Kulvinder Gill’s Other Frivolous Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit

Regular readers of this site will likely remember a $12.75 million lawsuit brought in late 2020 by Kulvinder Gill and Ashvinder Lamba. They attempted to bankrupt and destroy 23 people and media outlets, largely over mean words on Twitter. Thankfully, sanity prevailed, and the case was dismissed as a SLAPP, or a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. (Ruling here).

Yes, Twitter is a cesspool, but this was ridiculous.

As it turns out, however, this isn’t the only time Gill has tried something like this. In March 2021, she filed a $7 million lawsuit against Amir Attaran and the University of Ottawa, over much the same things.

Note: although the court search shows $5 million as the total, a read through the Statement of Claim makes it clear that it’s actually $7 million being sought.

To avoid confusion, these are the 2 lawsuits:
Case #1: Gill & Lamba v. MacIver et al (dismissed as SLAPP)
Case #2: Gill v. Attaran & University of Ottawa (open, but dormant)

The first case was for $12.75 million, and the second for another $7 million. It takes a serious ego trip to think that words on Twitter are worth around $20 million.

Now, what were the specific defamatory statements for the second case?

This idiot is a doctor in Ontario. Sort of a female version of Dr. Scott Atlas.

Looks like the flying monkeys are out today for Dr. Gill.
Research shows the Russian military intelligence (the GRU) are behind the anti-science COVID conspiracy social media.
So with love from Canada.

No joke. Those are the statements provided from Attaran. In terms of raw content, this is far, FAR weaker than the last case, which was thrown out.

Think this is worth $7 million?

This apparently came from Attaran, who is a faculty member at the University of Ottawa. So, by extension, the school itself must be on the hook as well. Yeah, that’s not an abuse of the legal system in any way.

The big case with Gill and Lamba suing 23 parties was thrown out as a SLAPP, and never made it to trial. Here’s a brief quote from the Courts of Justice Act of Ontario, explaining the rationale behind having this option for certain types of cases.

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.

It should be noted that there’s no qualification as to what opinions are allowed in the public arena. Provided the statements relate to topics of a public interest, virtually anything can be given protections. It’s also a very low burden to qualify as being “of a public concern”.

Here’s a simplified explanation of SLAPP:

(1) Defendants file a motion, and they must meet the “threshold burden”. This is to convince a Judge that it relates to matters of public interest.

(2) Afterwards, the burden shifts to the Plaintiffs, who must meet 3 tests in order to keep the case alive. If even one branch is failed, the lawsuit is dismissed. They must demonstrate that:

(a) There is substantial merit to the case;
(b) There are no reasonable defenses available; and
(c) There is greater interest in reputation than protecting the expression, even if the case does meet the minimum requirements for defamation

SLAPP legislation is meant to prevent people from using the Courts as a weapon to forcibly silence discussion on public interest issues. Simple name calling or insults don’t qualify. In the previous case, the Plaintiffs couldn’t even meet a single part of that test.

This case with Attaran and the University of Ottawa would almost certainly be tossed for the same reasons. The Court won’t take a Twitter spat seriously for the purposes of handing out millions of dollars.

That being said, it appears that there are no real efforts underway to force that case to trial. Nothing has been filed since the Notice of Intent back in June 2021. The case has been dormant for over a year. It’s unclear what the purpose of filing it was, since there wasn’t even any publicity concerning it.

It’s also worth pointing out that “full indemnity” is the default result of a successful SLAPP motion. What this means is that if the case is dismissed, the Defendants are entitled to 100% of their costs. According to sources from the last case, it cost about $1.3 million to defend 23 Defendants. It’s unclear how much it would cost Attaran and the University of Ottawa to do the same thing.

This is just a hunch, but the University of Ottawa probably has insurance to cover such things. What a great use of student fees.

One more thing: this upcoming case with Attaran won’t go anywhere in the foreseeable future as Gill likely doesn’t have representation at this point. Court searching also showed that Gill and Lamba are taking action against their lawyers from the last case. The amount is $5,672.66, presumably what they are out of pocket already, or at least a portion of it.

Gill and Lamba are likely also outraged at being abandoned during their appeal of the February 2022 ruling. But it all fairness, it never had a chance. And when it’s eventually dismissed, it will just add to the costs from the Trial Court.

