Friday, October 14, 2005

Greg Sorbara: “successful businessman” or Gary Ewing?

Recently-resigned Ontario finance minister Greg Sorbara is reputedly well liked by Queen’s Park reporters and public servants for his gregariousness and good humour. He has always struck me, however, as one of those people whose arrogance is rooted in a belief that through his superior intellect he can fool enough of the people enough of the time, to coin a phrase. If one starts from that premise, then his string of successes since returning to public life in 1999 would tend to support this picture.

This arrogance would also explain his recent protestations – in the shadow of an RCMP search warrant accusing him of defrauding Royal Group Technologies shareholders in a land deal with The Sorbara Group – that he had no active role in his family’s land development business in the years prior to his return to politics as president of the Ontario Liberal party in 1999. This is what he told the Toronto Star in a story published today:
He told the Star he is a “passive participant” in the company, which his father divided between his children. He said his major income in that time period was from the company but he was doing other things, such as running a baseball franchise in St. Catharines.

Not to be fooled, however, the Star questions Sorbara’s claim:
However, the Sorbara Group’s website says Greg Sorbara has a prominent role in the company. The company states the firm has “an experienced management team combined with the personal hands-on approach of the principals Edward Sorbara, Joseph Sorbara and Gregory Sorbara.” In other forums (such as a Liberal Party of Ontario website) Greg is described as a “principal” of the Sorbara company.
When Sorbara was running in a 2001 by-election necessitated by the sudden death of Vaughan-King-Aurora MPP Al Palladini, here’s how his campaign literature described him to prospective voters:

Sorbara’s experience as a successful businessman, his long-standing commitment to protecting our environment, his proven ability to fight to ensure families get their fair share of funding for health care and public education – all make Greg Sorbara the best candidate to represent Vaughan-King Aurora.
Sorbara’s experience in business has taught him that we must make strategic investments in our future.
So Sorbara now claims that he was just fibbing to voters. He was not in fact a “successful businessman,” but the Gary Ewing of the Sorbara family, whose only business experience was running a minor-league baseball team, and his two generous brothers allowed him to draw a large income from the company in exchange for staying out of their hair.


Chris Chapman said...

Either way, he's caught in a lie. Which is totally unsurprising.

Great article, Joan -- good to bring up his history and shine some light into the dark recesses.

NoTONoEagles said...

Help Mommy, there are Liberals! underneath my bed!!! (No, seriously, that's the name of the book...) Don't believe me? The dang thing's on Amazon, not some hippie-press bullcrap ;) Anyway, thought you might enjoy, pinko ;)

James said...

Here is an intersting 1990 article on Greg Sorbara and he found a way around his own government's law to give his tenants huge rent increases in spite of being part of the Cabinet.