Breaking two days of silence on a libel notice from Premier Kathleen Wynne, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he won’t “back down” on comments about her involvement in the $1.1 billion gas plants scandal.
“They’re not going to silence us,” he said Sunday. “We’re not going to back down. Of course not.”
Hudak was responding to a libel notice served Friday by Wynne’s lawyer over comments he made that “she oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents.”
His remarks came after Ontario Provincial Police revealed they are investigating former premier Dalton McGuinty’s last chief of staff, David Livingston, for breach of trust.
Police allege he got a non-government computer expert to wipe clean computer hard drives in the premier’s office using a special password that was in effect from Feb. 6 to March 20 of 2013, in the dying days of the McGuinty era and first few weeks of the Wynne administration.
The allegations have not been tested in court and Livingston has denied any wrongdoing.
Wynne has said Hudak’s comments are false and “defamatory” because there are no police allegations specifically about her.
Police have said it is possible hard drives were wiped after she came to power Feb. 11, 2013. A forensic examination is underway to determine that and a detective has warned it could take “many months” for results.
“I wish Kathleen Wynne would spend as much time thinking about creating jobs as she is spending time with lawyers,” Hudak said on Newstalk1010.
“Whether she likes this or not, this leads directly to the office of Kathleen Wynne,” he said of the scandal that has dogged the Liberals since McGuinty scrapped gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga before the 2011 election to save the seats of five area Liberal MPPs.
That vote reduced the Liberals to a minority and Wynne is now hoping the New Democrats will allow her upcoming spring budget to pass, averting a spring election Hudak wants.
The Tory leader said he will keep pressing the Liberals on deleted emails in a police probe prompted by complaints from two of his MPPS concerned that a legislative committee investigating the scandal was not being shown all emails on it from the offices of McGuinty and former energy minister Chris Bentley, as required.
“We’re not going to be part of the cover-up,” Hudak said. “We’re going to hold them to account.
Police allege two of 24 computer hard drives seized from the premier’s office were wiped by Peter Faist, the computer expert boyfriend of Livingston’s deputy, Laura Miller, who is now executive director of the British Columbia Liberal Party.
Faist has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer. MPPs have called him to testify before the legislative committee probing the scandal but no date has been set.