Granted, Gill and Lamba appear to have gotten horrible legal advice for the 2 lawsuits (Lamba was only involved in the first). Still, reasonable and well educated people shouldn’t be doing such things, so it’s difficult to have much sympathy for them.

Strange, even the “alternative” media doesn’t cover these things.

Now, this is just an opinion, but people who act this way probably shouldn’t be in positions of power or influence. If some means words is enough to cause someone to attempt to destroy or bankrupt another, then they don’t have the temperament or self control needed.

In other news: members of the public can SEARCH FOR FREE in Ontario as to the updates on such cases. British Columbia has COURT SEARCH ONLINE, but that’s behind a paywall. Instead of taking the word of people who have incentives to drive fundraising — or some reporter on the internet — go check the cases for yourselves.

Ontario Superior Court, Civil Branch
330 University – Toronto
330 University Ave.
Toronto ON M5G 1R7

Court file numbers provided

Civil – Superior Court of Justice
tel. 416-327-5440 (front desk)

CSD.SCJRecords(at)ontario.ca (records department)

An ambitious person showing initiative can also verify what’s been happening with various cases by contacting the court directly, or by visiting. There are many options.

  • Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), et. Al. (and others) v. Her Majesty the Queen, et.al. (and others) Ontario Superior Court #CV-00629810-0000. Filed October 2019. No movement since pleadings closed in March 2020.
  • Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), et. Al. (and others) v. Justin Trudeau, et.al. (and others) Ontario Superior Court #CV-20-00643451-0000. Filed July 2020. Single Notice of Intent filed September 2020. No movement at all since.
  • Gill & Lamba v. MacIver et al. Ontario Superior Court #CV-20-00652918-0000. Filed November 2020. Dismissed as a SLAPP, or strategic lawsuit against public participation. Appealed, but status unknown.
  • Gill v. Attaran & University of Ottawa, Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00658784-0000. Filed March 2021. A Notice of Intent to Defend (not an actual Statement of Defense) was filed in July 2021. No movement since then
  • Sgt. Julie Evans, et al v. AG of Ontario, et al Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00661200-000. Filed April 2021. No movement since Notice of Application filed.
  • M.A. and L.A., et al vs. Eileen De Villa, et al Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00661284-0000. Filed April 2021. No movement since Notice of Application filed.
  • Action4Canada, et al vs. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Justin Trudeau, Premier Horgan, et al British Columbia Superior Court # VLC-S-S-217586. Filed August 2021. Awaiting decision for Application to Strike given the exceptionally poor quality drafting of the Statement of Claim

Not too encouraging, is it?

Good thing there are people who will put in the effort to bring the real truth out to the public. Virtually no media outlets do that.

(1) Gill-Attaran Statement Of Claim
(2) Gill Attaran Affidavit Of Service
(3) Gill-Attaran Notice Of Intent

(4) https://canucklaw.ca/kulvinder-gills-frivolous-and-vexatious/
(5) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2022/2022onsc1279/2022onsc1279.html
(6) https://www.ontario.ca/page/search-court-cases-online
(7) https://justice.gov.bc.ca/cso/index.do

Digital Citizen Contribution Program: Next round Of Grants

Canada’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program is back receiving the public’s attention. More taxpayer money is about to be handed out to groups and individuals who qualify under this program. Up to $100,000 (each) is available, depending on the details of the proposal.

This program, including the grants, has already been covered in the past. But it appears that Ottawa is gearing up to subsidize the next round of so-called fact checkers.

Eligible parties include:

  • a national, provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous, community or professional organization, society or association which has voluntarily associated itself for a not-for-profit purpose, and which has the mandate to represent its membership or community
  • a not-for-profit organization, including non-governmental or umbrella organizations, non-profit corporations, community groups, regulatory bodies or apprenticeship authorities, or associations serving the private sector
  • a university or educational institution
  • an individual researcher, acting in his or her personal capacity
  • a research institution with an established record in relevant field(s), intending to undertake work in a Canadian context
  • a for-profit Canadian and Canadian-owned institution with a record of developing and delivering programming, and performing research or related activities relevant to the goals of Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative, provided that the nature and the intent of the activity is non-commercial

The Digital Citizen Contribution Program supports the priorities of the Digital Citizen Initiative by providing time-limited financial assistance for research and citizen-focused activities. The Program aims to support democracy and social inclusion in Canada by enhancing and/or supporting efforts to counter online disinformation and other online harms and threats.

