Holocaust Denial Now Punishable By Prison Time In Canada

It’s something that has been discussed in this country for years: the proposal of making Holocaust denial a criminal offence.

It was buried in Bill C-19, Division 21, Section 332. This wasn’t a stand alone Bill, but rather, slipped into a budget. Most likely, very few people know about it.

332 (1) Section 319 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
Willful promotion of antisemitism
(2.‍1) Everyone who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) Subsections 319(4) to (6) of the Act are replaced by the following:
Defences — subsection (2.‍1)
(3.‍1) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2.‍1)
(a) if they establish that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, they expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds they believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, they intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of antisemitism toward Jews.

Forfeiture
(4) If a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), (2) or (2.‍1) or section 318, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on such conviction, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.

Exemption from seizure of communication facilities
(5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply, with any modifications that the circumstances require, to subsection (1), (2) or (2.‍1) or section 318.

Consent
(6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) or (2.‍1) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

(3) Subsection 319(7) of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
Holocaust means the planned and deliberate state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators from 1933 to 1945; (Holocauste)

Would “Conservatives” oppose this on free speech grounds? Would they fight for the principle that even controversial speech must be protected? Will they object to it being slipped into a budget? Not exactly.

Kevin Waugh, a “Conservative”, introduced Bill C-250, a Private Member’s Bill, that would do basically the same thing. Interestingly, Waugh’s lacked some safeguards that Bill C-19 had, such as remedies to prevent prosecution.

It’s unclear why this was introduced twice in the House of Commons. Perhaps Waugh’s Private Bill was a backup plan in case Schedule 21 got removed from the budget.

Both versions have the provision that consent from the Attorney General is required for a prosecution. While this may be seen as a check, it opens the possibility of politically selected cases.

Where’s Pierre Poilievre on this free speech issue? Where’s Maxime Bernier?

Remember the flack Iqra Khalid caught for M-103? That was a Motion simply to “study” Islamophobia, and she has heckled for a long time afterwards. She never proposed putting anyone in prison.

For what it’s worth, Senator Paula Simons was willing to speak out on this. However, she’s very much in the minority when it comes to addressing the subject.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bills
(2) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-19
(3) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-19/third-reading
(4) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-250
(5) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/kevin-waugh(89084)
(6) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=521753
(7) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=111&regId=917368&blnk=1
(8) https://twitter.com/Paulatics/status/1537078472820006915
(9) https://sencanada.ca/en/senators/simons-paula/interventions/581135/47#hID
(10) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iNiV2uAsQg&feature=youtu.be

Unpopular Opinion: If You “DO” Vote, You Don’t Have The Right To Complain

It’s a widely repeated mantra among many that “If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain”. The logic seems to be that citizens aren’t allowed to criticize the state of affairs unless they cast a ballot for someone. Apparently, taking a principled stance in not supporting anyone is grounds to limit the ability to comment.

However, many of these same irate voters will express frustration and disillusionment with their choices within 6 months to 3 years. That said, it won’t stop people from endorsing the same people again and again. After all, the alternative is worse, right?

While this would certainly apply to Ontario — which has an election in June — the same principles are valid at all levels of Government.

This raises the interesting question: should people who voted for a dishonest and mediocre candidate have the right to complain afterwards?

Certainly, there will be claims that the voters had no idea that so-and-so would be so deceitful. Is that true though? Would a reasonable amount of due diligence have led to the conclusion that certain people can’t be trusted? Given that we are now in the internet era, it’s easier than ever to do background checks on the people running for office.

In fairness, the average person had no idea about this “pandemic” hoax that would be launched a few years ago. Still, this is a problem that goes much further back.

Take a look through any social media site. People will say they are voting for a person, not because they like or trust them, but because the alternative is worse. A great number also struggle to give any coherent reason as to why they are doing it. Using Ford as a specific example, Twitter is filled with people pledging to vote for the man who destroyed their Province — because Horwath and Del Duca would be much worse.

As lame a “journalist” as Brian Lilley is, he unfortunately sums up the right-wing quite well in Ontario, and Canada more broadly. Mindless sheep vote en masse for someone they KNOW will continue to wreck society. Ford brought in mask mandates, vaccine passports, issued stay-at-home orders, shut down entire sectors of business, ruined school for children, etc…. and he may very well get RE-ELECTED.

