slideshow 1

Burnaby Now Editorial: "...case raises alarming questions"

I just ran across the following editorial and I'm posting it because it perfectly explains better than I can why we are fighting SLAPP suits and what's wrong with Canadian courts. A court recently found me responsible for a conspiracy to commit assault, interference with contracts, economic loss, trespass and other torts because of guilt by association. My name happened to be well-known because I was a spokesperson for the Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan (BROKE) and I built BROKE's website and managed the Burnaby Pipeline Watch Facebook page.

Legislation to prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation in British Columbia

West Coast Environmental Law
August 2017

Forward

The Environmental Defense Working Group and Burnaby Pipeline Watch received a grant in 2015 from the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation (WCEL) to research and prepare recommendations for legislation to protect public participation in British Columbia. As part of the grant, the WCEL prepared a summary in August 2017 of the case for legislation and recommendations for the proposed legislation. Additional information about our recommendations is on this website and Facebook.

Draft Bill for a new Protection of Public Participation Act

Forward

The Environmental Defense Working Group and Burnaby Pipeline Watch received a grant in 2015 from the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation (WCEL) to research and prepare recommendations for legislation to protect public participation in British Columbia. As part of the grant, the WCEL prepared a summary in August 2017 of the case for legislation and recommendations for the proposed legislation. Additional information about our recommendations is on this website and Facebook.

Draft Bill
Protection of Public Participation Act, 2018

Court dismisses company’s libel lawsuit against teacher over Facebook postings

When Katie Mohammed turned to Facebook to air concerns about her community — as millions of people do every day — she didn’t think she’d ever be sued for libel, and become the centre of a precedent-setting case in Ontario’s laws protecting speech in the public interest.

“I’m just relieved that it’s over,” Katie Mohammed said Wednesday, after a libel lawsuit against her was dismissed. “It’s like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders.”

By ALEX MCKEEN Staff Reporter
Wed., July 26, 2017

TIME IS RIPE FOR RETURN OF ANTI-SLAPP LEGISLATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

By Mark Bourrie

As B.C.’s Green and New Democrat politicians prepare to vote down the Liberal government after the May provincial election, we might soon have an opportunity to bring back legal protection for British Columbians targeted with anti-free expression litigation.

Defending the Right to Protest

Burnaby No Trans Mountain Pipeline March

I am very happy to speak tonight about strategic lawsuits against public participation – or SLAPPs. – because SLAPPs raise some of the most important issues of our time.

We fought for the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to protest. We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a Constitution and we have signed international agreements that are supposed to guarantee our rights. But they clearly don’t.

Pages

AddToAny

Share

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

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

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
Facebook Stop SLAPP Suits

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.