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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally people have the legal right to truly express their opinions.

No more lawsuits by the government or big corporations against the little guy.


BEFORE:

Toronto Port Authority sues group for defamation
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 | 9:39 AM ET
CBC News

The Toronto Port Authority has filed a $3-million lawsuit against a community organization and some of its members for defamation.

In its statement of claim, the federal agency alleges it has been defamed by members of Community Air, a non-profit group that has been highly critical of the dealings of the federal agency over the years.

Community Air has fought the port authority on issues such as the expansion of the Toronto Island Airport, which the authority owns, and the building of a fixed link to the Toronto Islands.

The lawsuit concerns a briefing memo sent to the federal transport minister in March, then later posted on the community organization's website.

"At the end of the day, fair comment about the port authority and its activities is welcome, but we're not going to allow untruths and personal attacks to go unchallenged," said Lisa Raitt, the agency's president and one of the plaintiffs.

A lawyer representing Community Air and its members said they plan to fight the allegations.

"We really view this as being a 'SLAPP suit' and that's a type of lawsuit that is carried out against community groups and individuals to prevent them from speaking their minds about issues of public importance," said lawyer Louis Sokolov.

SLAPP is an acronym that stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and refers to a lawsuit with the intention of intimidating or discouraging public participation.

Sokolov also questioned the timing of the lawsuit. Federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon announced a review of the Toronto Port Authority last month.

Senior bureaucrat Roger Tassé, who has been hired to conduct the review, is expected to release a report by Sept. 1.

Tassé will examine general practices of the Toronto Port Authority, its decision to sign a contract to build a bridge to the island a week before the 2003 municipal election, and claims that it owes the city millions of dollars.


AFTER:

McLeans:

Free speech wins one
By Andrew Coyne | Email | June 27th, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Nine years later, Rafe Mair finally gets the monkey off his back: Supreme Court throws out libel case against outspoken BC talk show host

The judgment includes some uncharacteristically clear language from the Court in defence of free speech:

" The traditional elements of the tort of defamation may require modification to provide broader accommodation to the value of freedom of expression,” Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said for the majority today.

“There is concern that matters of public interest go unreported because publishers fear the ballooning cost and disruption of defending a defamation action. Investigative reports get “spiked”, it is contended, because, while true, they are based on facts that are difficult to establish according to rules of evidence.

“When controversies erupt, statements of claim often follow as night follows day, not only in serious claims [as here] but in actions launched simply for the purpose of intimidation.”


There is nothing wrong with laws that ‘chill’ speech which is false and defamatory, Judge Binnie said. “But chilling debate on matters of legitimate public interest raises issues of inappropriate censorship and self-censorship.

“We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones,” Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said, in a spirited defence of free expression in an era when extravagant over-statement is commonplace.

“In much modern media, personalities such as Rafe Mair are as much entertainers as journalists,” Judge Binnie said. “The media regularly match up assailants who attack each other on a set topic. The audience understands that the combatants, like lawyers or a devil’s advocate, are arguing a brief.

“Of course, the law must accommodate commentators such as the satirist or the cartoonist who seizes on a point of view, which may be quite peripheral to the public debate, and blows it into an outlandish caricature for public edification or merriment,” he said.

“Their function is not so much to advance public debate as it is to exercise a democratic right to poke fun at those who huff and puff in the public arena. This is well understood by the public to be their function.

“Public controversy can be a rough trade, and the law needs to accommodate its requirements.”

The judgment also adds some definition to the defence of “fair comment”:

The ruling sets a precedent by employing an “objective test” to grant fair comment. Beforehand, a majority of cases required the defence show four elements: that the comments were on matters of public interest, based on fact, clearly a comment of opinion, and the opinion expressed had to be the defendant’s own.

The ruling Friday, however, said that instead of having to prove the opinion of the defendant, if any person could “honestly express that opinion” based on the same facts, then fair comment is eligible.

Here’s another take:

A key component of the fair comment defence has long been that the person making the comment must sincerely believe in it. In the course of the ruling, however, the high court modified that test.

Commentary must still have a factual basis, be made without malice and be in the public interest, said Binnie.

But the test of honest belief is not whether the specific person holding the opinion believed it. The yardstick is whether any person might honestly hold the view based on the facts at issue.

Binnie acknowledged that is “not a high threshold” for any defendant to met. But neither is it appropriate to rule out “a piece of devil’s advocacy” in any debate on a matter of public importance.

My God. Is it possible the Supreme Court, notoriously wobbly on speech cases, might actually have got this one right?
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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be made without malice and be in the public interest
So only speech that is deemed to be "in the public interest", whatever that means, will be protected. Also, any criticism can be taken as malicious.

Based on facts? Does that mean that I cannot express an opinion on what I perceive are the facts. Perception is fact these days.

This decission will by no means end "political correctness" and the human rights tribunal cases brought because one person doesn't like what another said about them.

Is saying, "You're a greedy SOB" in the public interest and based on facts? I doubt it. Should it be protected. Yes, I think so.

The problem with these court decissions is that they are way too ambiguous to mean anything at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All the court is saying is you can't knowingly be making false claims.

You can't going around saying the PM eats babies - especially if it's to discredit him.

But you can say that the PM is destroying the earth because he doesn't support the carbon tax.

Because it's a statement that could be argued that someone truly believes is true.

It think it is relatively clear.

"I think the Port Authority is putting the island airport before the citizens and that the airport is destroying the city. "

... the port authority can't sue you over this any more.
 

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Well, that's probably because this forum, being a privately owned discussion board, isn't under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (or any other similar bill of rights).

