Ontario Immigration Minister Michael Chan serves libel notice on Globe and Mail
Editor in chief has said newspaper stands by stories about ties to Chinese officials
An Ontario cabinet minister is threatening the Globe and Mail with a lawsuit over stories it ran that said Canadian intelligence officials expressed concerns about him.
Lawyers for Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade Minister Michael Chan have sent the newspaper a notice of libel.
The Globe ran stories in June that said Canada's spy agency warned the Ontario government in 2010 that Chan had "unusually close ties to Chinese officials" and may have been susceptible to being influenced.
Chan called the allegation unfounded when the stories first ran.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has backed Chan, saying there are no specific allegations and the concerns were baseless.
In a statement, Chan said the newspaper has refused to apologize or retract its story and he has no choice but to turn to the court, serving the libel notice on Tuesday.
"I regret that I have been compelled to turn to the courts to protect my reputation, but given the unjustified tone and content of the Globe's articles I feel I have no other choice," Chan said in the statement.
Chan also called on federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay to apologize for comments he made on the matter.
When asked by reporters about the Globe stories, MacKay said he wouldn't discuss Chan's specific case because it is an "ongoing investigation."
He later distanced himself from those comments, calling it "asinine" to conclude that CSIS was actively investigating Chan, but the Ontario minister continued to demand an apology.
A libel notice is the first step in the litigation process, but does not necessarily mean a lawsuit will be launched.
The Globe and Mail did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the newspaper's editor-in-chief has said the paper stands by its stories.