Premier Kathleen Wynne has threatened possible legal action against Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak if he does not retract “false, misleading and defamatory” comments about her alleged involvement related to the gas plant scandal.
Wynne released an open letter to the media on Sunday. In it, she accuses Hudak of making defamatory allegations about her at his March 27 news conference.
On Thursday Hudak said, "We now know that the coverup and criminal destruction of documents and emails took place in Kathleen Wynne's office under her watch as premier," adding that she "possibly ordered the destruction of documents."
His comments came after the release of court documents alleging police — who have an ongoing criminal
investigation into the scandal — believe the chief of staff of former premier Dalton McGuinty gave an outside tech expert access to 24 computers in the premier's office.
According to the documents, top aide David Livingston sought high-level access to the computers to "wipe clean the hard drives" after McGuinty resigned amid controversy over the costly cancellation of two gas plants ahead of the 2011 election.
It's alleged that during the transition period to Wynne's administration, Livingston arranged for his executive assistant to have special access to desktops in the premier's office, even though she had little knowledge of computers.
After Hudak's remark about her possible involvement, Wynne held a snap news conference, saying that Hudak's accusations that she participated in a crime and a coverup were "irresponsible... disgraceful and they're an insult to his office."
Wynne said Livingston "does not work in my office, nor in my government, nor has he ever worked in my government," and says she and her government are co-operating with the provincial police investigation. She said the police allegations, if true, would be "very disturbing."
Wynne has demanded that he and his caucus immediately stop making "untrue comments" and remove all such allegations from their website.
“These allegations and accusations are false and utterly unsupported, and you ought to know it,” she wrote in Sunday's letter.
Wynne says she sought legal advice about Hudak's comments “and if steps are not taken immediately, I will have no choice but to take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure your false statements are corrected.”
A Wynne spokeswoman would not say what specific steps the premier is considering.
Hudak's office did not immediately comment.
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Dalton McGuinty's Scandals
When you lead Canada's biggest province for nine years you're bound to have some missteps. Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty has had his share of scandals and mistakes. <p>We highlight a few that caused him more headaches than usual. <p>Photo: Ontario Liberal Party
Back in 2004, a relatively new Liberal government under Premier Dalton McGuinty was forced to go back on a campaign promise not to raise taxes and instituted a health premium of between $300-$900. Photo: Alamy
In 2006, the Liberals tried to announce a new $46-billion energy plan that would see renovations of many of Ontario’s power plants. But the plan became a problem for the Liberals when <em>the Globe and Mail </em>revealed that the government tried to exempt their plans from environmental assessments. Photo: Shutterstock
The government’s plans to modernize medical records in the province ran into massive scandal when reports of overspending, waste and possible conflict of interest were revealed at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EHealth_Ontario">eHealth</a>, the agency responsible for building a new electronic records system. The scandal forced the resignation of Health Minister David Caplan. <P>Photo: Shutterstock
G20 Police Laws
Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals were criticized for laws giving police greater powers to ensure security during the <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2010/12/08/mcguinty-g20-ombudsman-report652.html">G20 in 2010</a>. The laws were seen by civil rights groups as draconian. Andre Marin, Ontario’s ombudsman also <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/902817--ombudsman-charges-g20-secret-law-was-illegal">criticized the government</a> calling the laws and police action a massive violation of civil rights. <p>Photo: AP Files/Carolyn Kaster
Ontario’s air ambulance service, Ornge, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tag/ornge-scandal">caused another headache for McGuinty’s Liberals</a> after reports of financial irregularities, cost overruns, huge salaries for managers being kept secret and reports of kickbacks began to emerge in the media. <P>Photo: CP/Globe and Mail
Canceled Power Plants
Hobbled by scandal and facing a resurgent Conservatives in the 2011 provincial election, the <a href="http://www.globaltoronto.com/timeline/6442734189/story.html">Liberals cancelled two power plants</a> in the GTA despite the fact it would cost taxpayers several hundred million dollars. Ontario's auditor general estimates those costs could climb to $1.1 billion. <P>Photo: Michelle Siu/CP