In a statement of defence filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Tuesday, the Liberal Party of Canada says Harper's claim should be dismissed, arguing his legal action is a "fundamental attack on the freedom of political expression."
They also ask that "this action be tried by a jury."
In their statement of claim, the Liberals defend the articles, saying they were published without malice, are of public interest and that criticism of the government is protected under the Charter.
"The reports were published in good faith and in accordance with the Defendants' legal, moral, social and profession duties to engage legitimate public debate," the statement of claim says.
According to the statement of claim, the Liberals "expressly" deny that the words are defamatory of Harper, but if they are, then they are "true or substantially true."
As well, the Liberals deny Harper has suffered damage to his reputation and reject the damages he's seeking as "excessive, exaggerated, remote."
But they add that if Harper's reputation was damaged, then he brought it upon himself for refusing to answer questions about the controversy.
This suit just keeps the story in the news, every item involves a rehash of Cadman, leaving open questions. On top of that, Harper's suit has virtually no support, outside of the Conservative base, it's a loser politically:
Only three in 10 Canadians think Prime Minster Stephen Harper would be right to sue Stephane Dion and other Liberals for publishing the allegations on the party's official website.
On the question of how to deal with the allegations, a solid majority of those polled - 62 per cent - said "these matters should be kept out of the courts."
Source Ipsos Reid
In going to court, while simultaneously refusing to answer questions, Harper loses a measure of credibility. The Liberal defence asks a good question, if Harper is so concerned about his integrity, why isn't he forthcoming? Conservatives would argue that Harper has every right to sue, this isn't a political consideration. I would argue that this move was entirely political, the bully tactic, employed to "chill" the Liberals. It fits very nicely with standard policy.
In reality, outside of the partisans, this case just makes Harper look like a baby, who can dish it out, but apparently can't take it. Don't expect the public to endorse a process which unnecessarily bleeds taxpayer money, on a question which Harper has failed to publicly settle. I have a feeling, if the Conservatives could turn back time, they would never have chosen this particular path. Just wait until we start seeing "witnesses".