In the 2021 Federal election, millions voted for the Conservative Party of Canada. This came in spite of them being subsidized by Trudeau, and running on a PRO-vaccine passport agenda.

Support isn’t limited to real parties either. One would think that a “party” that doesn’t elect its leader, have a constitution, or vote on policies would be a cause for concern. After all, it’s been 4 years. Sadly, some simply cannot be reasoned with.

Take the U.K. as another example: Boris Johnson claimed (when running to replace Theresa May) that he would slash immigration to the “tens of thousands”. However, all it takes is a quick search to know that he supported amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegals, while acting as Mayor of London.

In reality, it’s quite easy to check out candidates who are running for office. This is especially true if they’ve had a career in politics. Very few actually do it though.

Back to the premise of the article: if someone has no interest in performing any due diligence on the people who want to run their municipalities, provinces, or country, do they have the right to complain? Moreover, when the politician they helped install breaks all promises, are the voters not complicit in helping them?

If you vote for someone — while ignoring all of the warning signs — you are an accomplice to whatever destructive policies they may enact. As such, you don’t have the right to complain.

Here’s another unpopular opinion: universal voting is a bad idea. If someone can’t be bothered to do their homework on what they’re voting for, it’s detrimental to allow them access.

Update: As mentioned below, some countries, like Australia, make voting mandatory. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be fair to treat that the same way, if force is applied. The article was designed with Canada in mind, which doesn’t have such requirements.

Poilievre’s And Baird’s Questionable Commitment To Free Speech

Pierre Poilievre campaigning to become the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Notwithstanding his nonsensical claim about “running to be Prime Minister” (that’s not how the system works), he goes on and on about making Canada the freest country in the world.

While there seems to be nothing wrong with this sales pitch, his commitment to freedom — or more specifically, free speech — is quite questionable. Nothing politicians say should ever be taken at face value. Instead, it’s more important to dig into them to verify.

Poilievre’s campaign for CPC leadership is co-chaired by John Baird, a former Cabinet Minister. However, looking at what Baird has done since leaving politics is cause for concern.

In 2018, Baird became a Director with CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He has long been a supporter of the organization. This is a lobbyist group that attempts to change policy in Canada. What’s disturbing is what CIJA lists in terms of its political influence.

Grant, Contribution or Other Financial Benefit
Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP): The objective of the project is to combat online disinformation and hate, specifically, antisemitism and antisemitic conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 where it is spreading: online via social media. Antisemitism cannot be allowed to permeate civil discourse and become mainstream. Activities include:
Collect examples of how antisemitism presents itself in the context of COVID19
Create website landing page for campaign to highlight the campaign’s purpose and goals
•Prepare social media calendar for the duration of the campaign
•Prepare Facebook ads, prepare toolkit to distribute to partner organizations to promote the campaign
•Program content for campaign, run Facebook ads, and ensure participation from various cultural groups; and
•Report to government and stakeholders on the outcome of the campaign. The Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP) supports the priorities of the Digital Citizen Initiative by providing time-limited financial assistance that will support democracy and social cohesion in Canada in a digital world by enhancing and/or supporting efforts to counter online disinformation and other online harms and threats to our country’s democracy and social cohesion.
Provide economic support for the charitable and not-for-profit sector through a direct granting program. Donations from Canadians should be incentivized through a temporary enhancement of the charitable giving tax credit, or through a donor matching program, whereby the government matches donations from Canadians.
Public Security threats to the safety and security of the Jewish community of Canada and the extension of funding of capital costs and staff training for security of communities at risk

The project ‘United Against Online Hate’ aims to develop a national coalition with numerous targeted communities to actively combat online hate, following recommendations from the study conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We have been granted $141,000 for the government’s current fiscal year (ending March 31 2021). We were also awarded $31,800 for the year April 1 2021 to March 31 2022.

Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution
A civil remedy based in human rights law, included in the Canadian Human Rights Act, with respect to combating hate speech, including antisemitism. Training for provincial attorneys general, prosecutors, and police to enforce Criminal Code hate speech provisions. Training and parameters should cite the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

CITIZENSHIP ACT (continued support for the power of the state under the current citizenship act to remove citizenship in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, terrorism and extreme promotion of hate.)
Civil remedy included in the Canadian Human Rights Act with respect to combating antisemitism.
Diplomatic relations with Iran should not be renewed until specific conditions are met, including an end to calls for the destruction of Israel, an end to state-sponsored terrorism, and the provision of all evidence related to Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. The entirety of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should be banned by the government.

Equip police departments to counter hate crimes and support targeted communities by providing additional resources to bolster existing police hate crime and community liaison units. Where such units do not exist, funding should be provided to establish them.

Update the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to combating antisemitism and online hate. Create a national strategy to tackle online hate and radicalization using the 2019 Justice Committee report, “Taking Action to End Online Hate”, as a foundation. A strategy should draw upon the Christchurch Call, and use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.

Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution, Policies or Program
Hate speech and internet-based hate: For Canada to adopt policies – either/and through legislation or policies adjustments that will provide measurable standards for internet-based dissemination of hate speech, including explicit provisions within the Crimical Code and/or the Human Rights Act.

Policies or Program
Accountability for Anti-Racism Initiatives: Public accountability measures should be developed and implemented to support and uphold genuine progress in combating hate in all its forms, as outlined in Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022.

Advocate for restitution for Holocaust Survivors: Canada should continue leveling diplomatic pressure on countries in Eastern Europe that have evaded their responsibility to pass meaningful restitution laws.
Advocating for the development of a national anti-poverty strategy.
Agriculture Canada: Assist in securing termination of Israeli ban on Canadian beef imports as a result of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) protocols.

This is just a partial list of their lobbying activities. However, it’s obvious that policies related to speech are a very important portion of it.

It seems completely incongruent that people who claim to value freedom would be so willing to water it down under the guise of fighting hate speech.

Poilievre and Baird are also silent about Bill C-250, a Private Member’s Bill that would criminalize Holocaust denial. Not only would this be a criminal offence, but it could result in prison time. This came from “Conservative” M.P. Kevin Waugh.

Iqra Khalid (rightfully) got a lot of flak for bringing in M-103, a Motion to finance the “study” of Islamophobia. That said, she never proposed putting anyone in prison over it. This is so much worse.

Waugh was lobbied by CIJA recently before introducing this Bill. It’s fair to assume that these are the people pushing for it.

An interesting Twitter thread shows the problem with right-wing politicians in general. There seems to be the expectation to pander endlessly, at least to 1 foreign nation. However, similar pandering with Islamic countries is a cause for concern. Whatever happened to focusing on your constituents?

Poilievre (and “conservatives” in general) claim to be supporters of freedom and individual rights. After all, it’s only the lefties that hate freedom, at least in theory. That being said, they are silent about efforts to erode those rights from within.

And Maxime Bernier? Will he address this?
Probably not.
He spends more time talking about overpriced milk.

Other red flags include Baird’s ties to the World Economic Forum. Poilievre has denied being a part of it, despite being listed in the database. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind his campaign chair being associated with WEF, and he doesn’t overtly condemn the group. Nor does he appear to object to the Eurasia Group side gig.

Another problem is that Poilievre was relatively silent when Provincial Premiers (many of them “Conservatives”) were infringing on the rights of Canadians. It’s only when Provincial martial law measures were — mostly — removed, did he start his crusade against Trudeau. It’s opportunism, to say the least.

There are of course other concerns with Baird and Poilievre. These are just a few of the larger ones.

Unfortunately, far too few Canadians will do any due diligence on candidates before voting for them. People need to look beyond the catchy slogans to see who they really represent.

