January 13, 2015 - Vol. 4
By-Election Called for February 5
• By-Election Called for February 5
• Crisis of Democracy Once Again Shows
Necessity for Democratic Renewal - David Starbuck
• Independent Announces Candidacy
• Brief Chronology of Recent Political
By-Election Called for February 5
The provincial government announced January 7 that the
writ had been issued for a February 5 by-election in Sudbury to replace
NDP MPP Joe Cimino, who won the seat last June, but resigned after five
months on the job citing family and personal reasons. Cimino's election
ended almost 19 years in which the
Liberals held the seat.
The resignation developed into a crisis of democracy
when Andrew Olivier, the Liberal candidate in last June's election held
a press conference December 15 and announced that he had been asked by
Gerry Lougheed Jr., a Sudbury Liberal Party fundraiser; Pat Sorbara,
the Premier's assistant chief of staff; and Premier Kathleen Wynne to
stand aside for a "choice candidate." Olivier also said it was
intimated that there was a job or appointment for him should he endorse
The next day, Glenn Thibeault, the NDP MP for Sudbury,
announced that he would resign the federal seat because he had been
appointed by Premier Wynne as the Liberal candidate in the Sudbury
by-election, and that this precluded a normal nomination process. This
announcement set off a storm of protest in Sudbury
in which Thibeault's actions have been widely condemned as betrayal and
Crisis of Democracy Once Again Shows Necessity for
The December 16 announcement by the Ontario Liberal
Party that it
had appointed NDP MP Glenn Thibeault as its candidate in the Sudbury
provincial by-election and had thereby cancelled the normal nomination
process has brought to the fore the profound crisis in a so-called
democratic system in which the
people's participation is blocked. This followed the December 15
revelation by Andrew Olivier, the Liberal candidate in last June's
general election, that he had been pressured by Liberal bigwigs,
including Premier Kathleen Wynne, to step aside in favour of Thibeault,
with the prospect of a plum job or appointment
in store for him should he cooperate.
The crisis of democracy in Sudbury shows the necessity
to come to
terms with the cartel party system that keeps the people out of power
and to step up the work for the democratic renewal of the political
process to empower the citizenry, not the political parties, as the
decision-makers in society.
The cartel parties monopolize Ontario politics. They
keep people out
of decision-making and control the levers of state power. They consider
politics to be a partisan game in which the goal is to be on the
winning team -- the team that gets to divvy up the spoils of office
amongst themselves and their cronies.
At times, the party that has been elected declares that the situation
has changed and that they must implement what they campaigned against.
At other times, two parties split the vote and a party with a minority
of popular votes wins a majority of seats and exercises a dictatorship
over decision-making for their term
of office. This time, an elected MP switched parties, with evidence of
a promise of an appointment as cabinet minister or parliamentary
assistant, thus negating the will of the electors of Sudbury who
thought they had elected a representative who stood for a certain
The key thing in the democratic process is to ensure
popular will is expressed. In the past year, there has been
considerable confusion internationally as to what constitutes
democracy. In Hong Kong, there was the Umbrella Movement this past
fall. A colour revolution backed by U.S.-financed NGOs,
the Umbrella Movement attempted to undermine the government of China by
making a fuss about the process in which an electoral council is to
select three candidates, one of whom will be elected in a popular vote.
This they said was anti-democratic, demanding the right to nominate
candidates directly and demanding
"real" democracy as in the U.S., UK and Canada. It is unlikely that
Kathleen Wynne, Glenn Thibeault and the Ontario Liberals will be making
reference to the Umbrella Movement anytime soon.
In Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, the people organized
spring in which they voted to exercise their right to
self-determination. U.S.-led critics denounced these referenda as
anti-democratic, objecting to the fact that these referenda were held
at all as well as certain procedures such as the use of Plexiglas
ballot boxes and proxy votes. What the critics have refused to
recognize is that the results of these referenda reflected the will of
the people and their striving for arrangements that serve their
interests. It is important to look at the essence of the matter in its
real context and not simply laud high ideals with which
In my opinion, the will of the people of Sudbury is to
representative who represents their interests and not those of the
cartel parties. Sudburians have an opportunity to participate in this
by-election in a manner that empowers them and opposes the cynicism of
the cartel party system that plays them for
fools. Sudburians should go all out to mobilize each other to see that
a candidate is elected whose mandate comes from the popular will not
the anti-social austerity agenda championed by the cartel parties, and
that whoever is elected is held to account. Doing so would firmly
reject the blackmail that the people cannot
take an independent stand and are beholden to the ruling circles to set
Independent Announces Candidacy
Andrew Olivier announced on January 5 that he will run
in the upcoming Sudbury by-election as an independent candidate.
