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Wynne denies job promise

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne denied in court Wednesday that she promised a New Democrat MP a cabinet position to get him to leave his party and run for the provincial Liberals.

The premier is a witness in the trial of two Liberals who are charged with bribery under the Election Act over allegations they offered a would-be candidate a job or appointment to get him to step aside for NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, who was Wynne's preferred candidate in a 2015 byelection.

Wynne herself is not facing charges and her lawyers sent Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown a letter Wednesday demanding he retract comments they say suggest the premier is standing trial.

Court heard that a man who let the premier's staff know that Thibeault might be interested in switching parties relayed to them concerns he said Thibeault had "before jumping."

"Premier said he could only get in cabinet after a process and at next shuffle at a date TBD," the man texted Pat Sorbara, the premier's deputy chief of staff at the time and one of the two Liberals on trial.

Sorbara and other top staff in the premier's office wrote in a subsequent email chain that "demands for a cabinet position" were worrying.

Wynne testified that the text doesn't reflect her conversations with Thibeault.

She prefers giving caucus members time to learn the system rather than immediately putting them in cabinet, she testified.

"I made it clear to Glenn that that was my belief and that was my practice," Wynne said, adding she first broached the cabinet issue and not Thibeault.

"I actually put that forward because I wanted it to be very clear and I didn't want there to be any misunderstanding about where I was coming from."



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