Thibeault should resign: North Bay’s MPP

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Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault should step down in the midst of an ongoing legal investigation related to the Sudbury byelection, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says..

Two prominent Ontario Liberals, including Premier Kathleen Wynne’s former deputy chief of staff, were recently charged with Election Act bribery charges related to the 2015 Sudbury by-election.

Monday, Crown prosecutor Vern Brewer indicated that Thibeault “sought certain benefits” to run in the provincial byelection, but was not formerly charged because it is “an offence to offer, not necessarily to receive a bribe.”

However, Thibeault’s lawyer reacted angrily to suggestions he “sought certain benefits.

“The Crown has chosen to sully Mr. Thibeault’s reputation without ever naming him as the target of its investigations, without ever charging him, and, most importantly, knowing that he will have no trial where he could mount a proper defence,” Ian Smith said in an e-mailed statement. “The unfairness of the situation is obvious and supremely frustrating.”

In his statement, Smith said Thibeault had done wrong and criticized Brewer’s comments, calling them “disgraceful.”

“I have seen in media reports of (Monday) afternoon comments attributed to the Crown prosecutor in the case against Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed,” said Smith. “Those comments, made outside of court to reporters, allege that Mr. Thibeault sought ‘benefits, offers, jobs or employment as a condition of running as the Liberal candidate in the 2015 Sudbury by-election. Those comments are false. Mr. Thibeault neither sought nor was offered a bribe.

“There are a number of problems with the comments made by the Crown prosecutor today. The prosecutor chose to make his remarks outside of court to reporters instead of respecting the sub judice rule, which recognizes the impropriety of out-of-court comment on a prosecution which is before the courts.”

Fedeli, however, claims “the energy minister is distracted by legal problems as opposed to working to address the hydro crisis his government created.

“In the court of public opinion, it’s clear this government and minister only do what’s best for the Liberal Party, not what’s best for the people of Ontario,” said Fedeli.

“In the North, we work hard and play by the rules. That’s the example we all expect in our elected officials. However, it’s clear Minister Thibeault has forgotten his Northern roots,” Fedeli added. “Will the energy minister do the right thing on behalf of his constituents and resign?”

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