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Patricia Sorbara, doubts on the timing of the investigations

Patricia Sorbara, doubts on the timing of the investigations

Patricia Sorbara, doubts on the timing of the investigations

by The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher

TORONTO – Someday we will achieve a society when even police forces will become transparent in their operations.

Make no mistake, we need the police. We need dedicated men and women who see their jobs not simply as careers but, to use a religious term, as a vocation, a calling.

It is unfair in today’s material world to expect a standard not many are willing to apply to other lines of work. One supposes that the best to be expected is an impartial application and enforcement of the Law. It is in the public interest.

Everyone in a position of authority should always look to the test of the “public interest” when about to make a decision that will invariably, given the timing, lead to unintended (?) consequences.

Eighteen months ago, Peel regional Police arrested a relatively young Defense Attorney in the Courthouse, while she was in robes, ‘cuffed her and brought her to jail. They alleged she, Laura Liscio, was in possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of selling, apparently.

Also, more apparently, they were way out of line. It is alleged that the officers in question and their comrades were miffed at the rigour and vigour with which she defended her clients. Not surprisingly, all charges were dropped. Those officers and the police are facing a civil suit.

There are other more egregious cases of “I am going to do my duty come hell or high water” excuses for behaviour unbecoming. But it is not the intent of this column to heap scorn on those who in their own way provide immense benefit to the public good.

It is equally important to the public good to understand the actions by the OPP towards Patricia Sorbara, deputy Chief of Staff to the Premier, and now co-defendant Gerry Lougheed. They are both charged with bribery.

Not with the bribery as defined under the criminal code. They were investigated for that in 2014 and early 2015 in relation to conversations they had with a former candidate about stepping aside in favour of the candidate who eventually won the bye-election in Sudbury and went on to Cabinet.

The police found no basis for the charge and dropped the case. They reopened the investigation on the lesser charge of “bribery under the elections act” subsequent to a report by the Electoral Commissioner of an “apparent contravention”.

If found guilty, the charged could face a fine of up to $25,000. The OPP has had this on their plate since February of 2015, but decided on November 3rd to lay charges. There is a bye-election on the November 17 in Ottawa.
There is no connection.

NB: Written requests to the Attorney General’s Office had not been answered at the time of going to print.

(Tuesday 8 November 2016)

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