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PCs file notice of intent to defend against Wynne's $2M libel suit

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have served notice they intend to “vigorously defend themselves” against a $2-million libel suit filed by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

PC Energy Critic Lisa Macleod, who is named in the suit along with Leader Tim Hudak, said they’re not backing down.

“We’re not going to be silenced. I’ve maintained that from the very beginning, so we’re not backing down,” Macleod said Thursday.

“We’re going to continue to do our jobs, we’re going to continue to ask the tough questions, and if Kathleen Wynne wants to act like a leader, she’ll start working on getting jobs for people in this province, and not place silly little games by trying to stifle the debate by the leader of the Official Opposition in this caucus.”

The suit stems from Hudak’s comments suggesting Wynne was behind a plan to wipe computer hard drives in the premier’s office to hide documents related to the gas plants.

On March 30, Wynne issued an open letter claiming Hudak knew his allegations were false and demanded an apology and retraction; however, Hudak has refused.

Wynne filed the libel notice against Hudak on April 4.

Party lawyers said the statements “are clearly within the recognized privileges protecting freedom of speech.”

A recent poll found the Ontario Tories lead the Liberals in popular support in the wake of the gas plant scandal. A Forum Research poll conducted for the Toronto Star on April 10 suggests Tim Hudak’s Tories have 38 per cent of support, versus 31 per cent for the Liberals. Andrea Howarth’s New Democrats are at 23 per cent.

The cancelled gas plants in 2011 cost taxpayers $1.1 billion.