As the Ontario party leaders fight it out in the provincial election, they also may do battle in court.

Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives have issued a statement of defence in the libel suit with Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, and signalled the Tories will not back down from comments about the current Liberal leader's involvement in the gas plant scandal.

Wynne says she's not worried about the impact of her $2-million libel suit against the Progressive Conservatives on the June 12 election campaign. Just as she was kicking off her re-election campaign with a speech to students at her old high school in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto, the Tories released their statement of defence in the libel suit.

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 to cancel two gas plants prior to the 2011 election.

Wynne says she has a duty to stand up against what she insists are false allegations.

Hudak Libel Notice 20140407

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said Monday he would cut down the 'bloated' bureaucracy at both Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The statement of defence, posted in full below, contends that Hudak and his MPP Lisa MacLeod were asking questions about the gas scandal, and the statements are not defamatory.

The PCs claim states Wynne did not answer questions in the legislature or to the media, and the questions raised by Hudak and MacLeod were of public interest. Furthermore, it states such questions "are fair comment, were made in good faith and without malice, about matters of public interest," including messages posted to MacLeod's Twitter account.

With files from Canadian Press