Sun News host Ezra Levant ordered to pay $80K in libel suit to Saskatchewan lawyer

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Sun News host Ezra Levant ordered to pay $80K in libel suit to Saskatchewan lawyer

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NS NS's picture

 

Khurrum Awan, a Regina-based commercial litigation lawyer, launched the $100,000 suit in response to nine blogs in which Levant labeled him a liar, anti-Semitic and a jihadist during and after a 2008 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing. He alleged the posts hindered his ability to find a job.

NS NS's picture

 

This is the second libel case he's lost in recent years.

 

bekayne
Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Direct link  to the Beaverton story on the matter(I admit that I'm mainly adding this because it's probably the best headline EVER):

 

http://www.thebeaverton.com/national/item/1673-snot-nosed-idiot-with-sma...

bekayne

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/01/05/levant-faces-libel-claim-for-comparing-ac...

A Montreal-based activist group filed a libel action against right wing activist Ezra Levant on Dec. 22, the same day that he lost his appeal against another libel judgment.

In the latest lawsuit, filed in Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) allege that Levant defamed them by comparing them to Nazis and calling them “Jew-baiters.”

In a statement of claim, the group’s lawyer, Ottawa’s Yavar Hameed, writes that comparing the activist group to the Nazis is “false, inapposite and deliberately inflammatory.”

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Wait.. what?  It's illegal to suggest someone's a Nazi?

Not something I ever expected to learn at babble.  :0

6079_Smith_W

Well maybe it is actionable.

But it is only worth doing anything about it if you expect the slanderer has two nickels to rub together and you have any chance of collecting them.

 

oldgoat

I've always wondered how Ezra supports himself.

 

 

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Wait.. what?  It's illegal to suggest someone's a Nazi?

Yes, under common law, and possibly under the Criminal Code as well. Depends on the context, the intent, etc.

For you to even question that makes you a Nazi.

Or a Schmazi.

Said Wernher von Braun.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Or a Schmazi.
 

The plural of Schmazo.

But doesn't that belong in the foodie thread?  Schmazo-ball soup, and that sort of thing?  IIRC, Schmazo meal is made from only the whitest of white unleavened bread.

Unionist

Are you people seriously too young to have got my reference?? Do yourselves a favour, kick back, and listen to Tom Lehrer:

6079_Smith_W

Not too young. I just never heard that particular song of his. Thanks, U!

I know there's nothing we want more than to get back to talking about Ezra, but that reminds me of this great documentary about the vastly superior Russian thrusters that were left in storage when they shelved the moon project.

http://www.movies-net.com/cosmodrome/24717

Great documentary on Netflix if anyone is interested in that techie stuff. Unfortunately the one thing they don't address in the film, but which is right there to see, is who got their claws on all the free technology.

 

voice of the damned

Well, I've heard it stated, in fairly respectable media outlets, that Dalton McGuinty was engaged in anti-Muslim dog-whistling when he took a stand against the Tory plan to allow more religious schools, in the last Ontario election he fought. Could I be sued for saying "McGuintly's anti-Muslim pandering is the sort of thing I'd expect from Marine Le Pen?"

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

"Schmatzen" means to eat really loudly, or kiss, or otherwise smack your lips.

So seeing as we are sadly lacking a sex thread, I guess it winds up in food by default.

"Schmatzi" would be a great name for a Swiss restaurant, actually.

Geez, probably the most interesting and enjoyable thing ever to come from a conversation about him, even if it is a far left fielder. Or right field, or whatever.

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

I think it comes down to what you can convince a judge to let in the door.

And the context of the comments - the defamation claim, which is that they are alegedly being portrayed as racists - is a factor in it, not just whether a statement in isolation is fair comment or not.

If every comment that wasn't fair was grounds for defamation we'd have a lot of fun in here, wouldn't we?

 

voice of the damned

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

And the context of the comments - the defamation claim, which is that they are alegedly being portrayed as racists - is a factor in it, not just whether a statement in isolation is fair comment or not.