Of course, it’s deliberately vague what “online disinformation” and other “online harms and threats” really means. However, it’s not encouraging when the Government is using taxpayer money to fund groups to promote certain versions of truth.

The deadline for applications is August 18, 2022. Presumably, they get sent to the Ministry of Truth.

(1) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/online-disinformation/digital-citizen-contribution-program.html
(2) https://canucklaw.ca/digital-citizen-contribution-program/
(3) (EN) Program Guidelines – DCCP
(4) (EN) Budget Template – DCCP
(5) (EN) Application Form – DCCP
(6) Unincorporated application acceptance of liability
(7) Direct deposit form

Vaccine Choice Canada Suit: 2 Years Later, No Defenses Filed

Word is that Vaccine Choice Canada is supposed to have a live online meeting to discuss various anti-lockdown lawsuits. Presumably, their highly publicized case from July 6, 2020 will be covered. This is Ontario Superior Court (Toronto) #CV-20-00643451-0000. Word is trickling through social media right now about it.

Just a prediction, but there probably won’t be many (if any) specifics given about this case. The meeting will be bland. There’ll likely be vague statements about “making progress”, or the suit “working it’s way through the system”. So, let’s get into some specifics.

The problem is: this case has been sitting dormant for the last 2 years. There have been no defenses filed, no motions, applications, hearings, or anything else.

The above screenshots from the court search are from today. They aren’t old.

For anyone interested in SEARCHING CASE FILES, click on this link. A free account can be created. If you have the court file number, it can be instantly searched. Other information can be found here.

Other than Windsor-Essex County and their Medical Officer of Health, none of the other defendants even have representation listed. CBC, for their part, claims they weren’t served, but just “obtained an unredacted copy”. This implies they got it from the Court itself.

According to the Toronto Court, the only other item on file is a Notice of Intent to Defend, from Windsor-Essex County. That was filed September 30, 2020.

Yes, there was a moratorium on filing deadlines. That expired on September 14, 2020, so there’s no reason not to have sent anything afterwards.

There are serious questions that need to be answered. Has everyone even been served? Why are most service addresses missing? How come no one filed a defense? How come none of the major parties even have representation? And why was it written so poorly?

Additionally, claims have been made that various affidavits of evidence have been filed, and they amount to the thousands of pages. Problem is, they likely don’t exist. One phone call to the Toronto Court confirmed that no such documents are on record.

Considering no one ever filed a defense, why was no effort to seek a default judgement ever undertaken? There’s nothing on file to indicate that any attempt was made. This is something that even self-represented litigants would know about.

Now, the argument has been made that no one besides parties to the case have the right to dig into this. This is disingenuous. Considering that the public is constantly on the receiving end of requests donations, it’s fair to inquire where the money has gone, and what’s been happening. Rumour has it that several million dollars has already been raised for this lawsuit.

Ontario Superior Court, Civil Branch
330 University – Toronto
330 University Ave.
Toronto ON M5G 1R7

Court file# CV-20-00643451-0000

Civil – Superior Court of Justice
tel. 416-327-5440 (front desk)

And again, by checking this link, anyone can SEARCH ONLINE FOR FREE to see what’s happening with various cases. Don’t accept the word of anyone here, but check it out for yourselves. Call the Court, or visit in person if that’s a feasible option.

Since everything is filed online these days, the Court staff can send emails with pdf attachments of case documents (if originally sent electronically). It’s incredibly easy to get ahold of such information.

If this really is such an urgent case, why has nothing happened in 2 years?

Vaccine Choice Canada also has another suit from October 2019. This is Ontario Superior Court (Toronto) #CV-19-00629810-0000. It has to do with vaccinating students in Ontario schools. The pleadings closed in March 2020, and it seems nothing has happened since. It also appears to have been financed with public contributions.

