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Conservatives threaten Liberals 
with lawsuit
Politics Watch ® News Services
October 25, 2007, updated 5:50 p.m.
http://www.politicswatch.com/election-october25-2007.htm

The Liberal party has been warned to stop making "defamatory" allegations against former Conservative party candidates who now work in Ottawa.

OTTAWA  (PoliticsWatch.com) —  A lawyer representing six Conservative party officials and ministerial staffers has sent a letter to Liberal party headquarters accusing the party and an MP of making "defamatory" statements.  
  
The letter addressed to Liberal party president Marie Poulin and executive director Greg Fergus came in response to a press release the Liberals put out this week. 

In the press release, the Liberals alleged that a number of Tory staffers who were candidates for the Conservative party in the last election may have participated in the so-called "in and out" campaign financing controversy. 

"This letter is therefore intended to serve as notice that it is defamatory to suggest or imply that these individuals engaged in illegal conduct," wrote lawyer Paul Lepsoe

"In particular, it is defamatory to suggest or imply that the positions that these individuals have or have had on ministers' staffs are 'rewards' for having engaged in illegal conduct."

The letter specifically mentioned Liberal MP Dominc Leblanc as someone the Conservatives could take "appropriate" action against. 

"Govern yourself accordingly. Kindly bring this letter to the attention of Mr. Leblanc," the letter concludes. 

"It's a chill letter," Leblanc told reporters after question period. 

"It's in fact rather a weakly worded chill letter. . . We don't intend to be intimidated by this kind of stuff and we intend to continue asking questions until such a time as we're satisfied that there's some answers."

The Conservatives are embroiled in a court challenge against Elections Canada, which is refusing to reimburse a number of Conservative candidates for election spending on advertising. 
 
The party transferred over a million dollars to local candidates who then used the money to purchase advertising. The Conservatives say the money was for local advertising, but Elections Canada argues the money was spent on ads for the national campaign and thus cannot be considered a local campaign expense. 

Since Parliament reconvened, the Liberals have focused much of their question period time on the Conservatives' legal battle with elections Canada.  

On Thursday, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan downplayed the seriousness of the scandal given that the Liberal leader Stephane Dion did not vote against the government's throne speech on Wednesday evening. 

"If he really believed his wild accusations, he would have voted yesterday in a fashion consistent with that and we would be in an election," Van Loan said in question period.

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