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Wynne threatens Hudak with legal action over deleted-email accusations

Premier Kathleen Wynne has threatened Opposition Leader Tim Hudak with legal action if he doesn’t retract “false, misleading and defamatory” accusations he made last week.

In an open letter to Hudak on Sunday, Wynne asked the Ontario PC leader to stop stating that the person who allegedly deleted emails at Queen’s Park did so after she became premier.

“I have sought and obtained legal advice regarding your 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,” Wynne wrote.

The PC party shot back Sunday, with Ontario PC Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod telling reporters the premier was attempting to muzzle the opposition.

“This was a media stunt by Kathleen Wynne. She is simply trying to send a chill down the backs of each and every opposition member who has the so-called audacity to question her,” MacLeod said

“I won’t be muzzled, nor will my leader, or any other members of the Ontario PC caucus. We are committed more today and than we’ve ever been to getting to the root of this $1.1 billion-scandal.”

MacLeod said the PC party has not received any legal correspondence.

Hudak made the original comments on Thursday while responding to reporters about whether he would work with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to force an election.

“It’s black and white to me,” he said.

“This is more Kathleen Wynne’s scandal than [former premier] Dalton McGuinty’s now. She oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents to cover up the gas plant scandal. I mean, what more do you need than to change government?”

Wynne responded swiftly, holding a news conference right after to say she wouldn’t let Hudak’s “baseless” accusations stand and — in the letter on Sunday — asking him to stop repeating the claims and to remove them from the PC party’s website and all other communications.

“These allegations and accusations are false and utterly unsupported, and you ought to know it,” Wynne wrote.

“The decision to relocate the gas plants and the facts related to the ongoing police investigation are legitimate subjects for this political debate. False, misleading and defamatory statements are not, and they represent the worst kind of politics.”

Hudak’s remarks stemmed from newly released court documents in which police alleged McGuinty’s former chief of staff David Livingston committed breach of trust when he gave an outside tech expert access to computers in the premier’s office.

A spokesperson for the Ontario PC party said Hudak is preparing a response to the premier’s letter.