SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) As if the smug arrogance of Kathleen Wynne and her ministers weren’t bad enough since voters in their wisdom gave them a majority government in June, along comes an NDP MP and hands them a Christmas bonus defection.
Federal New Democrat Glenn Thibeault announced Tuesday he’ll run in Sudbury’s provincial byelection as a Liberal. The seat is vacant after newly-elected New Democrat Joe Cimino quit in November.
Interestingly, Thibeault has not quit his federal seat. As late as Tuesday afternoon, the Government of Canada website still listed him as the federal MP for Sudbury and his political affiliation as NDP.
This is a disgraceful betrayal. Here’s a guy who was elected on Jack Layton’s coattails who now sees greener grass and the chance of a seat in the provincial cabinet. If he wins, he’ll trigger a costly and unnecessary federal byelection in order to further his personal political ambitions.
Timmins-James Bay New Democrat Gilles Bisson called for Thibeault to quit his federal seat.
“The Liberal nomination was already tainted by allegations of bribery, and now it’s further tainted by the fact that Glenn Thibeault put his career ahead of the people of Sudbury,” Bisson said.
“Glenn Thibeault should immediately step down as an MP, stop collecting a federal MP’s salary and ensure he does not use any MP resources for his campaign,” he said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s office released a statement from Thibeault Tuesday.
“Anyone who knows me understands that I put representing this community first and foremost,” Thibeault said.
“It is something I have done with pride over the past six years. It is my belief that I can continue to do so from a different vantage point working as part of the Ontario Liberal government.”
His move sparked speculation Wynne will put him in cabinet. His MP’s salary is $163,700. The base salary for an MPP is around $133,217, depending on what responsibilities the MPP has. If Thibeault makes it to cabinet, his salary would soar to $165,851.
On top of that, with six years service, he gets a sweet federal pension. The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) reports that Thibeault, 45, is eligible for a pension of $30,436 from age 55. The CTF calculated his total lifetime payout at around $1.4 million by age 90.
Cimino abruptly quit last month citing “personal” reasons. He narrowly defeated Liberal Andrew Olivier by only 980 votes in the June election.
Earlier this week, Olivier said he’d been contacted by Wynne and told they had another candidate for the byelection. He claimed party officials contacted him to offer a job or appointment for him to step aside. The party vigorously denies those claims.
No matter what happened, the fact is the Liberals have cast aside Olivier, a paraplegic and accessibility activist, in a shameful fashion. He almost won in June and deserved a chance to take another run for the seat in the byelection.
This is a cynical, disgraceful ploy by Wynne, who would dearly love to get Sudbury back in the Liberal fold.
It is an affront to democracy and I predict it will backfire.
Voters aren’t stupid. They dislike being taken for fools and taken for granted.
Mark my words, this will become a “buy”-election, as Liberals pour millions of dollars into the riding in an attempt to buy votes.
Do they have a gas plant they need scrapped?
Tories have nominated school trustee Paula Peroni. New Democrats have yet to hold their nomination meeting.
Both the NDP and the PCs have called for Elections Ontario to probe Olivier’s allegations.
No matter the outcome, this latest ploy is a disgrace.
Voters don’t like turncoats. And they’re not going to reward the party that brought them the gas plant scandal, Ornge, eHealth, MaRS and the smart meter debacle. That’s destroyed the energy sector and sent electricity prices skyrocketing. That’s flushed billions down the toilet with their ham-fisted mismanagement.
The last thing we need is one more arrogant Liberal at Queen’s Park.