, 04.17.2019 12:08 PM

#LavScam lawsuit lunacy, latest

The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson called it “needs-to-have-his-head-examined foolish.” The National Post’s Matt Gurney said it was “absolutely bonkers” and evidence of having “utterly lost [his] mind.”

Former Chretien communications boss Peter Donolo suggested it was “a mistake in a number of ways.” The Post’s Andrew Coyne cheerfully quoted other pundits, who themselves termed it an “unfathomably stupid move” and “the most ill-advised defamation suit since Oscar Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensbury.”

My personal favourite? Former BC Liberal top guy Martyn Brown, who abandoned all subtlety and simply declared it “batshit crazy,” quote unquote.

In fact, when one checks all known media – and this writer did, as a public service, gratis – it is impossible to find a single sane pundit who thinks Justin Trudeau’s libel lawsuit against Andrew Scheer is in any way defensible.

Oh, wait. Sheila Copps – who says Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott are pus-filled “boils,” and who said that Wilson-Raybould had an “aboriginal agenda” and cared more about “aboriginal” jobs – loved Trudeau’s lawsuit.

She thought it was a really good idea, and falsely claimed Scheer retreated after being served with the requisite libel notice (the Conservative leader has in fact repeated the alleged libels, word for word, outside the privileged confines of the House of Commons).

Pro tip, Prime Minister Chewbacca Socks: when Sheila Copps is giving you legal advice, you have well and truly reached bottom. Your octopus is cooked.

Now, this writer teaches media law at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law, and previously did so at Carleton University’s School of Journalism. This writer has also been involved in winning defamation cases all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada – cf., Macdonald v. CBC and Kinsella. This writer knows a bit about defamation law.

So, trust me when I say: Justin Trudeau has done many, many stupid things during the three months that LavScam has been a raging political dumpster fire. None, however, is as stupid as his decision to sue Andrew Scheer for telling the truth.

Three reasons.

1. Trudeau’s handed control to Scheer. Justin Trudeau’s apparatchiks on the Justice and Ethics committees shut down any further inquiry on LavScam. They showed Canadians, in effect, that there’s no justice to be found at Trudeau’s Ethics Committee, and no ethics on Trudeau’s Justice Committee.

The Ethics Commissioner’s “investigation,” meanwhile, has been buffeted by illness and possible conflicts of interest. Trudeau is leading a Nixonian-style coverup, ruthlessly crushing any possible legal avenue for Jody Wilson-Raybould to talk about the threats Trudeau directed her way.

So what does Trudeau’s oxymoronic brain trust do? They create a forum for Wilson-Raybould to tell her story – one that Trudeau cannot control. Watch for Scheer to push for Wilson-Raybould to become a witness. It’s coming.

2. Trudeau has alienated many, many media people with his ill-advised stunt. Reporters and editors do not like libel actions, at all. Why? Because they are the people who get sued most often. Media organizations, meanwhile, have spent many millions pushing the courts and lawmakers to adopt a more liberalized defamation law – and they’ve succeeded, to some extent, with the historic case of Grant v. Torstar Corp., back in 2009.

That is why not a single media person – save and except Chief Justice Copps – could be found to applaud Trudeau’s idiotic move. Not even Susan Delacourt, Heather Mallick, Chantal Hebert, Althia Raj or Joyce Napier celebrated Trudeau’s ludicrous litigation. Not even them.

The media have a deeply-held antipathy towards defamation actions, and understandably so. By launching this one, Justin Trudeau has alienated many ink-stained scribes. And he’s helped keep the story alive, now into its third consecutive month.

3. Trudeau may be Canada’s chief law-maker, but he clearly doesn’t understand the law. The thin-skinned Liberal leader’s lawsuit is a classic SLAPP action – a strategic lawsuit against public participation. Laws have been passed in various provinces to slap down SLAPP suits – including the one in which Messrs. Trudeau and Scheer reside, Ontario.

There’s another established part of the law Trudeau doesn’t understand: defences to defamation claims. In this case, all of them arguably apply: fair comment, privilege, and justification – or, truth. Because what the Conservative leader said was demonstrably true: Trudeau, his Minister of Finance, his Principal Secretary, his Chief of Staff, and his senior staff did pressure Jody Wilson-Raybould more than 20 times over a four-month period to help a sleazy Quebec-based donor, SNC-Lavalin, avoid a criminal trial. It’s the truth.

When this writer graduated from law school, he didn’t remember very many cases. He did remember what his criminal law professor recommended clients be told in criminal and quasi-criminal situations. You know, like Justin Trudeau’s LavScam scandal.

“When in a hole,” he’d say, “stop digging.”

14 Comments

  1. Jeanbatte says:

    So it’s been a couple of weeks since the threat to sue. It appears that this is going the same way as the ‘self-balancing budgets’.

    • Warren says:

      I suspect he’ll file the Statement of Claim to preserve it, then do nothing else after that.

      If he somehow wins re-election, any judge would say he has no damages – he won the election.

      If he loses the election, he’ll be out as Liberal leader, and he’ll be on the hook to pay the bill himself. It’ll stop then, with an NDA in place. Likely.

      Either way, it’s a fucking farce.

  2. CanadianKate says:

    “…including the one in which Messrs. Trudeau and Scheer reside, Ontario.”

    Random question,

    does Trudeau live in Ontario or are the Rideau Hall Grounds special Crown Land beyond jurisdiction of the province? Like a diplomatic mission.

  3. BC Guy says:

    Whatever the opinion on Trump, he provided full cooperation and did not hide behind privilege like Trudeau is doing; let’s see if CAD MSM picks up on that. Canada needs a full independent investigation on SNC

    • Trump blockaded virtually all congressional oversight since the Democrats took over (sighting executive privilege, of course).

      He didn’t testify for Mueller because everyone knows he is too stupid not to lie to him.

      We will soon learn more about his firing of Comey and how blatantly he objected justice.

      • BC Guy says:

        Hmm…well I think the tangible item that will come out of all this is the FBI/DOJ corruption will be exposed. We will wait and see. Anyway I am more interested in seeing the Trudeau government being brought to task for SNC. I hope RCMP are working on it.

    • Martin says:

      Imagine for a minute Trump was PM and behaved like JT is. No, forget that. Imagine Ford or Kenney was. The CBC and their ilk would be going batshit crazy. Most of them are not giving JT a pass but they would be going batshit crazy if it were Ford or Kenney.

  4. Jeanbatte says:

    My take is that Jt will instruct/direct lap-dog Lametti to interfere in the prosecution of SNC. Why? Nothing to lose! Libs win the election, and that’s the end of that. Libs lose, and I’m not sure the new gov will have it in them to stir the pot so to speak, considering there allegedly is a lot of high faluting people with a finger in this smelly pie. If prosecution goes ahead, the poop could really hit the fan for some people including some Cons, me thinks.

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