Wynne serves Brown with defamation notice after comments about bribery trial
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:43AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 5:47PM EDT
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s lawyers have served legal notice to PC Leader Patrick Brown demanding an apology for comments he made yesterday suggesting Wynne is “standing trial” for the alleged actions of her subordinates in the lead-up to a byelection in Sudbury in 2015.
“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,” a letter delivered to Brown on Wednesday from Jack Siegel of Blaney McMurtry reads.
Siegel is asking for Brown to apologize for suggesting Wynne is standing trial in Sudbury and also to publish a retraction, by 5 p.m. on Thursday.
“The statements could be the subject of a defamation action,” Siegel warns in the letter.
On Tuesday, Brown lamented the fact that Liberal MPPs have avoided answering questions about the ongoing bribery trial in Sudubry, where local Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed Jr. and Wynne’s former deputy chief of staff Patricia Sorbara face Election Act charges.
“So I hope that the Premier will give us answers, we’re not getting them in the legislature, maybe when she stands trial,” Brown told reporters outside the legislative chamber.
He later clarified to say “we’ve got a sitting Premier sitting in trial and answering questions about allegations of bribery.”
Siegel told CP24 that if Brown merely misspoke, “I expect that this is something that can be resolved.”
Sorbara and Lougheed have pleaded not guilty to offering would-be candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to get him to step aside for Wynne's preferred candidate, former NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, in a 2015 byelection in the city.
Olivier recorded phone conversations with both Sorbara and Lougheed where they appear to suggest he could receive an appointment to a board or commission or a constituency office job in exchange for stepping aside.
PC deputy leader Steve Clark told CP24 the Liberals appeared to be trying to distract from the premier's testimony, which he called "unprecedented".
Speaking to reporters in Toronto, Deputy premier Deb Matthews denied the idea that the legal notice letter was an attempt to distract the public from the bribery trial.
"No, Patrick Brown is a lawyer," she said. "He knows that what he said was inappropriate. He knows he said it in a very, very public forum. I don't know why he didn't immediately correct the record."
-With files from the Canadian Press