Hudak stands firm as Wynne ramps up legal threat
PC leader Tim Hudak addresses media at Queen's Park on Thursday. (MICHAEL PEAKE/Toronto Sun)
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak refused to back down from comments he made about Premier Kathleen Wynne even as she ramped up her threat of legal action.
“I know that Kathleen Wynne wants to say that she knew nothing that happened before Feb. 11 (when she officially became premier) — that’s not the case,” Hudak insisted Monday. “The allegations of criminal destruction of documents — that took place under her watch.”
Wynne sent a letter to Hudak Sunday in which she demanded he and his caucus stop making “false, misleading and defamatory allegations” that she oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents.
In Sault Ste. Marie Monday, Wynne said she has sent a follow-up letter from her lawyer to Hudak.
A section of that letter, made available to the media, demands that the PCs remove the allegations from their website.
“We also require Mr. Hudak and the PC Party to immediately issue a full and unqualified public retraction of these allegations as well as a public apology to the premier,” lawyer Mark Frieman said. “If these steps are not taken immediately, the premier will take all necessary and appropriate steps to vindicate her reputation, without further notice.”
Hudak’s comments stem from the release of an OPP search warrant which alleged David Livingston, a chief of staff for former premier Dalton McGuinty, may have committed a criminal breach of trust by allowing access to government employee hard drives for the purpose of wiping out records.
The allegations are denied by those involved in the warrant, and they have not been tested in court.
Wynne said Livingston never worked for her and she was unaware of any documents being destroyed.
Government House Leader John Milloy accused the PCs of “drive-by smears” in their attempt to link Wynne to the alleged illegal activity, arguing there is no support for their accusations within the OPP search warrant.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Wynne should have been in question period to answer these questions herself — not in Sault Ste. Marie.
Horwath and her caucus stormed out of question period Monday to protest the premier’s absence.
Wynne has not responded to an NDP letter sent last week asking for a judicial inquiry into the cancelled gas plants, she said.
“We can’t get answers when the premier doesn’t show up for work, and that’s not acceptable,” Horwath said. “We basically have decided to refuse to participate in question period today.”
Horwath would not commit to voting for or against Wynne’s upcoming budget.
If the NDP refuse to abstain or vote for the budget, Wynne’s minority government would fall, provoking a spring election.
Wynne said she was in Sault Ste. Marie to make important announcements, and that she visited with school children, a championship curling team and business leaders.