Sorbara off Wynne’s campaign team after high-level departures
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Thursday, January 18, 2018 6:20PM EST
A key member of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s inner circle is no longer on her campaign team following a number of high-level resignations from her campaign.
Patricia Sorbara will not be a part of the premier’s campaign going into the next provincial election this year, Wynne confirmed to CTV News Toronto Thursday.
Sorbara is a personal friend of the premier and served as campaign director for the Ontario Liberal Party. She led the campaign that resulted in a surprise majority win for the party in 2014.
However she stepped aside for about a year while she dealt with allegations that she tried to bribe a candidate in a Sudbury byelection to step aside so that the Liberals could run a preferred candidate in his place.
Sorbara was ultimately acquitted of the charges and returned to the campaign after the trial.
However sources told CTV News Toronto that there was turmoil after her return.
Earlier this month, several high-level members of the team resigned. Sources told CTV News that the team members left because Sorbara’s style didn’t fit with their own.
In a statement Thursday, Wynne confirmed that Sorbara is now leaving the team and suggested that in Sorbara’s absence, the Liberal campaign team had “gelled” in a way that didn’t include her.
“As you know, while Pat Sorbara was gone from the Ontario Liberal Party to deal with the Elections Ontario charges in Sudbury, we continued our hard work getting ready for the 2018 campaign,” Wynne said in the statement. “Recently there has a been (sic) a great deal of discussion about the structure of the campaign team moving forward.
“Pat Sorbara will not be joining the campaign team. However, I will continue to count upon her personal friendship.”
Some team members who stepped away from the campaign have now returned, sources said.
“The team that stepped up while Pat was forced to deal with completely unfounded charges in Sudbury came together and gelled in the last several months. This is the team that will take us into the coming election,” Wynne’s statement read.
The premier, tearful over Sorbara‘s departure according to sources, said the full organizational structure for the campaign will be announced in the near future.
“We have a lot of hard work to do as we move forward on our plan to create more fairness and opportunity for everyone in Ontario, and I have full confidence in the talent and experience of our campaign team,” she said in the statement.
Sorbara said she has nothing to add to the premier’s statement.