At a hastily called press conference this morning at the Plaza Hotel, former Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier announced he would not be seeking the nomination in the upcoming Sudbury riding byelection to fill the seat left vacant by Joe Cimino in November.
Olivier, who ran as a Liberal in the spring election, said the party is looking to appoint an as yet unnamed candidate to try to wrest control of Rick Bartolucci's former riding from the NDP, who took it away from the Grits in the provincial election last spring.
Premier Kathleen Wynne personally asked him to withdraw, Olivier said, and asked him to be quiet about the party's decision — but remaining silent is something he said he couldn't do.
In a peek behind the curtain, Olivier said Wynne called to ask him to withdraw quietly from the race to make way for a hand-picked candidate. He also said Gerry Lougheed Jr., who has long ties to the Liberal Party, called him Dec. 11 and told Olivier if he quietly withdrew, there would be a patronage job for him.
Olivier said the local riding association backed a democratic selection process, but party higher-ups made it clear someone would be appointed.
He added that he would be willing to run for office again, but only if "kingmakers" stop controlling the process.
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