Patrick Brown says he will ignore Kathleen Wynne's "baseless" threat of legal action over his comments about the Sudbury byelection scandal trial.
On Tuesday, Brown told reporters at Queen's Park that Wynne may only provide answers about the scandal "when she stands trial."
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In a letter to the Progressive Conservative leader, Wynne's lawyer Jack B. Siegel called that statement defamatory and said the premier would "enforce her legal rights to the full extent of the law."
"Contrary to your statement, Premier Wynne is not standing trial. Your statement is false and misleading and appears to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne," he wrote.
Brown was asked to retract the statement and issue an apology by 5 p.m. Thursday. It was also demanded that he refrain from making any further "defamatory" statements about Wynne.
Brown responded early Thursday morning.
"Yesterday was a sad day for Ontario. No one, whatever their political view, wants to see the premier of our province debased and humiliated," Brown wrote in a statement posted to his website.
"Regrettably Kathleen Wynne compounded this sorry spectacle with baseless legal threats against me; threats that will be ignored," it continued.
Wynne's legal team is calling Brown's decision to not retract or apologize for the statement "extremely disappointing."
"Mr. Brown's refusal to take that simple step therefore suggests that this was not an accident and that his remarks were deliberately made with the intention of harming the reputation of the premier," Siegel wrote in response to Brown's Thursday statement.
Siegel also referenced the recent apology made by PC MPP Bill Walker after he suggested Wynne was under investigation in the byelection trial.
"If it is not acceptable for a member of his own caucus to make such comments, it certainly is not appropriate for Patrick Brown," Siegel wrote.
What comes next?
In the original letter sent to Brown, Wynne's legal team suggested that a decision to ignore the demands would not be taken lightly.
"Should you fail to comply with the above demands, your inaction and/or actions will give rise to aggravated and punitive damages in any lawsuit commenced against you," Siegel wrote Wednesday.
However, Siegel did not confirm if that lawsuit would be launched following Brown's rebuff.
"What comes next is a question that will be determined on instructions from my client, Premier Wynne," he wrote.
If a lawsuit is filed, it would not be Wynne's first legal battle with the Tories.
In 2014, Wynne filed a $2 million libel suit against then-PC leader Tim Hudak and MPP Lisa MacLeod.
The suit was eventually dropped, a resolution that Siegel described as "arduous and expensive."