Freedom of speech isn't guaranteed here, and your participation is a privilege, not a right. If you abuse that privilege by being combative with other members administration of this board has right to ban you from this forum to maintain civility.

Skyscrapercity is not a democracy.
 

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Well, that's probably because this forum, being a privately owned discussion board, isn't under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (or any other similar bill of rights).
As for the charter not applying to private entities that is completely untrue. It applies to everyone, and every thing, that citizens of Canada take part in and /or use, employed at. etc. Even a discussion forum based in another country. if allowing Canadians use, is bound by the Charter and the US Constitution, etc. (See FreeDominion.com vs. Human Rights Commission)

Freedom of speech isn't guaranteed here, and your participation is a privilege, not a right. If you abuse that privilege by being combative with other members administration of this board has right to ban you from this forum to maintain civility.
Skyscrapercity is not a democracy.
Well technically, it is guaranteed here. However, someone would have to take it upon themselves to ensure enforcement by HRC.

Well, we the users should demand certain guarantees. Since with out us, the board doesn't exist, and ad revenue will plummet. These forums should be for the users, and exist as a open online society. It is time for power on the Internet move to the user, and away from private interests. Just like all human interaction (societies), it must evolve.
 

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^ technically, our Charter wouldn't apply here since this is a European-based website.


And I agree with everything that vid said, being a member of this forum is a privilege - not a right
 

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^ technically, our Charter wouldn't apply here since this is a European-based website.


And I agree with everything that vid said, being a member of this forum is a privilege - not a right
If there are Canadian using this site from Canada, the charter applies. The legal precedent has been set, already.

Is it a privilege like an all white male country club?

Privilege does not eliminate human rights, it is the opposite in fact.
 

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If there are Canadian using this site from Canada, the charter applies. The legal precedent has been set, already.

Is it a privilege like an all white male country club?

Privilege does not eliminate human rights, it is the opposite in fact.
That doesn't change the fact that we can ban you from this forum.
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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Free speech? Not if I "injure your dignity, feelings and self-respect"!

So please, no one complain to the Human Rights Commission that I hurt your feelings you poor babies.


Ontario boosts rights protection
EMMA REILLY
The Canadian Press
June 30, 2008 at 8:34 AM EDT

TORONTO — Ontario residents filing human-rights complaints will have faster service and access to free legal support as a result of changes to the province's Human Rights Code taking effect Monday.

“We're bringing human-rights protection into the 21st century,” Attorney-General Chris Bentley said. “We're making sure that the rights outlined in the code actually have the strong public protection they require.”

The changes to the code streamline the process for individuals who feel they have been discriminated against, Mr. Bentley said.

Under the old system, anyone with a human-rights issue filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission for review. If the commission ruled that the complaint had legitimacy – a process that could take months to complete – the case would then be referred to the Human Rights Tribunal.

Ontario Human Rights Commission
Of the 2,300 complaints filed to the Human Rights Commission in 2006 and 2007, 7 per cent were rejected before being passed to the tribunal. The cases that were referred could then take up to five years to resolve, Mr. Bentley said.

Now, Ontario residents will bring their concerns directly to the tribunal, bypassing the commission. The Ministry of the Attorney-General estimates the new system should complete hearings within one year.

“It's a bit overwhelming if it takes you four to five years to have a hearing,” said Soma Ray-Ellis, a Toronto-based lawyer specializing in human rights and employment issues. “Now, we should be able to see hearings very quickly.”

Ms. Ray-Ellis called the old process “harassing in and of itself.”

Ontario residents will also be able to access free legal advice to guide them through the process, a move that Mr. Bentley calls “the first of its kind in Canada.”

“People who were bringing complaints to the Human Rights Commission realized that the law is pretty complex,” he said. “They needed some legal support.

“They're going to have the type of legal support that they've never had before.”

The legislation also removes a $10,000 cap on awards for “mental anguish” caused by discrimination.

Ms. Ray-Ellis said that is important “because if you look at the United States, you can get millions of dollars in damages for human-rights issues.

“They only protect a few things, but they give you big awards. In Canada, we protect a lot of things, but traditionally we have given out small awards.”

The law also outlines that individuals can now be compensated for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.

Other changes to the law include an extension of the window to file a complaint to one year from six months. The previous stipulation eliminated 50 human-rights complaints in 2006 and 2007.

The legislation, passed in December 2006, has been in the works since the 1990s.

Mr. Bentley said the system originated almost 50 years ago and had become outdated and slow.

“There was an almost universal call for change,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don't strengthen human rights protections by procedures that are too slow and too cumbersome.”
 

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There doesn't have to be a reason. This is private property.
You are confused over what constitutes private property and what are privately owned enterprises in the public domain. You are also confused about the abilities of said private owner. The owner of the private property is not a tyrant of his possessions. They are subject to laws of each country that they are operating within and its legal framework. As well, those that own property but use it to pursue public objectives, like a bar or restaurant, are further bound by regulations, codes and laws that control the manner in which they offer the public services. A discussion based forum would fall under the restaurant or bar definition rather then a private household, which still doesn't have wholesale power over such issues. Thus, you best have a legitimate reason to ban someone, because those banned may just decide to exercise their rights to being fairly treated in each of their respective systems.

I hope that helps clarify the situation for you.
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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^^
The sad part is that Quimby is right in everything he has said.

It is all encompassing in everything that you utter, here or halfway around the world, verbally, in print, on the internet, at work, in "private", etc.

Big Big Brother is listening and watching, and we are allowing it to happen.

Free speech, yeah right, keep living in dreamworld.

This Supreme Court decission means nothing, you can still be taken to the kangaroo "Human Rights Commission" for "hurting someone's feelings", so be nice!
 
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