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Wynne hits Hudak with libel notice over gas plants

Premier Kathleen Wynne has filed a libel notice against PC Leader Tim Hudak over what she says were defamatory comments about the GTA gas plants, her press secretary says.

Wynne was accused of being behind a plan to wipe computer hard drives in the premier’s office to hide documents related to the two cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga. The cancelled gas plants in 2011 cost taxpayers $1.1 billion.

Press secretary Zita Astravas told CityNews in an email on Friday evening that libel notices were also served in the afternoon to the Ontario Progressive Conservative party and Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod.

“Premier Wynne gave the opportunity for Mr. Hudak to pull back from his unfounded statements. Unfortunately he did not,” Astravas said.

Neither Hudak nor MacLeod was immediately available for comment. But MacLeod responded on Twitter saying, “Oh dear.”

On Sunday, Wynne sent an open letter demanding Hudak stop making “false and defamatory accusations” that an individual came into the premier’s office to delete records.

“Contrary to Mr. Hudak’s false statements, this did not happen after Premier Wynne was sworn in February 11th, 2013,” the letter stated. “The allegations pertain entirely to activities in the former Premier’s Office.”

The controversy that’s engulfed the Ontario Liberals for years — even hastening the departure of former premier Dalton McGuinty — appears to be spreading to the other end of the country.

Several senior aides who worked for McGuinty joined the B.C. Liberals after he stepped down in early 2013, including Laura Miller, one of his deputy chiefs of staff.

She served on the B.C. Liberals’ campaign team last year, along with McGuinty’s former top strategist Don Guy. Miller and Guy have testified before the Queen’s Park committee probing the gas plants scandal.

Ontario Provincial Police allege that Miller’s boyfriend, Peter Faist, had access to computers in the premier’s office and possibly deleted files just before McGuinty relinquished power.

They say computer experts cannot determine when 20 of 24 hard drives were accessed with a special password, which was valid for weeks after current Wynne was sworn in.

At the time, Faist was under contract to provide IT services for the government caucus and the Ontario Liberal Party. Both contracts have ended. David Livingston, McGuinty’s former chief of staff, is alleged to have obtained the all-access password to the computers for Faist.

None of the allegations have been tested in court and Livingston’s lawyer has said his client has broken no laws.

One of the investigators, OPP Det. Const. Andre Duval, also told the committee on Thursday that Miller, Faist, Livingston — a man currently under investigation for breach of trust — and his aide Wendy Wai have declined to speak to police.