The latest allegations against the Liberal government are morally disgusting. Bribing someone with a job to stand down as a candidate is never acceptable. This should end in someone’s resignation (maybe the Premier’s).
Equally disgusting is the failure of the NDP (New Democratic Party), and PC’s (Progressive Conservatives) to admit they wouldn’t be tempted to use a similar practice. Politics at that level is about winning. Once you’ve won; it becomes about staying in power. It can be about a competitive edge that one person gives, over another.
The opposition P.C.’s are usually hungry for any reason to shout for Kathleen Wynne’s resignation. This scandal reaches deep within her office, so why haven’t they? Why haven’t the NDP? Maybe it’s because the moral high ground might be more of moral quicksand.
Section 96.1 (e) of the Ontario Elections Act reads: “No person shall directly or indirectly give, procure, or promise, or agree to procure a office or employment to induce a person to become a candidate or refrain from becoming a candidate.” The last part of the clause applies directly to what happened in Sudbury. Andrew Olivier was offered a job in exchange for standing down as a candidate. And he didn’t, instead running and losing as an independent.
Making it worse for the Liberals is the fact Olivier is a quadriplegic. He records all of his phone conversations because he can’t make notes. The audio not only makes the Liberals look guilty as sin, it makes them arrogant, and ignorant at the same time. They either didn’t realize Olivier’s limitations or didn’t think he would ever record a conversation between them. It brings to life a section of election law in a way it hasn’t been before.
The Liberals have missed a chance to take their own Accessibility Act seriously. If they’d allowed Olivier to run, and he’d won they could’ve held him up as an example. Maybe they could’ve put him in charge of completing its implementation. He’s obviously a smart man. They could’ve put him in cabinet.
The allegations arising from the Sudbury by-election is the reason people don’t vote, and have become so cynical. This is why politicians are repeatedly at the top of least-trusted professions lists. This is a pox upon all of your houses; may you wake up enough to fix it before the next provincial election.