TORONTO - Ontario's finance minister has filed a defamation suit against the former leader of the Progressive Conservative party for allegations made in a recently published book.

Vic Fedeli claims Patrick Brown made false and defamatory comments about alleged sexual misconduct and a slew of other problematic statements in his book, "Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown," which was published in November.

In a statement of claim filed Wednesday, Fedeli said the book was a "vicious and petulant attack on his character" designed to settle political scores. The allegations have not been tested in court.

The book's publishing company, Optimum Publishing International, and its director, Dean Baxendale, are also named as defendants in the suit, which seeks at least $8 million in damages.

"The respective defendants have maliciously defamed Fedeli, making and widely publicizing a series of allegations and timed to caused maximum damage to his reputation," the claim states, referring to the date of publication, which occurred on the day Fedeli delivered the fall economic statement in the legislature.

Baxendale said neither he nor Brown, who was voted in as mayor of Brampton, Ont., last fall, have yet been served with the claim.

"If and when a claim is served, we will respond appropriately," Baxendale said in an email.

Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The former provincial politician, who resigned as party leader last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, portrayed himself in his book as a victim of a conspiracy led by senior Tory officials.

He wrote in his book that Fedeli faced accusations of "inappropriate behaviour" by a party staffer in December 2017, which Fedeli has denied.

Fedeli lists a litany of allegations made by Brown that he says are defamatory. The minister says they include allegations that he is dishonest, duplicitous, a "suck up," disloyal and unfaithful, according to the claim.

The document also takes issue with Brown's assertion that Fedeli abused his power to have a sexual harassment complainant removed from her job.

The finance minister says he wasn't given the opportunity to comment or respond to the allegations prior to publication of the book.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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