Also, consider that according to Rule 24 of Civil Procedure for Ontario, a case can be dismissed for delay if everyone hasn’t been served within 6 months, or if it’s been stagnant for 6 months. Both of these lawsuits would qualify under that Rule.

Note: This was published November 2020 (4 months after the initial filing). It’s been followed up on several times since. Even back then it was apparent that this “groundbreaking” lawsuit would go nowhere.

People who donated money should be asking these questions. And those who took the funds really need to come clean on what’s been happening. Clearly, no lawsuit(s) is/are being advanced.

(1) https://www.ontario.ca/page/search-court-cases-online
(2) https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/
(3) https://vaccinechoicecanada.com/resources/vcc-live-calendar/
(4) https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/coronavirus-charter-challenge-1.5680988
(5) https://twitter.com/1dariuszj/status/1546901658436714496
(6) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/regu/rro-1990-reg-194/latest
(7) https://canucklaw.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/vaccine-choice-canada-lawsuit-unredacted-version.pdf
(8) https://twitter.com/VaccineChoiceCA/status/1546664225875152898

Canadian Media: Qualifying Digital News Subscriptions List

We’ve previously addressed how “approved” media outlets effectively get a tax subsidy with digital subscriptions. In short, they are able to somewhat discount the price because readers can send their receipts to the Canada Revenue Agency for a 15% discount.

Now, this only covers 15% of up to $500/year. This means that it could amount to $75 in the following tax season. Who’s eligible to offer this?

It’s also a bit sickening to see “conservative” commentators who pretend to be against bailouts, but who see nothing wrong working for outlets that receive them. Guess resigning from such a job on principle is too much to ask.

Now, let’s take a look at which “media” organizations are able to give discounted subscriptions, off the backs of taxpayers. It’s quite the long list.

