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Kathleen Wynne testifies at the Sudbury byelection trial — nothing to see here

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SUDBURY, Ont. — Why was the Ontario Liberal Party very eager to call a quick byelection for early 2015, after Sudbury New Democrat MPP Joe Cimino suddenly stepped down only six months after the 2014 general election? Heading into Wednesday morning, when Premier Kathleen Wynne took the stand, there was one basic answer on offer at the Sudbury courthouse. And it made nothing but sense: speed was a strategic advantage.

“I mean, you’ve met Kathleen; you know she’s a determined woman,” Patricia Sorbara, then Wynne’s deputy chief of staff, told Andrew Olivier, the party’s 2014 nominee who was eager to run again, in a Nov. 23 conversation recorded by Olivier. “But my gosh, yesterday, when I had a chance to talk to her, she’s in a very determined place about getting this riding back.”

“The general feeling (at Queen’s Park) is not to wait for the budget,” Sorbara told Olivier. “We don’t want to have any government thing that gets in the way.” The NDP didn’t even have a functional riding association, Olivier told Sorbara, which seemed to further lift her spirits. “It will be so important for (NDP Leader Andrea) Horwath to hold the seat,” Sorbara observed — and so crushing, by implication, if she didn’t.

Speed became an even bigger advantage once Glenn Thibeault, then Sudbury’s New Democrat MP........

© National Post