 

 

So, if I try to portray Stephen Harper as a misogynist who hates women, and I make statements about his policies that try to prove that allegation, I can be sued for one of those statements, because of my overall agenda of proving that Stephen Harper is a misogynist?

I could maybe see it being a problem if I just took some obscure random person I met in a bar, and posted a bunch of stuff on the internet, based on some fairly debatable extrapolations, about how he must hate Jews, Muslims, women, whatever.  But when you're an active lobby group trying to sway government actions, or a ruling politician implementing policies, I think there should be a fairly wide  leeway for someone to speculate, even unflatteringly, about your motivations.  

 

6079_Smith_W

I agree in principle, and there would be even more presumed leeway with Harper, as he is a public figure.

On the other hand, all this stuff is circumstantial. and sometimes depends on whether there are damages involved.

And of course some people file suits just to break someone with no expectation of winning, but just by getting them in the door.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Our friend has an Internet broadcasting facility which is subscribed to by thousands of his sycophants. Because he wishes to be in the spotlight for whatever he says, it could be reasonably argued that he intends to be a public figure. He has also had several (if not many) columns printed in the Canadian press. 

voice of the damned

montrealer58 wrote:

Our friend has an Internet broadcasting facility which is subscribed to by thousands of his sycophants. Because he wishes to be in the spotlight for whatever he says, it could be reasonably argued that he intends to be a public figure. He has also had several (if not many) columns printed in the Canadian press. 

By "our friend", you mean Levant? If so, I agree that he is a public-figure, and that if someone wants to call him(for example), "a racist, arab-hating nazi-style fuckhead", they are well within their rights to do so.

But the story under discussion isn't about Levant suing someone for insulting him. It's about Levant BEING sued for insulting people, ie. the pro-Palestinian activists in the CJPME. I'm arguing that they qualify as public-figures as well.  

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I think it is very possible said fuckhead would sue given any opportunity, so I don't want to mention his name aloud. This was the first time I had heard of CJPME, so I don't know if they are public figures or not.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It would seem to me that a Jewish group that relies on donations from the community would have the right to claim that calling them Nazi's defames them and causes injury.  I have seen libel suits where the person suing wins the legal point and gets awarded $1 in damages. Even if costs go to the winner they seldom cover 100% of the legal bills.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think it would be a novel defense to claim -- not unrealistically -- that on the Internet, the word "Nazi" has essentially lost any real or specific meaning. 

It's true that the word is still used to describe actual white-supremacist followers of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich, but in my experience, that constitutes about 5% of the times that a person in the modern day is called a Nazi.  The other 95% of the time it means someone voted for Donald Trump, or someone wants to ban skateboards in the park or someone who approves of a 3% increase in the police budget, or whatever.

oldgoat

montrealer58 wrote:

I think it is very possible said fuckhead would sue given any opportunity, so I don't want to mention his name aloud. This was the first time I had heard of CJPME, so I don't know if they are public figures or not.

Part of my job, though it doesn't come up often, is to keep an eye out for posts which might get this place sued.  Actually came close once with a former chief of staff to Mike Harris and Harper, a rather litigeous gentleman who's name may suggest Italian heritage, but who will be, as Poe's Lenore, nameless here for evermore.

I think we're cool here so far, but for the sake of consistancy perhaps we could merely refer to "that smarmy oleaginous little patch".  Merely a suggestion.

bekayne

oldgoat wrote:

Actually came close once with a former chief of staff to Mike Harris and Harper, a rather litigeous gentleman who's name may suggest Italian heritage, but who will be, as Poe's Lenore, nameless here for evermore.

That Guy..I mean guy?

oldgoat

Wink

Rev Pesky

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I think it would be a novel defense to claim -- not unrealistically -- that on the Internet, the word "Nazi" has essentially lost any real or specific meaning. 

It's true that the word is still used to describe actual white-supremacist followers of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich, but in my experience, that constitutes about 5% of the times that a person in the modern day is called a Nazi.  The other 95% of the time it means someone voted for Donald Trump, or someone wants to ban skateboards in the park or someone who approves of a 3% increase in the police budget, or whatever.

