02.02.2015 08:41 AM

Grit nominations: what is news and what isn’t

To suggest that Justin Trudeau has repeatedly broken his promise to have open nominations – in his very first speech as leader, no less – isn’t in any way news. His promise has been broken so many times – here and here and here, inter alia – it is farcical. I do not know a single Liberal outside Trudeau’s insular inner circle who is prepared to argue otherwise.

Trudeau’s “open nominations” are neither – neither open, nor nominations. They are stealth appointments. But that, as I say, isn’t news.

What’s news is The Huffington Post’s apparent belief that anonymous sources can always be counted upon to testify in the event of a libel action. Check this out, from their story:

“Party officials acknowledged that Edmonton–Mill Woods resident Varinder Bhullar was not their preferred candidate…

“The man cheated. He was caught. And it was a pretty flagrant violation,” a Liberal party official said, insisting on anonymity.”

Back at the beginning of time, when I was a litigator and practiced a bit of libel law, this is what I would ask editors of publications like HuffPo:

  • Is the anonymous source reliable?
  • Is he or she motivated by malice, and using us?
  • Is what he or she saying true?
  • In the event of a libel action, can the anonymous source be counted on to testify for us?

There’s a reason why anonymous sources prefer to be anonymous: they want to say critical (and oftentimes defamatory) things with impunity.

HuffPo, you surprise me.  Hope you have a great legal team.


  1. Mark says:

    Agree, agree. One of the several reasons I am a free agent this election campaign. By free, I mean definitely not voting Liberal.

  2. Ray says:

    You should see what is going on in N.B. Its is just aweful, people are sending back their membership cards or cutting them.

  3. DerekTO says:

    Would/will the party actually sue though? I imagine HuffPo is banking on the party wanting this whole thing to just go away, that it would look bad if the story were dragged out in a libel case, so won’t go to court. WK do you really see the party sueing?

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