(1) https://twitter.com/PierrePoilievre/status/1512836656646270977
(2) https://www.pierre4pm.ca/team
(3) https://www.cija.ca/john-baird-why-israel-holds-such-a-special-place-in-my-heart/
(4) https://www.cija.ca/a-conversation-with-john-baird/
(5) https://www.cija.ca/cija-confirms-appointment-of-new-directors/
(6) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-250
(7) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/kevin-waugh(89084)
(8) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=521753
(9) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=111&regId=917368&blnk=1
(10) https://twitter.com/LindaFrum/status/1520441785285234688
(11) https://www.weforum.org/people/john-baird
(12) Wayback Machine — Pierre Poilievre
(13) https://www.eurasiagroup.net/people/JBaird

Rebel Media Sues C.R.A For Access To Trudeau Subsidies

Rebel Media (or Rebel News Network), recently announced the would be pursuing legal action against the Federal Government. This comes on the heel of being denied the status of QCJO, or Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization.

However, the context of the announcement comes across as somewhat misleading. The audience is being led to believe that Rebel is being censored, or that it will be shut down at some point. This is not the case. That’s not what denial of a QCJO designation means, but more on that in a bit.

Was there political bias in denying Rebel QCJO status? Perhaps, and they’re free to make that argument. That said, there’s more to it than that. They’re not being denied the right to practice journalism, but won’t be subsidized for doing so.

This isn’t a joke. Rebel really did take the Canada Revenue Agency to Federal Court in order to obtain their QCJO designation. The file number is T-720-22.

Why take the C.R.A. to Court? Most likely, it’s because that’s who manages the program, and the resulting subsidies. Receiving QCJO status means the outlet is entitled to tax incentives they otherwise wouldn’t be. This is probably the main reason the suit was filed in the first place.

For a group that rails against Trudeau funding the mainstream press, there’s certainly no shame in trying to cash in on some of those same perks.

To be designated as a qualified Canadian journalism organization (QCJO), an organization is required to meet the criteria set out in the Income Tax Act. For more information on these criteria, go to Guidance on income tax measures to support journalism.

An organization must first be designated as a QCJO to claim the Canadian journalism labour tax credit; potentially have their subscription costs be considered as qualifying subscription expenses for the digital news subscription tax credit; and/or apply for qualified donee status as a registered journalism organization.

If Rebel had gotten their QCJO designation, what would they be receiving?

(a) Canadian Journalism Labour Tax Credit: this would pay up to 25% of salaries of the business’ employees, which are typically the biggest expense
(b) Digital News Subscription Tax Credit: subscribers would receive a tax rebate of up to 15%
(c) Registered Journalism Organization Status: going the next step, QCJOs would be able to qualify as RJO as well, and start issuing tax receipts, similar to how charities operate.

Presumably, Rebel would also have been subjected to a much more favourable tax rate, and would be able to increase the deductions allowed annually.

Wild idea, but maybe this, and not censorship, is the real reason for taking the C.R.A. to Court. These benefits are substantial, and would add up over time.

Contrary to the impression many might have, getting registered with the C.R.A. isn’t common at all. As of the time of writing this, there are only 6 Registered Journalism Organizations:

  • La Presse Inc.
  • The Narwhal News Society
  • Presse-Ouest Ltée
  • Journaldesvoisins.com
  • New Canadian Media
  • The Local to Publishing

Of course, the bulk of the press in Canada is getting money from Ottawa under some program. That’s been covered elsewhere on this site.

Worth mentioning: True North also gets funding, all while claiming to be independent and free from the taint of Government money.

If anyone is worried about context, do read the Rebel posting, and watch the embedded video. This isn’t about the ability to report, or function as a media outlet. This is about access to taxpayer subsidies. Ezra himself admits that he wants to “level the playing field”. Apparently, having Government finance the media isn’t so abhorrent as to abstain from it on principle.

Quite simply, Rebel Media wants the same handouts that they mock others for receiving. That certainly puts things in perspective.

(1) https://www.rebelnews.com/rebel_news_is_suing_justin_trudeau
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b_1vwGrcY4&t
(3) https://archive.ph/beOQY
(4) https://www.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/court-files-and-decisions/court-files#cont
(5) https://twitter.com/RebelNewsOnline/status/1512229529737211921
(6) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit/qualified-canadian-journalism-organization.html
(7) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit.html
(8) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/deductions-credits-expenses/digital-news-subscription.html
(9) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit/registered-journalism-organization.html
(10) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/list-charities/list-charities-other-qualified-donees.html
(11) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/other-organizations-that-issue-donation-receipts-qualified-donees/other-qualified-donees-listings/list-registered-journalism-organizations.html

Private Member’s Bill C-250: Prison Time For Holocaust Denial

A Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-250, is circulating in the House of Commons. If passed, it would make Holocaust denial (or downplaying the Holocaust), punishable by up to 2 years in prison. There is also a provision included that would allow for the forfeiture of assets if they were used in the commission.

