Brown says he’ll ignore threats of legal action over comments
Kathleen Wynne's Liberals are only interested in their own political survival, says Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN)
PC Leader Patrick Brown is not sorry.
Although he was not repeating them Thursday, Brown has refused to retract or apologize for remarks he made regarding Premier Kathleen Wynne’s testimony at the alleged job bribery trial in Sudbury.
Wynne’s lawyers have threatened to sue Brown, saying he told reporters that she was on trial, instead of making it clear that she was a voluntary witness for the Crown.
Brown had until 5 p.m. Thursday to make a public retraction, and it wasn’t immediately known what action the premier’s lawyers would take.
“I will ignore her baseless threat,” Brown said. “It’s a sorry spectacle for Ontario to see the sitting Premier of Ontario humiliated in this fashion, debased in this fashion, and she’s compounded the problem by this threat yesterday.”
Wynne testified Wednesday at a trial where her former chief of staff Pat Sorbara and local Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed are charged in connection with allegations made by a former byelection candidate that he was offered a job or appointment to vacate the race for preferred candidate Glenn Thibeault.
Wynne told the court that no such bribe was made, but the Liberals did attempt to keep thwarted candidate Andrew Olivier in the party.
Both Lougheed and Sorbara have said they did nothing wrong, and Wynne was not a subject of the investigation.
But Brown said her testimony was a “sad day for Ontario ... Seeing the Premier of Ontario having to testify at a trial where there’s allegations against her closest advisor, no one regardless of your political allegiances want to see the Premier of Ontario humiliated in that light.”
Deputy Premier Deb Matthews said the PC Leader’s refusal to apologize was “enormously disappointing.”
There’s a principle that one should not make defamatory, misleading comments about another political leader, she said.
“In Canada, we actually expect people to be honest,” Matthews said. “There is south of the border a change in that culture. I do not want to see that change coming to Canada.”
Brown’s apology would “take 30 seconds” and he’d be done with it, she said.