You forgot that it is also used to refer to feminists and Muslims on a regular basis.

Courtesy Wikipedia:

Quote:
...In his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be, Limbaugh credited his friend Tom Hazlett, professor of economics at the University of California at Davis, with coining the term. In the book, Limbaugh also stated that the word refers to unspecified women whose goal is to allow as many abortions as possible, saying at one point that there were fewer than 25 "true feminazis" in the U.S. Limbaugh has used the term to refer to members of the National Center for Women and Policing, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women, and other organizations at the March for Women's Lives, a large pro-choice demonstration.

In 2004, Limbaugh named feminist activists Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lahti, and Camryn Manheim as "famous feminazis". In 2005, Limbaugh said "I haven't used that term on this program in years. But it still gets to 'em, doesn't it? And you know why? Because it's right. Because it's accurate." As of October 2015 Limbaugh was still using the word regularly on his show.

Courtesy Wikipedia on 'Islamofascism':

Quote:
Accounts differ as to who popularized the term. President George W. Bush introduced the term officially during his presidency. According to Safire, author Christopher Hitchens was responsible for its diffusion, while Valerie Scatamburlo d'Annibale argues that its popularization is due to the work of Eliot Cohen, former counselor to Condoleezza Rice, reputed occasionally to be "the most influential neocon in academe". It circulated in neoconservative circles for some years after 2001 and came into wider currency after President George W. Bush, still grappling to find a phrase that might identify the nature of the "evil" which would define the nature of his enemy in the War on Terror, stated in 2005 that Islamofascism was an ideology synonymous with Islamic radicalism and militant jihadism, which, he then clarified, was decidedly distinct from the religion of Islam. It moved into the mainstream in August 2006.

I'll grant that 'fascism' is not strictly speaking 'Nazi-ism', but I suspect for the users of these terms, it was a distinction without a difference.

 

 

 

aka Mycroft

oldgoat wrote:

montrealer58 wrote:

I think it is very possible said fuckhead would sue given any opportunity, so I don't want to mention his name aloud. This was the first time I had heard of CJPME, so I don't know if they are public figures or not.

Part of my job, though it doesn't come up often, is to keep an eye out for posts which might get this place sued.  Actually came close once with a former chief of staff to Mike Harris and Harper, a rather litigeous gentleman who's name may suggest Italian heritage, but who will be, as Poe's Lenore, nameless here for evermore.

Ah - he actually phoned and threatened to sue me over something I said about on babble about him and his Harrisite cohorts, Leslie Noble and Tom Long, something which actually was perfectly factual, as I recall. I was both surprised and amused and, without thinking about it, burst out laughing on the phone. He hung up and I never heard anything more about it. 

hobyirwin

Good Day Unionist, you are dating yourself quoting Tom lehrer. My personal favorite, living in the land of great white hunters is, of course, the hunting song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A92_XFvez9U

The Whitehorse Star used to regulaly print is column but he has been very absent for many months, not missed.

Unionist

hobyirwin wrote:

Good Day Unionist, you are dating yourself quoting Tom lehrer.

I've been dating myself since high school, but I'm still hoping someone will say "yes" one of these days.

Quote:
My personal favorite, living in the land of great white hunters is, of course, the hunting song.

It's brilliant, and I do believe it's the first one I ever heard. I think I was about 12 years old, visiting an older friend's place, when he put this 78 on the turntable. It was love at first hearing - a love that never dies. I have too many favourites to count.

Now back to Ezra Levant.

Actually, the less said about him, the better. Life is too short.

 

voice of the damned

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It would seem to me that a Jewish group that relies on donations from the community would have the right to claim that calling them Nazi's defames them and causes injury.  I have seen libel suits where the person suing wins the legal point and gets awarded $1 in damages. Even if costs go to the winner they seldom cover 100% of the legal bills.  

So, what about "The Canadian Jewish Housewives Association supports the nazi-ish lebensrum policies of the state of Israel"? Could the CJHA(a fictional group as far as I can tell) sue the writer, on the grounds that they get donations from Jewish people, and calling them Nazis could lead to a decrease in donations?

