US embassy cable - 05TORONTO2631

Throne Speech To Be Overshadowed by Finance Minister's Resignation

Identifier: 05TORONTO2631
Wikileaks: View 05TORONTO2631 at
Origin: Consulate Toronto
Created: 2005-10-12 14:13:00
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT: Throne Speech To Be Overshadowed by Finance 
Minister's Resignation 
Ref: 04 Toronto 364 
Sensitive But Unclassified - Protect accordingly. 
1.  (U) A widely anticipated self-congratulatory 
provincial Liberal government throne speech today 
(October 12) to mark Premier McGuinty's mid-term and 
set the tone for the next election in October 2007 will 
likely be overshadowed by the resignation, announced 
last night, of Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. 
Sorbara was named in a criminal RCMP fraud warrant for 
activities during the time he served as a director of 
Royal Group Technologies.  This company specializes in 
plastic building products and its founder, Vic Den Zen 
had some questionable dealings with a St Kitts resort, 
as well as a series of Ontario land deals that involved 
the Sorbara Group. 
2.  (U) Sorbara had asked in February 2004 to be 
relieved of his responsibilities for oversight of the 
Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) when he first 
learned that he might be the subject of an OSC 
investigation in connection with Royal Group 
Technologies in early 2004; he was cleared at that time 
of any wrongdoing by the province's Integrity 
Commissioner Coulter Osbourne.  Sorbara will be 
replaced by Dwight Duncan, the current energy minister; 
and Donna Cansfield, currently Duncan's parliamentary 
assistant, will take on the Energy portfolio. 
3.  (SBU) Comment: This will be the third provincial 
minister (Minister of Transportation Harinder Takhar 
and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Joseph 
Cordiano) to come under a cloud for Premier McGuinty, 
who prides himself on maintaining a squeaky clean 
image.  Sorbara was well qualified for his position - 
often called "the smartest man" and "most powerful 
minister" in the cabinet - and a personal confidante of 
Premier McGuinty, having served as party president, 
campaign chair, and architect of the Liberal landslide 
victory two years ago.  His resignation is viewed as 
being in the British tradition of stepping down in the 
face of allegations that could reflect negatively upon 
the government.  The investigation could take years to 
complete and, so far, nothing has been proven in 
court.  John Tory, the provincial Progressive 
Conservative leader who is neck-in-neck with McGuinty 
in the polls and New Democratic leader Howard Hampton 
had called for Sorbara's resignation earlier in the 
day.  McGuinty will next face election on October 4, 
2007; Ontarians have proved to have a short memory of 
their politicians' failings. 

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