Ontario Votes: Liberal libel suit 'intimidation,' PC letter alleges

A Progressive Conservative candidate claims the Liberal leader is trying to intimidate Tory leader Tim Hudak and create a distraction by suing him for libel over comments he made about the gas-plant scandal.

Kathleen Wynne calls Tory allegations on gas plant documents false

Lisa MacLeod, Progressive Conservative MPP for Nepean-Carleton, says Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne should say whether a libel suit against Tim Hudak is "legitimate," or "just an attempt to muzzle the opposition." (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

A Progressive Conservative candidate is suggesting Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne only wants to intimidate and silence the Tories on the gas-plants scandal by suing PC Leader Tim Hudak for libel.

Lisa MacLeod, seeking re-election in Nepean-Carleton, released a letter Friday addressed to Wynne, saying the Progressive Conservatives have received no response to overtures they've made to the Liberal leader regarding the $2-million lawsuit.

MacLeod is named in the suit, filed last month, along with Hudak and the PC Ontario Fund.

Wynne filed the suit after the Tories said she "oversaw" and "possibly ordered" the criminal destruction of documents related to the $1.1-billion decision made under the previous Liberal government to cancel two gas plants prior to the 2011 election.

MacLeod said her party has demanded the suit be withdrawn, filed its statement of defence, and called on the Liberals to "protect all documents that would assist the OPP in their investigation" — and in return has seen no response from the Liberals.
PC candidate Lisa MacLeod spoke to reporters on Friday. (CBC)

"We are left to conclude that your goal was to intimidate and silence us from telling the truth about your government's record," MacLeod said in the letter.

She also called the lawsuit "nothing more than a distraction."

The Liberal Leader, on a campaign stop in Toronto on Friday, said the reason for the lawsuit remains the same.

"I took a stand because I'm always happy to debate the facts ... but when it comes to false allegations and accusations, then I think it has to be clear that I'm not going to stand for that," Wynne said.

Campaigning in Ottawa on Thursday, Hudak repeated calls for a judicial inquiry into the gas-plant scandal.

The Liberal government, under former premier Dalton McGuinty, scrapped a gas plant in Oakville in 2010 and one in Mississauga the following year in the dying days of the last provincial election, in what the Tories say was an effort to save seats.

The cost of cancelling the contracts and relocating the plants is estimated to be as high as $1.1 billion.