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Ontario Hansard - 10-March2015
BY-ELECTION IN SUDBURY
Mr. Steve Clark: Mr. Speaker. I hope you’ll give me some leeway as our Premier sprints to her seat.
My question is in fact to the Premier. Premier, the RCMP raided the headquarters of the Ontario Provincial Police Association on Friday. Yesterday, it was announced that three senior OPP officials—the president, the vice-president and the CAO—are all taking voluntary leaves of absence while the investigation is ongoing.
Back in mid-December, I wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer and the commissioner of the OPP, and an investigation has been launched ever since that involves your deputy chief of staff and a senior Liberal operative in Sudbury. To this day, both of those individuals have yet to step aside, even as the investigation into their alleged bribes continues.
Premier, why is it that individuals who represent our police know to step aside when they’re under investigation, but your staff does not?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: The member opposite knows that this is an active police matter, and that I’m not going to be able to comment any further—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Prince Edward–Hastings will come to order, and the member from Lanark will come to order as well.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the Sudbury by-election, I’ve been very, very clear that there is an investigation ongoing. I’ve been clear about the trajectory of what my intentions are, in terms of if there is a charge—that Pat Sorbara would step aside. I’ve made that statement publicly. We’re going to let the investigation take place outside of this Legislature.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Steve Clark: Back to the Premier. Premier, I can’t believe, in a scrum this morning, you acknowledged that you still have yet to meet with the Ontario Provincial Police about the ongoing investigation. But then again, when pressed on the allegations against your staff, you were quoted as saying, “I will not force someone to resign over allegations I do not believe to be true.” That’s the quote.
The people who are investigating you know when to do the right thing, and they’ve done it. The police have done the right thing, Premier. My question is, is your staff above the law?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Again, I take this matter very seriously. I’ve spoken to it repeatedly. The independent investigation is ongoing.
I just would remind the member opposite that I think he himself said that it’s important to “stop interfering in an ongoing investigation and let it run its course.”
We have to make sure that kind of interference doesn’t happen, Mr. Speaker. I’m not going to do that, and I don’t think the other side should either.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.
Mr. Steve Clark: Back to the Premier: In a news release, the OPPA wrote that it is “in the best interests of the association and its membership, effective immediately,” that the members take “voluntary leaves of absence from the OPP Association.”
Premier, the opposition, the public and the police know that it is in the best interest that your operatives step aside while they are under investigation. Premier, will today be the day that your government finally demonstrates integrity? Premier, will today be the day that Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed step aside?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate you acknowledging me.
I want to remind the member opposite again that the OPPA investigation he refers to, or any other police investigation, is exactly that, Speaker—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Stormont will come to order. I would almost ask him to withdraw, if I thought I heard what I thought I heard.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Okay. Thank you.
Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, these are matters which are being dealt with by the police. These are live investigations. We should respect that. As we’ve said repeatedly, these are matters to be taken seriously. They need not to be discussed here in this House. I heed the advice of the member opposite when he said let the police do their work; let the police do their investigation. We respect that.
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