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

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voice of the damned
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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
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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
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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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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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
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

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 this. Glad to save you some time.


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

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 this. 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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

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

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

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
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

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
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Joined: Dec 13 2005

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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

^ 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
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Joined: Sep 23 2004

^ 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
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

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
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

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.


kropotkin1951
Online
Joined: Jun 6 2002

Is his lawyer a Doug Christie clone?


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