Hudak stands firm over gas plant allegations despite libel notice
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has demanded Tories stop accusing her of masterminding scandal
TORONTO—Ontario Tory Leader Tim Hudak says he won’t back down after being slapped with a libel notice from Premier Kathleen Wynne over accusations she was behind an alleged plan to destroy documents in the gas plants scandal.
Hudak says the ongoing scandal over the pricey cancellation of the two plants leads directly to Wynne’s office “whether she likes it or not.”
He says he won’t be silenced by the notice, which was filed after Wynne warned the Tories to stop accusing her of masterminding a plan to wipe computer hard drives in the premier’s office.
Wynne’s spokesperson said libel notices have also been served to the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, the Ontario PC Fund and Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod.
The Tories say it’s clear the plan to wipe hard drives in the premier’s office happened while Wynne was premier-designate of Ontario.
Hudak, who made his comments during a radio show on Bell-owned stations, says he won’t stop grilling Wynne over the issue but didn’t repeat his earlier accusations.
“I’m not backing down, they’re not going to silence us. We’re not going to be part of the cover-up. We’re going to hold them to account,” Hudak told listeners.
Wynne spokesperson Zita Astravas called it “unfortunate” that Hudak didn’t retract his accusations, but didn’t say whether a lawsuit will now go ahead.
“We will continue to take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the false statements are corrected,” she said in an email.
A libel notice is the first step in the process of filing a defamation lawsuit, but does not necessarily mean a lawsuit will be launched.
Ontario Provincial Police, who are investigating the scandal, have alleged in court documents that the computer access was given by David Livingston, former premier Dalton McGuinty’s chief of staff.
But Wynne insists no members of McGuinty’s staff had access to the premier’s office after she took over.
She has acknowledged that an outside computer expert who was brought in and given unprecedented access to government computers had separate contracts with the Liberal party and Liberal caucus.
Police say computer experts cannot determine when 20 of 24 hard drives were accessed with a special password that was valid for weeks after Wynne was sworn in.
Livingston’s lawyer has said his client did not break the law.