dreadful”. “It would be the worst possible choice to use your privilege,” Fedeli said.
Fedeli says when the trials begin, they create a very interesting situation. He notes that the players, Lougheed, Sorbara, Thibeault and Wynne are all Liberals. Fedeli says the Premier is a witness for the prosecution and has the trial starts to unfold with testimony from her and others, “there’s going to be a lot of squirming there”. The exact dates when Wynne and Thibeault will take the stand haven’t been announced. Although it wasn’t known at the time, Olivier was asked to step aside so that Thibeault, the federal New Democrat for Sudbury, could leave the NDP and run provincially for the Ontario Liberals.