Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says he will not apologize to Stephen Harper even now that the Prime Minister has filed suit against the Liberals for allegations that Mr. Harper knew of "Conservative bribery" related to the Chuck Cadman affair.
"We'll not apologize, come on. We want the truth from the Prime Minister," Mr. Dion told reporters yesterday after copies of Mr. Harper's statement of claim were released to the media.
Unlike a notice of libel written two weeks ago, the suit filed late last week in Ontario Superior Court does not name Mr. Dion, deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, or Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale - although they could yet be added.
Instead, the legal action is aimed at the party and at unnamed Liberal officials who posted stories headlined "Harper knew of Conservative Bribery" and "Harper Must Come Clean About Allegations of Conservative Bribery" on the Liberal Party website.
The statement of claim says the defendants have "acted with spite and ill will" toward the Prime Minister.
The stories remained on the Liberal website for many days after the original libel notice was sent and Mr. Dion, with the threat of legal action hanging in the air, said, legally, the allegations of the offer to Mr. Cadman suggest "a bribe."
"For the past couple of weeks, both inside and outside of Parliament, the Liberal Party and its agents have been making allegations against me of a criminal nature that are absolutely false, that are despicable," Mr. Harper told the House of Commons yesterday.
"We have been absolutely clear, as was Chuck Cadman during his life, about what transpired. Today my representatives have filed a statement of claim in a court of law, and I look forward to seeing the Leader of the Opposition actually let this go to trial so he can hear the whole truth and admit his own role in it."
Dona Cadman, the widow of Mr. Cadman who is also a Conservative candidate, says her husband was offered the policy by two unnamed Conservative officials. Mr. Cadman's daughter and son-in-law also say he told them about the offer.
The Conservatives say Mr. Cadman, who ran successfully as an Independent after losing a Conservative nomination, was merely being urged to rejoin the party and was offered help with a future election campaign.