This appears to apply to public forums, and not in private conversations.

Criminal Code
1 (1) Section 319 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
Willful promotion of antisemitism
(2.‍1) Everyone who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust is
(a) guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) The portion of subsection 319(3) of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
Defences
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2) or (2.‍1)
(3) Subsections 319(4) to (6) of the Act are replaced by the following:

Forfeiture
(4) If a person is convicted of an offence under section 318 or subsection (1), (2) or (2.‍1) of this section, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on conviction, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.

Exemption from seizure of communication facilities
(5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply with any modifications that end the circumstances require to section 318 or subsection (1), (2) or (2.‍1) of this section.

Consent
(6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) or (2.‍1) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

(4) Subsection 319(7) of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
Holocaust means the planned and deliberate state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators from 1933 to 1945; (Holocauste)

The Bill was introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kevin Waugh. It will be interesting to see what happens. Historically, Private Member’s Bills typically don’t go anywhere. It’s quite rare to see one that actually receives Royal Assent.

There is also the procedural issue that any prosecution (under the Bill’s current form), would need approval from the Attorney General.

It seems that Waugh has been contacted recently by CIJA. Clamping down on “hate speech” is very high up on their national agenda. They also focus on internet regulation more broadly.

We’ll have to see how things progress in the near future.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-250
(2) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/kevin-waugh(89084)
(3) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=521753
(4) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=111&regId=917368&blnk=1

Kulvinder Gill’s Frivolous And Vexatious Claim Dismissed As A SLAPP

“[17] I also conclude that these claims are precisely ones that are of the kind that s. 137.1 is designed to discourage and screen out. ”

“[58] For greater clarity, I view all of the expressions or statements complained of by the Plaintiffs to have been made on matters of public interest. The test required by s. 137.1 has been applied to each in order to determine the appropriate result. In each case, I should be taken to have accepted and adopted fully the submissions advanced on behalf of each of the Defendants.” – Justice Stewart

A $12.75 million defamation lawsuit filed in December 2020 has been ended. The Ontario Superior Court ruled that it fully met the criteria for being classified as a SLAPP, and was dismissed. Kulvinder Gill and Ashvinder Lamba demanded millions in damages from online words. They literally tried to bankrupt people they disagreed with on platforms like Twitter.

Perhaps bragging about it in the national papers wasn’t the best idea.

The substance of this came from online postings related to restricting people’s freedoms, and what pharmaceuticals were best during a “pandemic”. (It’s fake, but that’s a discussion for another time).

In a 51 page ruling, Justice Elizabeth Stewart said that it was exactly the sort of case which anti-SLAPP laws were designed for. The sheer number of Defendants, 23, and the amount of money sought was staggering. Despite this, the Plaintiffs never produced any real evidence of damages to justify the millions they demanded.

To be blunt, this case appears to be frivolous and vexatious.

Considering how this came about, and all of the racism accusations leveled in the Statement of Claim, Gill and Lamba are very lucky they weren’t countersued for defamation. The Defendants would have had a much stronger case. Nonetheless, this lawsuit never stood a chance, if it even made it to trial.

A Quick Introduction To Civil Procedure

There are several sections of the Rules of Civil Procedure for Ontario which permit cases to be ended early. Truly meritless Claims and Applications clog up the system, and deserve to be removed.

