Hardeman disappointed in Wynne

QUEEN’S PARK – Today in the Ontario Legislature, Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford, said that he is disappointed Premier Wynne has chosen to launch a strategic lawsuit against opposition leader Tim Hudak to stop him raising concerns and questioning her role in illegally destroying documents in the Premier’s office.

“I’m disappointed that the Premier has chosen to launch a lawsuit instead of simply laying out all the facts and answering the questions,” said Hardeman in the Legislature. “Strategic lawsuits are simply meant to bully and intimidate someone into staying quiet.”

Yesterday it was announced that Premier Wynne has launched a $2 million lawsuit against Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak for questioning her role in the wiping of computer hard drives in the Premier’s office, allegedly to destroy documents related to the gas plant relocation.

“I think that it is unfortunate that the Premier has chosen to launch a lawsuit, which is so contrary to the very bill that her government introduced and we are debating today,” said Hardeman. “Ontario should not allow strategic lawsuits to be used in an effort to shut down debate.”

Hardeman made the remarks during debate on Bill 83, the Protection of Public Participation Act. The bill is based on the recommendations of the Attorney General’s “Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel” report which states:

“Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) has been defined as a lawsuit initiated against one or more individuals or groups that speak out or take a position on an issue of public interest. SLAPPs use the court system to limit the effectiveness of the opposing party’s speech or conduct. SLAP intimidate opponents, deplete their resources, reduce their ability to participate in public affairs, and deter others from participating in discussion on matters of public interest.”

During the speech Hardeman commended Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak for his courage in continuing to raise questions and concerns under the threat of litigation.

“I don’t believe a member of the Legislature should be prevented from speaking out on an important public issue because of fear of a lawsuit from a government member,” said Hardeman during the speech. “Just as a community groups shouldn’t be intimidated by big companies.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239