I mean, really, if we're gonna say "A loss in revenue is an actionable injury", where is the end to it? In most cases, when you attack a political orgnization, your agenda is to get people to stop supporting it. Presumbaly, that includes financial donations.

voice of the damned

montrealer58 wrote:

I think it is very possible said fuckhead would sue given any opportunity, so I don't want to mention his name aloud. This was the first time I had heard of CJPME, so I don't know if they are public figures or not.

Well, the CJPME may not have promoted themselves as successfully as Levant has(I've heard of their cause, but not their specific group). However, I think it's safe to say that they qualify as a political group which is attempting to influence public opinion, and we can probably assume that they would like as many people as possible to hear their side of the issue. So yeah, they've entered the public arena, so to speak.  

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It would seem to me that a Jewish group that relies on donations from the community would have the right to claim that calling them Nazi's defames them and causes injury.  I have seen libel suits where the person suing wins the legal point and gets awarded $1 in damages. Even if costs go to the winner they seldom cover 100% of the legal bills.  

So, what about "The Canadian Jewish Housewives Association supports the nazi-ish lebensrum policies of the state of Israel"? Could the CJHA(a fictional group as far as I can tell) sue the writer, on the grounds that they get donations from Jewish people, and calling them Nazis could lead to a decrease in donations?

I mean, really, if we're gonna say "A loss in revenue is an actionable injury", where is the end to it? In most cases, when you attack a political orgnization, your agenda is to get people to stop supporting it. Presumbaly, that includes financial donations.

Sorry your slippery slope argument is not available since in libel law the onus is high on the accuser and it is very hard to win a case. Your musings are amusing but banal.

voice of the damned

kropotkin1951 wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It would seem to me that a Jewish group that relies on donations from the community would have the right to claim that calling them Nazi's defames them and causes injury.  I have seen libel suits where the person suing wins the legal point and gets awarded $1 in damages. Even if costs go to the winner they seldom cover 100% of the legal bills.  

So, what about "The Canadian Jewish Housewives Association supports the nazi-ish lebensrum policies of the state of Israel"? Could the CJHA(a fictional group as far as I can tell) sue the writer, on the grounds that they get donations from Jewish people, and calling them Nazis could lead to a decrease in donations?

I mean, really, if we're gonna say "A loss in revenue is an actionable injury", where is the end to it? In most cases, when you attack a political orgnization, your agenda is to get people to stop supporting it. Presumbaly, that includes financial donations.

Sorry your slippery slope argument is not available since in libel law the onus is high on the accuser and it is very hard to win a case. Your musings are amusing but banal.

 

So how does the onus being on the accuser mean that a pro-Israel Jewish organization couldn't succesfully sue someone for calling them Nazis, in the same way that the anti-Israel Jewish group successfuly sued Levant?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It would seem to me that a Jewish group that relies on donations from the community would have the right to claim that calling them Nazi's defames them and causes injury.  I have seen libel suits where the person suing wins the legal point and gets awarded $1 in damages. Even if costs go to the winner they seldom cover 100% of the legal bills.  

So, what about "The Canadian Jewish Housewives Association supports the nazi-ish lebensrum policies of the state of Israel"? Could the CJHA(a fictional group as far as I can tell) sue the writer, on the grounds that they get donations from Jewish people, and calling them Nazis could lead to a decrease in donations?

I mean, really, if we're gonna say "A loss in revenue is an actionable injury", where is the end to it? In most cases, when you attack a political orgnization, your agenda is to get people to stop supporting it. Presumbaly, that includes financial donations.

Sorry your slippery slope argument is not available since in libel law the onus is high on the accuser and it is very hard to win a case. Your musings are amusing but banal.

So how does the onus being on the accuser mean that a pro-Israel Jewish organization couldn't succesfully sue someone for calling them Nazis, in the same way that the anti-Israel Jewish group successfuly sued Levant?

