Ontario PCs file notice of intent to defend against $2M libel suit
Suit stems from Tim Hudak's comments suggesting Premier Kathleen Wynne complicit in gas plant scandal
TORONTO—Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have served notice they intend to “vigorously defend themselves” against a $2-million libel suit filed by Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The suit stems from Opposition Leader Tim Hudak’s comments suggesting that Wynne “oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents” related to the $1.1-billion cancellation of two gas plants.
Lawyers for the Tories today filed a notice of intent to defend in the libel suit, saying the Conservatives don’t believe any of their comments “constitute actionable defamation” of Wynne.
The Tories also say all of their statements about Wynne “are clearly within the recognized privileges protecting freedom of speech,” especially when it comes to “a vital public debate” on key issues.
Wynne claimed in an open letter March 30 that Hudak knew his allegations were false and unsupported by evidence and demanded he apologize and retract the comments.
The Tory notice of intent to defend says Wynne’s “deliberate release” of her open letter attracted and intensified media coverage of the very statements about which she is complaining in her libel suit.
Provincial police are considering possible breach of trust charges against a top aide to former premier Dalton McGuinty, who allegedly gave an outside tech expert access to computers in the premiers’ office.
The police are investigating the deletion of government emails related to the Liberals’ decisions to cancel gas plants in Mississauga Oakville, Ont., prior to the 2011 election.
Police allege McGuinty’s chief of staff, David Livingston, gave access to an outside computer expert, the boyfriend of another senior Liberal in McGuinty’s office, to 24 computers in the premier’s office in February 2012.
Experts have only been able to recover data from four of the 24 hard drives from the premier’s office that they seized, which show a special password was used Feb. 6 and 7, 2012.
They can’t say yet if the other hard drives were accessed with the password after Wynne became premier Feb. 11, 2012, but it was valid until March 20.
Wynne maintained Livingston never worked for her, only for McGuinty.