ORGANIZATION TYPE PUBLICATION DATE
3030106 Nova Scotia Limited allNovaScotia.com allNovaScotia
allNewfoundlandLabrador.com
allNewBrunswick
January 1, 2020
4437594 Canada Inc. Digital The Low Down to Hull & Back News January 1, 2020
Addington Publications Limited Print and Full Online Access Guysborough Journal January 1, 2020
Addington Publications Limited Online Only Access Guysborough Journal January 1, 2020
AllNewBrunswick.com Online News Service Ltd. allNewBrunswick.com allNewBrunswick
allNovaScotia
allNewfoundlandLabrador.com
January 1, 2020
AllNewfoundlandLabrador.com Online News Service Ltd. allNewfoundlandlabrador.com allNewfoundlandLabrador.com
allNovaScotia
allNewBrunswick
January 1, 2020
AllSaskatchewan.com Online News Service Ltd. Digital subscription allSaskatchewan.com July 15, 2021
Alta Newspaper Group Limited Partnership Premium Lethbridge Herald January 1, 2020
Alta Newspaper Group Limited Partnership Digital e-Edition Lethbridge Herald January 1, 2020
Alta Newspaper Group Limited Partnership Digital e-Edition Medicine Hat News January 1, 2020
Alta Newspaper Group Limited Partnership Digital ePaper The Taber Times January 1, 2020
Baby Media Mogul Inc. Daily Newsletter Subscription Queen’s Park Today January 1, 2020
Baby Media Mogul Inc. Daily Newsletter Subscription British Columbia Today January 1, 2020
Baby Media Mogul Inc. Daily Newsletter Subscription Alberta Today January 1, 2020
Brunswick News Inc. Digital subscription Telegraph Journal January 1, 2020
Brunswick News Inc. Digital plus Print Subscription Telegraph Journal January 1, 2020
Coopérative Nationale de L’information Indépendante, coop de solidarité L’essentiel numérique Le Soleil, Le Nouvelliste, Le Droit, Le Quotidien, La Tribune et La Voix de l’Est. January 1, 2021
Coopérative Nationale de L’information Indépendante, coop de solidarité Le numérique tout compris Le Soleil, Le Nouvelliste, Le Droit, Le Quotidien, La Tribune et La Voix de l’Est. January 1, 2021
Coopérative Nationale de L’information Indépendante, coop de solidarité Le numérique et papier tout compris Le Soleil, Le Nouvelliste, Le Droit, Le Quotidien, La Tribune et La Voix de l’Est. January 1, 2021
FolioJumpline Publishing Inc. Digital Prince Albert Daily Herald January 1, 2020
FolioJumpline Publishing Inc. Digital Digital plus print in city January 1, 2020
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership All Access Digital Winnipeg Free Press January 1, 2020
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Read Now Pay Later Winnipeg Free Press January 1, 2020
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership All Access Digital Brandon Sun January 1, 2020
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Read Now Pay Later Brandon Sun January 1, 2020
FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership All Access Digital The Carillon January 1, 2020
Halifax Examiner Inc. HalifaxExaminer.ca Halifax Examiner January 1, 2020
Hill Times Publishing Inc. Digital Hill Times January 1, 2020
Hill Times Publishing Inc. Print & Digital Hill Times January 1, 2020
Icimédias inc. Numérique Le Canada January 1, 2020
Icimédias inc. Papier + Numérique Le Canada January 1, 2020
Island Press Limited Unlimited digital access The Eastern Graphic
West Prince Graphic
Island Farmer
Atlantic Post Calls
June 22, 2021
Island Press Limited Print + Digital The Eastern Graphic
West Prince Graphic
Island Farmer
Atlantic Post Calls
June 22, 2021
Island Press Limited Print + Digital Combo The Eastern Graphic November 29, 2021
Island Press Limited Print + Digital Combo The West Prince Graphic November 29, 2021
Island Press Limited Print + Digital Combo Island Farmer November 29, 2021
Island Press Limited Print + Digital Combo Atlantic Post Calls November 29, 2021
Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper Limited Partnership Print Subscriber Free Access Daily Courier January 1, 2020
Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper Limited Partnership Print Subscriber Free Access Penticton Herald January 1, 2020
Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper Limited Partnership Total Digital Daily Courier January 1, 2020
Kelowna Daily Courier Newspaper Limited Partnership Total Digital Penticton Herald January 1, 2020
Les Éditions de l’Acadie Nouvelle (1984) Ltée Abonnement Numérique Acadie Nouvelle January 1, 2020
Les Éditions de l’Acadie Nouvelle (1984) Ltée Abonnement Tout compris Acadie Nouvelle January 1, 2020
Manitoulin Publishing Company Limited Digital subscription The Manitoulin Expositor January 1, 2020
MédiaQMI Inc. Offre Tout Inclus Combo Papier et Édition Électronique Journal de Montréal January 1, 2020
MédiaQMI Inc. Édition Électronique 7 jours sur 7 Journal de Montréal January 1, 2020
MédiaQMI Inc. Offre Tout Inclus Combo Papier et Édition Électronique Journal de Québec January 1, 2020
MédiaQMI Inc. Édition Électronique 7 jours sur 7 Journal de Québec January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper Hamilton Spectator January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper Hamilton Spectator January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper Waterloo Region Record January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper Waterloo Region Record January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper Peterborough Examiner January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper Peterborough Examiner January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper St. Catharines Standard January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper St. Catharines Standard January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper Niagara Falls Review January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper Niagara Falls Review January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Digital access + ePaper Welland Tribune January 1, 2020
Metroland Media Group Ltd. Home delivery including digital access + ePaper Welland Tribune January 1, 2020
Mishmash Media Inc Numérique et Papier L’actualité January 1, 2020
Mishmash Media Inc Numérique L’actualité January 1, 2020
Observer Media Group Inc. Digital Access Canada’s National Observer January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access National Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery National Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery National Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Calgary Herald January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Calgary Herald January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Calgary Herald January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Calgary Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Calgary Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Calgary Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Edmonton Journal January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Edmonton Journal January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Edmonton Journal January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Edmonton Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Edmonton Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Edmonton Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access The Province (Vancouver) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery The Province (Vancouver) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery The Province (Vancouver) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access The Vancouver Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery The Vancouver Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery The Vancouver Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Winnipeg Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Winnipeg Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Winnipeg Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access London Free Press January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery London Free Press January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery London Free Press January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Ottawa Citizen January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Ottawa Citizen January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Ottawa Citizen January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Ottawa Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Ottawa Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Ottawa Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Toronto Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Toronto Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Toronto Sun January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Windsor Star January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Windsor Star January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Windsor Star January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Montreal Gazette January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Montreal Gazette January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Montreal Gazette January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Regina Leader-Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Regina Leader-Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Regina Leader-Post January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online Access Saskatoon Star Phoenix January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Weekend Home Delivery Saskatoon Star Phoenix January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. Online plus Daily Home Delivery Saskatoon Star Phoenix January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper Daily Herald-Tribune January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Intelligencer (Belleville) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Expositor (Brantford) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Recorder & Times (Brockville) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Chatham Daily News January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper Standard Freeholder (Cornwall) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Kingston Whig-Standard January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper North Bay Nugget January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Observer (Sarnia) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Sault Star (Sault Ste. Marie) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper Simcoe Reformer January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper St. Thomas Times-Journal January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Beacon Herald (Stratford) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Sudbury Star January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper The Daily Press (Timmins) January 1, 2020
Postmedia Network Inc. E-Paper Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) January 1, 2020
Presse-Ouest Ltée. Numérique la-liberte.ca La Liberté January 1, 2020
Presse-Ouest Ltée. Numérique et Papier la-liberte.ca La Liberté January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access The Telegram January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access The Telegram January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access The Guardian January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access The Guardian January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access The Cape Breton Post January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access The Cape Breton Post January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access Tri-County Vanguard January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access Tri-County Vanguard January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access Truro News January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access Truro News January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access New Glasgow News January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access New Glasgow News January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access Valley Journal Advertiser January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access Valley Journal Advertiser January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access Annapolis Valley Register January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access Annapolis Valley Register January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Unlimited Digital Access Journal Pioneer January 1, 2020
Saltwire Network Inc. Print + Unlimited Digital Access Journal Pioneer January 1, 2020
TC Publication Limited Partnership Print and E-edition Times Colonist January 1, 2020
TC Publication Limited Partnership E-edition Times Colonist January 1, 2020
The Catholic Register Digital Edition The Catholic Register January 1, 2020
The Catholic Register Print and Digital The Catholic Register January 1, 2020
The Globe and Mail Inc. Digital Access The Globe and Mail January 1, 2020
The Globe and Mail Inc. Home Delivery plus Digital Access The Globe and Mail January 1, 2020
The Globe and Mail Inc. Globe2Go The Globe and Mail January 1, 2020
The Halifax Herald Limited Unlimited Digital Access The Chronicle Herald January 1, 2020
The Halifax Herald Limited Print + Unlimited Digital Access The Chronicle Herald January 1, 2020
The Logic Inc. The Logic Annual Subscription The Logic January 1, 2020
The Logic Inc. The Logic All-Access Subscription The Logic January 1, 2020
Thunder Bay Chronicle Limited Partnership Digital e-version The Chronicle Journal January 1, 2020
Thunder Bay Chronicle Limited Partnership Print subscriber free online account The Chronicle Journal January 1, 2020
Toronto Star Newspaper Limited Print + ePaper + Digital access The Toronto Star January 1, 2020
Toronto Star Newspaper Limited ePaper + Digital Access The Toronto Star January 1, 2020
Toronto Star Newspaper Limited The Star Digital Access The Toronto Star January 1, 2020
Toronto Star Newspaper Limited The Star ePaper The Toronto Star January 1, 2020

While there are 165 listings (thus far) for this tax credit, many are of the same outlet offering different formats. It’s also obvious that many are owned by the same conglomerates, such as Post Media.

There are, of course, other subsidies available. Independent media — that doesn’t receive handouts — is virtually nonexistent, at least for large and medium companies. Even groups that claim to be truly independent can withhold important information.

Now, the question everyone needs to ask: will these outlets be too critical of Government policy, or investigate too deeply? After all, it’s not wise to bite the hand that feeds you.

(1) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html
(2) 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/list-qualifying-digital-news-subscriptions.html#wb-auto-4
(3) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/programs/about-canada-revenue-agency-cra/federal-government-budgets/budget-2019-investing-middle-class/canadian-journalism/refundable-labour-tax-credit.html
(4) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/periodical-fund/aid-publishers/application-guidelines.html
(5) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/periodical-fund/special-measures-journalism/application-guidelines.html

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

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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