Strike Section 13, "Defamation Actions" And, Section 14, "Settlements" From Proposed By-law number 2015-0104 (COU-5), BEING "Part Of" A BY-LAW TO PROVIDE FOR THE INDEMNIFICATION OF MEMBERS OF COUNCIL, EMPLOYEES AND LOCAL BOARD MEMBERS.
This petition had 172 supporters
Why Is It Important to Rally AGAINST this portion of the town's proposed "INDEMNIFICATION by-law"?
Following are the words of Ontario, Superior Court Justice Kenneth E. Pedlar with respect to his decision in Montague (Township) v. Page, granting defendant's motion for summary judgement dismissing the action:
"In a free and democratic system, every citizen must be guaranteed the right to freedom of expression about issues relating to government as an absolute privilege, without threat of a civil action for defamation being initiated against them by that government. It is the very essence of a democracy to engage many voices in the process, not just those who are positive and supportive. By its very nature, the democratic process is complex, cumbersome, difficult, messy and at times frustrating, but always worthwhile, with a broad based participation absolutely essential. A democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression, within the law, permeating all of its institutions. If governments were entitled to sue citizens who are critical, only those with the means to defend civil actions would be able to criticize government entities"
Mr. Justice Pedlar, also granted a declaration requested by the Intervenor CCLA ..."a government entity, such as the plaintiff township herein, is not entitled to bring an action for defamation against a private citizen, as such an action is contrary to Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”
The town proposes then within the confines of this by-law that a Member, Employee or Local Board Member who brings an action of defamation (in their own name) against a citizen of Georgina, can seek reimbursement for legal expenses incurred in connection with that defamation action brought or proposed to be brought.
These words were also spoken by Justice Pedlar in his decision:
“factors taken into consideration in arriving at this decision include not only the inequality of resources between a government and a citizen, but also the troubling issue of the use of public funds, obtained from citizens through taxation, to sue them for criticizing that same government”
Think about that for a minute and what the town is attempting to do here (with the stroke of an administrative pen no less)? Wouldn't it appear that they are trying to subjugate a settled point of Ontario law by coming in a different door? If these sections of the by-law are allowed to stand it would have the same cause and effect as though the town itself was wielding the defamation sword with all the resources of OUR tax dollars at the Members, Employee or Local Board Member's disposal!! JUST SAY NO TO TAXPAYER FUNDED DEFAMATION CLAIMS AGAINST FELLOW GEORGINA RESIDENTS so that we all may participate in the democratic process without fear of reprisal.
Today: Dave is counting on you
Dave Ostertag needs your help with “THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWN OF GEORGINA: Strike Section 13, "Defamation Actions" And, Section 14, "Settlements" From Proposed By-law number 2015-0104 (COU-5), BEING "Part Of" A BY-LAW TO PROVIDE FOR THE INDEMNIFICATION OF MEMBERS OF COUNCIL, EMPLOYEES AND LOCAL BOARD MEMBERS.”. Join Dave and 171 supporters today.