Musings —11.23.2021 03:44 PM—
From Michael Taube. Full column here. Snippets below:
“Canada respects the principle of free speech. Unfortunately, our governments often have a love-hate relationship with this important personal freedom. They’ve created several restrictions and barriers that have, at times, made speech appear to be far less free.
Yet, a recent – and important – free speech ruling may be one of those rare birds where Canadians on the left and right have cause to celebrate.
In February, People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier launched a defamation lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court against former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella and his consulting firm Daisy Group.
The Ontario court ultimately found in favour of Kinsella.
Justice Calum MacLeod felt Bernier’s lawsuit didn’t pass the smell test with respect to Section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act, which deals with free expression in matters of public interest.
“In my view, the plaintiff runs a significant risk that his action will succumb to one of the defences of justification of fair comment,” he wrote in his Nov. 10 decision…
This particular defamation lawsuit may have focused on a right-leaning political leader, but it’s an important judicial ruling for Canadians of all political stripes.
Neither Canada’s right nor left lost any personal freedoms due to Kinsella’s victory and Bernier’s defeat. The parameters pertaining to discussion and criticism of individuals, public policy and political ideas have been maintained and, in some ways, enhanced by the anti-SLAPP defence.
It’ll also help protect Canadians on the right who wish to criticize someone or something on the left now and in the future.
Free speech hasn’t necessarily won any new converts. Hate speech remains on the books.
However, an individual’s right to speak freely in the Great White North, even in this day and age, is on a more secure footing than ever before.
That deserves free … err, three cheers!”