The law turns on the exact facts of each case. Your ridiculous generalities are absurd in a legal sense. I don't have time to go into hypotheticals that actually don't contain enough facts to have a clue what the legal outcomes would be.  Because I do want a real discussion here is a primer on libel law. The defences against a libel attacks are numerous and designed to protect most types of free expression.

Quote:

Defamation refers to harming another person’s reputation by making a false written or oral statement about that person to a third party. Defamation law is not about protecting pride; it is about protecting reputation and offering restitution to people whose reputations have been wrongly damaged. Although courts will very occasionally issue an injunction to stop defamation that has not yet occurred, almost all defamation cases involve one person suing another for damages from defamatory statements that have already been made.

Tort law surrounding defamation law does not directly curb your right to free expression; it is not illegal per se. Rather, defamation is generally about paying damages to people that have been harmed by your speech. You can still say whatever you want, but you may have to pay for it (and you may have to pay a lot).

It should also be noted that defamation law in Canada varies from province to province. In Ontario, for example, legislation on defamation is found in the Libel and Slander Act. Defamation can be subdivided into libel and slander:

  • Libel: defamation with a permanent record, such as an email, a radio or TV broadcast, a newspaper, a website posting, etc.

  • Slander: defamation with no permanent record, such as a spoken statement or even a hand gesture.

If you are suing for libel in Canada, you do not need to prove that you suffered damages—you only need to prove that a false statement with a permanent record was made about you to a third party, and the court will presume that damages were suffered. If you are suing for slander, however, you usually do need to prove that damages were suffered. Proving that slander caused you financial loss is difficult, which is why slander cases are far less common than libel cases. There are a number of legal defenses against defamation:

1. You can claim that the statement was true; a true statement cannot be defamatory.

2. You can claim “absolute privilege,” which means that the communication was made in a venue where people ought to have absolute privilege to speak freely; this includes Parliament or giving evidence in a trial.

3. You can claim “qualified privilege,” which means that the communication was given in a non-malicious and well-intentioned context and therefore ought to be excused: for example, giving an honest but negative reference for a former employee.

4. You can claim “fair comment,” which means that your statement was a non-malicious opinion about a matter of public interest: for example, an editorial in a newspaper about a politician.

5. You can claim “responsible communication on matters of public importance,” which allows journalists to report false allegations if the news is urgent and of public importance, and if the journalist made an effort to verify the information. Even if the statement is false, the public has an interest in this type of discussion being legally permissible.

http://www.cjfe.org/defamation_libel_and_slander_what_are_my_rights_to_f...

 

voice of the damned

Well,  the critierion you mentioned on the last page was that the group could claim to have suffered a loss in donations as a result of the speech in question. Would it really be a "ridiculous generalization" to say that that factor would be present in the case of a pro-Israel being called Nazi, just as surely as in the case of an anti-Israel group being called Nazi? Jewish people tend to have a pretty negative assessment of Nazis, and if some of them believe a group is Nazi-like, they might be inclined to withhold donations.

I'm not sure which part of the legal primer is supposed to show that my hypothetical could never be realized, but thanks for it anyway. One other thing I'll say is that I have to stand corrected, as I've been saying that the courts ruled against Levant, but, re-reading the iPolitics article, it seems the case has just started. I'd be surprised if the courts rule against Levant.  

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Your hypothetical did not contain enough facts to get into a discussion over whether it could succeed or not. I frankly don't have time for your inanities so I apologise for giving you the time of day.

Edzell Edzell's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Your hypothetical did not contain enough facts to get into a discussion over whether it could succeed or not. I frankly don't have time for your inanities so I apologise for giving you the time of day.
This seems needlessly insolent. At whom is it aimed? (I don't have the patience to unravel the multi-nested posts of people who just puke whole slices of thread, too lazy to edit the contents down to readily intelligible portions.)

Unionist

Edzell wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Your hypothetical did not contain enough facts to get into a discussion over whether it could succeed or not. I frankly don't have time for your inanities so I apologise for giving you the time of day.
This seems needlessly insolent. At whom is it aimed? (I don't have the patience to unravel the multi-nested posts of people who just puke whole slices of thread, too lazy to edit the contents down to readily intelligible portions.)