Olivier was the Liberal candidate in last June's provincial election,
losing to NDP candidate Joe Cimino by 980 votes. After Cimino's
surprise resignation, Olivier indicated his intention
to seek the Liberal nomination in the ensuing by-election. However,
Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals appointed Sudbury NDP MP Glenn
Thibeault as their "choice candidate," bypassing the normal nomination
process. Sudburians should consider whether Olivier, who less than a
year ago was a candidate running on the anti-social program of the
Liberals, is someone who, because of his experience being burned by the
Liberals, can now be considered to represent the popular will of
Sudbury. Which candidate can provide an alternative to the cartel party
system that is clearly excluding the people from decision-making in
those matters that affect their lives?
At a press conference held at the Plaza Hotel (his
family's business) on his 36th birthday and the 20th anniversary of the
day he became paraplegic, Olivier said that he decided to run after
receiving "overwhelming" support following his disclosure that the
Ontario Liberal Party had asked him not to
run as their Sudbury candidate and that he had been offered a job if he
agreed to go quietly, allegations that are being investigated by the
OPP as a possible breach of Ontario's Elections Act.
"I've always said 'Sudbury needs a strong voice in
Queen's Park' and that voice needs to be one of integrity, loyalty and
transparency. I still want to be that voice while supporting my
centrist values, and the best interests of Sudbury and Sudburians first
"Sudbury has a right to choose an MPP who lives by
loyalty, integrity and openness; who is a proven fighter and advocate
for the needs of our community; who will not be silenced by back-room
dealers or king-makers; who will always support Sudbury and never turn
his back on his community. It has been
made clear to me and Sudburians that Toronto has been making the
choices for Sudbury. I say that the people of Sudbury should make the
decisions for our community -- not Toronto."
"A strong message needs to be sent to Toronto -- we will
not be bullied, we will not be bought. The needs of our community will
not be bargained away for stature, opportunism or personal gain."
"As an independent, we are going to be able to speak at
Queen's Park with no strings attached on the things we need for
Sudbury. I will make sure the government stands by their commitments to
Sudbury. I can work hard for and with Sudburians to make choices that
are in the best interests of our community."
If he wins, Olivier would be the first independent to
hold the riding since it was created in 1908, in addition to being the
first quadriplegic elected to the Ontario Legislature.
"Like most challenges in my life, this will not be an
easy one," he said. "I will need your help to keep Sudbury strong. I
will need your help to contend with these big machines with big
wallets. I will only make one promise this election: I promise that as
an independent, every decision made, every bill supported
will be in the best interest of Sudbury and its constituents."
Brief Chronology of Recent Political Developments
November 20, 2014: Joe Cimino, elected NDP MPP in
the Sudbury electoral district in the Ontario general election on June
12, announced his resignation, citing "my personal health wellness, and
more importantly the well-being of my family." Cimino was the NDP
Transportation Critic and a member
of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. Before his election as
MPP, he was a City of Greater Sudbury Councillor.
November 28, 2014: Nickel Belt MPPs France
Gelinas of Nickel Belt and Michael Mantha of Algoma-Manitoulin said
that they will ensure Sudbury's concerns are represented in the
Legislature and that residents' constituency needs are met until a
by-election is called. Mantha took Cimino's role as transportation
critic for the NDP, in addition to being his party's Northern
Development and Mines critic.
December 5, 2014: Cimino announced that he will
not accept the $58,250 in severance pay to which he is entitled
according to section 69 (2) of the Legislative
Act whereby a member of the provincial parliament who
resigns having served four years or less is entitled to half of their
salary in severance in addition to what they earned as MPP.
December 11, 2014: Four candidates announced they
are seeking the NDP nomination. Two former Sudbury NDP candidates, Paul
Loewenberg and Dave Battaino, former mayoral and councillor candidate
John Caruso, and Jesse Gaudet who ran for councillor in the October
said they will seek the nomination.
December 15, 2014: Andrew Olivier, the Liberal
candidate in the June 12 provincial election, announced he had been
asked not to seek the nomination in the by-election because the Liberal
Party had a "choice candidate" and that he had been offered a job if he
agreed to go quietly. See this YouTube
video of Andrew Olivier's December 15 press conference in
which he exposed the backroom scheme to appoint a "choice candidate" to
run in Sudbury.
December 15, 2014:
Paula Peroni, a retired school trustee who was the PC party’s candidate
in the 2014 and 2011 provincial general elections, is nominated as the
candidate in the by-election.
December 16, 2014: Sudbury New Democrat MP Glenn
Thibeault announced he had been appointed by Premier Kathleen Wynne as
the Liberal candidate in the provincial by-election and that no
nomination meeting would be held. He also announced his resignation
from the NDP federal caucus, while staying on as the MP for Sudbury.
