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BC Hydro Suing Opponents of Site C Dam in SLAPP-style Suit, Legal Experts Say

Nothing remains at the Rocky Mountain Fort site where Peace Valley farmers and First Nations camped for 60 days in the hopes of stopping clear-cut logging for the Site C dam. The camp was dismantled in March and the old-growth spruce and cottonwood forest was logged, as BC Hydro prepares to convert the Class 1 heritage site into a Site C waste rock dump.

But one notable thing still stands: the civil lawsuit BC Hydro filed in January against five campers and a supporter, a suit the B.C. Civil Liberties Association describes as a matter “of grave concern.”

Protecting Rights: Interview with Alan Dutton

Here is a link to an interview I gave to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).This link will take you to the CCLA interview: https://ccla.org/an-interview-with-alan-dutton/

A brief on the need to implement the UN covenant on civil and political rights will follow.

Stop the Assault on Democratic Rights

I sent a letter on behalf of over 200 people to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of BC asking that Bill M223 - Anti-SLAPP Act 2015 - proceed to second reading and Committee for discussion. We believe that Bill M223 is crucial for democracy in B.C. because it will empower courts to identify and prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation – or SLAPPs – and thereby stop the assault on democratic rights.

Dutton on SLAPPs

Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Interview with Alan Dutton on the Status of Protest Rights in Canada 2016-03-21

Metro Vancouver Waste Dump Lawsuit

Seriously Free forum on Corporate SLAPPs v. Free Speech Forum recording on Metro Vancouver waste and Botanie Valley and Michael Vonn of the BCCLA on SLAPPs.

Pages

BCCLA on Dutton v. Kinder Morgan

Will the Charter Protect Me?

Everyone in Canada should have the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to freely voice their concerns and to organize public demonstrations. But they don't. SLAPP suits undermine and subvert democratic rights and the democratic process. In fact, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect protestors and critics and the courts impose a huge burden to achieve any sort of justice and redress. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of the Canadian Constitution and while it is supposed to protect citizens against government it is not generally applied to disputes between private parties. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media or communications are guaranteed by Section 2(b) of the Charter and freedom of peaceful assembly by section 2(c). However, unlike the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies only to protection from government intervention - not private disputes for alleged defamation and protests. Read more

Sven Biggs on Wilderness v. Taseko

Will the Courts Protect Me?

The answer is almost certainly no. The courts are biased in allowing cases to proceed to trial. To have a lawsuit dismissed, a target of a SLAPP suit must prove on the balance of probabilities that a suit was filed for a malicious purpose such as to silence a person on a matter of public concern or to stop them from demonstrating. To prove malicious intent against a large corporation with almost unlimited resources is difficult at best. In short, it is very difficult and expensive to have a SLAPP suit dismissed in Canada even if there is no credible proof that a lawsuit is an abuse of process, malicious and without factual basis. This is unlike the United States where over half the States have specific anti-SLAPP legislation and First Amendment rights to free speech that provide rules for the better protection of the right to protest and speak out against government agencies and corporations. Read more

Carol Baird Ellan, former BCSC Judge on SLAPPs

Thank you!

Thanks to all our supporters. In particular, thanks to West Coast Environmental Law for two grants to develop recommendations for effective anti-SLAPP suit legislation, Dr. Jane Shin, MLA Burnaby-Lougheed for continuing to push for anti-SLAPP legislation and to students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for continued support. Click here to read statements of support to reclaim democratic rights.

Resources

Breaking the Silence: the need for anti SLAPP legislation. EcoJustice (2010)

Report to Ontario Attorney General. Moran Anti-SLAPP Advisory Panel (2010)

Recommended Legislative Measures to Counter Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation BC Civil Liberties Association (2012).

SLAPP: the BC Experience. Tollefson and Scott (2010)

Anti-SLAPP Handbook. West Coast Environmental Law (2002).

Recommendations for Anti-SLAPP Legislation with Appendices. Environmental Defense Working Group (2015).

Contact Us

Stop SLAPP suits
324-280 Nelson Street
Vancouver, B.C.
V6B 2E2
info[at]stopslappsuits
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This site provides no legal advice, and no representation is made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information presented. Links to news, commentary, and guest blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stop SLAPP Suit Project.