I think it's aimed at [url=http://rabble.ca/comment/1593613#comment-1593613]this[/url]. Glad to save you some time.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

Direct link  to the Beaverton story on the matter(I admit that I'm mainly adding this because it's probably the best headline EVER):

 

http://www.thebeaverton.com/national/item/1673-snot-nosed-idiot-with-sma...

Here's an updated version of that link(the last one apparently went extinct or something)

https://www.thebeaverton.com/2014/11/snot-nosed-idiot-with-small-penis-l...

voice of the damned

Unionist wrote:

Edzell wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Your hypothetical did not contain enough facts to get into a discussion over whether it could succeed or not. I frankly don't have time for your inanities so I apologise for giving you the time of day.
This seems needlessly insolent. At whom is it aimed? (I don't have the patience to unravel the multi-nested posts of people who just puke whole slices of thread, too lazy to edit the contents down to readily intelligible portions.)

I think it's aimed at [url=http://rabble.ca/comment/1593613#comment-1593613]this[/url]. Glad to save you some time.

 

I'm still not seeing what's "inane" about suggesting that if a Nazi comparison can be claimed to libel one Jewish group(because of lost donations), the courts could apply it to any Jewish group.

As for my example not containing enough "facts", well, it was Kropotkin himself who first raised the issue of lost funding. So, presumably, the only fact we would need to know about the hypothetical is that the Jewish group lost funding.

And according to the link that Kroptokin posted, the complainant in a libel case(as opposed to a slander case) doesn't even need to prove that they suffered damages, just that the unflattering remarks were put down on record. And since we're talking about comparisons, not actual mis-stemements of fact, it seems like a perilously low bar to get money from someone you don't like.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

 it seems like a perilously low bar to get money from someone you don't like.

That is exactly the underlying message I took away from your posts. You are wrong. Is that simple enough for you?

voice of the damned

Yeah, I get that I'm wrong. I just don't know why.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

Yeah, I get that I'm wrong. I just don't know why.

That is why I posted the primer. Outside of Quebec our libel law is a type of common law tort.  It is not written down in a statute and to determine whether you have a chance of winning one needs to read tons of case law that is on point to the facts in your case. What I keep trying to say to you is don't worry about the slippery slope because if their is a tilt in the playing field it is in favour free expression. 

That is one of the reasons why this asshole is interesting. A person has to step way beyond the norm to be successfully sued for libel. Just take a quick peruse of the defences and you will find they are extensive and normally win the day.

voice of the damned

Okay, thanks for that.

Based on what you've wirtten here, it would now seem to me that the issue is not Will A Succesful Suit Against Sun News Be Used Against Other Groups. but rather Will There Be A Successful Suit Against Sun News At All? If the playing field is as tilted toward free expression as you say it is, I'd be curious to know what in the case law would determine Levant's comments to be libel. Again, going by what would seem to be the observable standard of decorum in Canadian political debate.

One thing I wonder about in cases like this is what exactly constitutes a lie? If, for example, I were to write in the newspaper "The people in the Anti-Widget League are planting bombs in widget factories", and that's not true, obviously it's a lie, one that could cause serious hardship to the anti-widget people, and they could probably sue me successfully. But if I write"The people in the Anti-Widget League don't give a flying fuck if the workers in widget factories all lose their jobs, because they hate working-class people anyway", can the anti-widget people sue me for libel, and prove their case simply by saying "No, no, we don't hate working class people at all"?

pookie

Unionist wrote:

Are you people seriously too young to have got my reference?? Do yourselves a favour, kick back, and listen to Tom Lehrer:

Yes.  Tongue out

pookie

There aren't that many bright lines, VOTD, except things like the statement has to be disseminated somehow and that certain contexts are absolutely protected against the successful invocation of the tort.   It's not really possible to answer your question in the abstract.  I will say, though, that libel makes no allowances for whether the impugned speech is more or less politically "palatable", which I think is what you may be trying to get at.

voice of the damned

^ Actually, it wasn't the "political palatability" of the speech I was getting at(hence my use of widgets, to avoid spillover from real-world issues). What I was wondering about was the tangibility, for lack of a better word, of the alleged libel. An actual case...