December 18, 2014: Timmins-James Bay New Democrat
MPP Gilles Bisson called on Elections Ontario to investigate what he
called "an alleged bribery attempt." Bisson has also asked the Chief
Electoral Officer to ensure information relating to Wynne's dealings
with Olivier and Thibeault is not destroyed
or deleted. "Such steps should include obtaining a legal preservation
order, and seeking the immediate and proactive seizure of the premier's
hard drive, as well as hard drives for her chief of staff and deputy
chiefs of staff and other individuals, as required. I would also
suggest seeking preservation of emails at the
Liberal Party of Ontario, and that of Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault,"
December 18, 2014: Leeds-Grenville Progressive
Conservative MPP Steve Clark asked the OPP to investigate allegations
by Andrew Olivier that he was offered political considerations by
Wynne, Pat Sorbara and Gerry Lougheed Jr. if he didn't seek the Liberal
nomination. Lougheed has long ties to
the Liberal Party and serves on the Greater Sudbury Police Service's
board of directors. Sorbara is deputy chief of staff to Wynne.
December 18, 2014: Charlie Angus, NDP MP for
Timmins-James Bay, said in a statement that "Mr. Thibeault's decision
speaks to a cynicism that is choking Canadian politics. Some
politicians seem to forget they were elected, not on their personality,
but because a lot of ordinary people did the hard
work of putting up signs, working the phones and knocking on doors.
These people volunteer because they believe the candidate will
represent the vision of the party. I am very sorry that Mr. Thibeault
decided that a backroom deal with insiders trumps this covenant. It
sends a message that you can't trust the promises
of politicians. I spent my political life fighting this cynicism ... I
believe the 'best offer' a politician can have is to stand up for the
ordinary people of this country who are not being represented by
insiders and the well-connected."
December 19, 2014: Andre Bisson, the
vice-president of the Liberal Party of Ontario for the northern region,
resigned. The Liberal Party issued a statement: "We confirm Andre
resigned and we thank him for his wonderful service to the party as a
member of the Ontario Liberal Party executive. (Bisson)
left his position for personal reasons. He will continue to be an
active member and strong supporter of the party."
December 19, 2014: Ten members of the executive
of the Sudbury provincial Liberal riding association, including Bill
Nurmi, who had been president of the association for 20 years,
resigned. He and his executive felt "left on the sidelines" and angered
and hurt by having their decision-making power usurped, Nurmi said.
10 members of the executive met to discuss how to move forward after
Wynne appointed Glenn Thibeault the Liberal candidate. Nurmi met with
Wynne at the home of former long-time Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci to
discuss the decision his association made. He had an open and frank
discussion with the premier
about how the association executive was feeling in which Wynne
understood and "acknowledged our concerns," said Nurmi. He let her
know, on behalf of his executive, that it was not Thibeault the man
they were opposing; it was the process by which he was named as the
December 19, 2014: Suzanne Shawbonquit announced
she will seek the NDP nomination for the provincial by-election in
Sudbury. Shawbonquit is a graduate of Cambrian College's Native Child
and Family Worker Program, the Executive Business Program at Queen's
University, as well as the Media Leadership Program at York
University's Schulich School of Business.
January 4, 2015: Paul Loewenberg, the New
Democrat who came within 501 votes of defeating long-time Liberal MPP
Rick Bartolucci in the 2011 provincial election and who was seeking the
nomination to run in the provincial by-election in Sudbury withdrew
from that race and asked his supporters
to back Suzanne Shawbonquit. Loewenberg said he will seek the federal
NDP nomination in either a by-election or the general election to be
held later this year.
January 5, 2015: Andrew Olivier announced he will
run in the upcoming by-election as an independent candidate. Olivier
said he decided to run after receiving "overwhelming" support following
his announcement that the Ontario Liberal Party had asked him not to
run as their Sudbury candidate.
January 6, 2015: Glenn Thibeault officially
resigned as the federal MP for Sudbury after serving in Parliament for
more than six years. "There were no regrets in terms of resigning,
because I'm looking forward to fighting in another election, so I'm
still actively engaged in politics," he said. Thibeault
said Sudburians have several pressing issues they expect to be raised
at Queen's Park, including the Ring of Fire chromite development, the
Maley Drive extension, the creation of "good jobs" and local health
care resources and a PET scanner.
January 6: The
Green Party nominates David Robinson, a professor of economics at
Laurentian University as their candidate in the by-election.
January 7, 2015: The provincial government
announced that the writ had been issued for the Sudbury by-election.
January 10, 2015: Premier Wynne visited Sudbury
to open the campaign headquarters of Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault.
January 11, 2015: The NDP provincial riding
association for Sudbury held its nomination meeting at the
Steelworkers' Hall on Brady Street and selected Suzanne Shawbonquit as
January 15, 2015: Nominations open.
January 22, 2015:
January 24-30, 2015:
Advance polls are open.
February 5, 2015: Election Day in Sudbury.
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