  • Rule 2.1.01(6) this allows the Registrar to stay or dismiss a proceeding if the proceeding appears on its face to be frivolous or vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court
  • Rule 20: this covers Summary Judgement Applications. Either side can file for one, if it appears that either there is no case, or no valid defense. Appropriate when there are no major issues to resolve
  • Rule 21.01: in order to expedite a case, permits: (a) for the determination, before trial, of a question of law raised by a pleading in an action where the determination of the question may dispose of all or part of the action, substantially shorten the trial or result in a substantial saving of costs; or (b) to strike out a pleading on the ground that it discloses no reasonable cause of action or defense
  • Rule 24: if Plaintiffs are unnecessarily delaying the proceedings, and this can happen in different stages, the Court has the discretion to dismiss it
  • Rule 25.11: an option to strike the pleadings — which does not amount to trying the case — if a pleading is frivolous, scandalous, vexatious, or otherwise an abuse of process

Rule 2.1.01(6) is meant for a Registrar, or low-level official. This is restricted to the very obvious cases. The others involve higher standards, and are meant for Justices, Judges or Associate Judges.

In the case of defamation lawsuits, Section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act provides another remedy. If a Plaintiff is using the Courts as a weapon to silence discourse on an important public issue, this can be stopped by filing an anti-SLAPP Motion.

SLAPP Means Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

This isn’t unique to Ontario. There are other Provinces and U.S. States which have very similar laws on the books, and the principles are much the same.

Prevention of Proceedings that Limit Freedom of Expression on Matters of Public Interest (Gag Proceedings)
.
Dismissal of proceeding that limits debate
.
Purposes
.
137.1 (1) The purposes of this section and sections 137.2 to 137.5 are,
.
(a) to encourage individuals to express themselves on matters of public interest;
(b) to promote broad participation in debates on matters of public interest;
(c) to discourage the use of litigation as a means of unduly limiting expression on matters of public interest; and
(d) to reduce the risk that participation by the public in debates on matters of public interest will be hampered by fear of legal action.

Once a SLAPP Motion is brought forward, it freezes everything else. Nothing can happen until this is resolved, which includes possible appeals to the higher Court(s).

It’s important to note that anti-SLAPP applies to speech that’s of a public interest matter. It doesn’t apply to disputes over private issues. Once the Defendant(s) satisfy the Court that the speech is of a public matter, the burden then shifts to the Plaintiff(s). To prevent dismissal, Judge or Justice must be convinced there are grounds to believe that:

  1. the proceeding has substantial merit, and
  2. the moving party has no valid defence in the proceeding; and
  3. the harm likely to be or have been suffered by the responding party as a result of the moving party’s expression is sufficiently serious that the public interest in permitting the proceeding to continue outweighs the public interest in protecting that expression.

If the Plaintiff cannot meet all 3 parts of this test, then the case qualifies as a SLAPP. Here, the Court found that they didn’t meet even a single prong of the test. As such, the Court had no choice but to dismiss the case. And as the Justice stated, the laws were designed for cases like this.

The Ontario Libel & Slander Act has built in provisions which allow for the protection of certain categories of speech. These include fair comment and qualified privilege, which were heavily referenced in the Decision.

Justification
.
22 In an action for libel or slander for words containing two or more distinct charges against the plaintiff, a defence of justification shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every charge is not proved if the words not proved to be true do not materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges

Fair comment
.
23 In an action for libel or slander for words consisting partly of allegations of fact and partly of expression of opinion, a defence of fair comment shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every allegation of fact is not proved if the expression of opinion is fair comment having regard to such of the facts alleged or referred to in the words complained of as are proved.

Fair comment
.
24 Where the defendant published defamatory matter that is an opinion expressed by another person, a defence of fair comment by the defendant shall not fail for the reason only that the defendant or the person who expressed the opinion, or both, did not hold the opinion, if a person could honestly hold the opinion.

Communications on Public Interest Matters
Application of qualified privilege
.
25 Any qualified privilege that applies in respect of an oral or written communication on a matter of public interest between two or more persons who have a direct interest in the matter applies regardless of whether the communication is witnessed or reported on by media representatives or other persons.

It’s important to know that there are safeguards written into the Act. These are just some of them. A free society can’t function properly if speech is weaponized like this.

Could This Dismissal Be Appealed?

In theory, yes. Rule 61.04 allows 30 days to file a Notice of Appeal. However, given how badly the case went, Gill and Lamba would have to be pretty dense to even try. It’s a high burden.