In the 70s, Bill Vander Zalm famously sued a cartoonist who had portrayed him as pulling the wings off of flies, because he thought the cartoon unfairly portrayed his ministry's welfare policies as cruel and sadistic. VDZ lost the case at the appeals level, but regardless of what you think about the outcome...How exactly do you go about proving or disproving that the artist had plausible reason to think that VDZ is sadistic? Short of VDZ coming out and saying "Yeah, I really got a boner watching all those welfare cases scrounging for food", one person's guess about the contents of his mind is probably as good the next person's. Even if you wanted to say "Well, people suffered because of his policies, so that probably gives us a clue as to his motivation", VDZ could just reply "Hey, I just needed to balance the budget, or the economy would have been hit even harder." And how do you prove he doesn't believe that?

While researching the Vander Zalm case, I came across this recent article from the Georgia Straight that also mentions a more recent(2008) case from BC, involving Rafe Mair, and the principles applied by the judgement. (Sorry can't link)...

google: "Former NHL referee Andy Van Hellmond blows the whistle on a Toronto Star Cartoon"

The 2008 criteria are listed at the end. Assuming the case applies to the Levant suit, I think (d) would be the main point of contention, ie. Could a person honestly reach the conclusion(correct or otherwise) that the pro-Palestinian group is anti-semitic?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

voice of the damned

^ Actually, it wasn't the "political palatability" of the speech I was getting at(hence my use of widgets, to avoid spillover from real-world issues). What I was wondering about was the tangibility, for lack of a better word, of the alleged libel. An actual case...

In the 70s, Bill Vander Zalm famously sued a cartoonist who had portrayed him as pulling the wings off of flies, because he thought the cartoon unfairly portrayed his ministry's welfare policies as cruel and sadistic. VDZ lost the case at the appeals level, but regardless of what you think about the outcome...How exactly do you go about proving or disproving that the artist had plausible reason to think that VDZ is sadistic? Short of VDZ coming out and saying "Yeah, I really got a boner watching all those welfare cases scrounging for food", one person's guess about the contents of his mind is probably as good the next person's. Even if you wanted to say "Well, people suffered because of his policies, so that probably gives us a clue as to his motivation", VDZ could just reply "Hey, I just needed to balance the budget, or the economy would have been hit even harder." And how do you prove he doesn't believe that?

While researching the Vander Zalm case, I came across this recent article from the Georgia Straight that also mentions a more recent(2008) case from BC, involving Rafe Mair, and the principles applied by the judgement. (Sorry can't link)...

google: "Former NHL referee Andy Van Hellmond blows the whistle on a Toronto Star Cartoon"

The 2008 criteria are listed at the end. Assuming the case applies to the Levant suit, I think (d) would be the main point of contention, ie. Could a person honestly reach the conclusion(correct or otherwise) that the pro-Palestinian group is anti-semitic?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

That was a good article VOD.

Quote:

In 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada offered greater clarity on what constitutes fair comment in a lawsuit filed by right-wing crusader Kari Simpson against broadcaster Rafe Mair.

Justice Ian Binnie ruled that fair comment must contain four elements:

(a) the comment must be on a matter of public interest;

(b) the comment must be based on fact;

(c) the comment, though it can include inferences of fact, must be recognizable as comment;

(d) the comment must satisfy the following objective test: could any person honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?

http://www.straight.com/article-401939/vancouver/former-nhl-referee-andy...

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

While I realize it would violate the codes which lawyers are supposedly operating under, I would derive significant amusement from reading an honest evaluattion from Levant's lawyers on the actual merits of the cases where they are defending him. Not whether or not they believe their case is can be won (successsfully defended) but their honest impressions of the substance... Alas, it would violate the codes... so I will have to make do with strictly hypothetical amusement.

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