Housen v. Nikolaisen, 2002, sets out the standard for review of a decision. Broadly speaking, Appeals are heard because of an alleged error of fact or law.
(i) The standard of review for findings of fact is such that they cannot be reversed unless the trial judge has made a “palpable and overriding error”. A palpable error is one that is plainly seen.
(ii) By contrast, a possible error of law is treated “de novo”, and looked at as if hadn’t been ruled on before. It might be viewed as a lower standard.

The reasoning behind “giving deference” to the factual findings is that the Judge is there, and more able to assess what’s going on. Also, there has to be some presumption of competence.

The Justice stated that there was no evidence of damages, the tweets were about public interest matters, and not defamatory. These are findings of fact, and unless something obvious is missed, not easy to challenge. In short, a hypothetical appeal would go absolutely nowhere.

What About Costs For The Defendants?

In the ruling, the Justice gave the Defendants 30 days to make submissions for costs. And here’s where things get more interesting.

There are 19 lawyers listed for the Defendants in the REASONS FOR DECISION. While it’s unclear how much the total fees are, it’s likely a lot. This case involved depositions, and a SLAPP Motion. Both of these are expensive and time consuming. Estimating an average $30,000 each — which may be at the low end — this case would have cost them over half a million to defend.

It’s quite possible that the Plaintiffs could each be on the hook for well over $100,000. Although most allegations didn’t involve Ashvinder Lamba, she clearly participated in the suit.

The final ruling made it clear that there was no evidence of damages, and that the issues addressed were public matters. Despite the tone in some of the messages, they were protected speech. The suit was frivolous and vexatious, so a stiff award can be expected.

What Exactly Started All Of This?

In the case of Gill and Lamba, this case arose largely over Twitter spats. The Plaintiffs (primarily Gill), got into arguments with people on Twitter, which later ended with her blocking them. I guess there’s a little Rempel in all of us.

These other people — who they later sued — were promoting vaccines and martial law measures, for a non-existent virus. Gill, to her credit, opposed these restrictions, but promoted alternative medicines, again for a non-existent virus. However, this was Twitter nonsense, and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Instead of ignoring people if there was such a disagreement, Gill, Lamba, and their representative were documenting and archiving social media posts. To a casual observer, it appears as these may have been planned as a way of generating evidence. In the end, Gill and Lamba sued 23 doctors, media personalities, and media outlets, over relatively harmless comments.

One has to wonder if this was just an overreaction, or a calculated way to silence differing views. Most people supporting freedom want more speech available, not less.

Even on the miniscule chance that this lawsuit had been successful, what was the goal? Suing private parties doesn’t result in changes to public policy. There’s no way that any money (besides a nominal amount) would ever have been awarded. If anything, it makes lockdown objectors appear unprincipled, despite claiming to support freedom.

After the costs are paid, this won’t really be the end. Expect this decision to be a standard for dismissing meritless defamation claims. We now have a precedent of lockdown opponents trying — and failing — to silence and bankrupt their critics. Gill and Lamba will become very well known by lawyers, but for all the wrong reasons.

This isn’t to defend people like Abdu Sharkawy, and the quackery promoted. This site has exposed many of the hacks, and media payoffs. Nonetheless, this lawsuit did an enormous disservice to real resistance in Canada. The Plaintiffs can honestly say that they fought, and won, a baseless lawsuit.

If there is something positive in all of this, it’s that the Ontario Superior Court did throw out an abusive case because of the chilling effect it would have on public discourse. Read both the Statement of Claim, and Decision for more context. As absurd as these “health measures” are, throwing the suit out really was the right decision.

(1) Gill & Lamba v. Maciver decision CV-20-652918-0000 – 24 Feb 2022
(2) Gill & Lamba Defamation Lawsuit
(3) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/rro-1990-reg-194/latest
(4) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/rso-1990-c-c43/latest/rso-1990-c-c43.html
(5) https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2002/2002scc33/2002scc33.html
(6) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/rso-1990-c-l12/latest/rso-1990-c-l12.html
(7) https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-lawsuit-thrown-out-after-anti-vaccine-doctors-sue-over-challenges-to/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
(8) https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/doctor-who-said-canada-doesnt-need-covid-vaccine-calls-online-critics-hyenas-in-6-8m-libel-suit

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