Mayor Shaun McLaughlin and Councillor John Edwards (Plaintiffs)
Steve Maynard (Defendant)
And the decision is…”The Defendant’s motion is granted and the action against him (Steve Maynard) is dismissed.”
This landmark decision was handed down this week by Superior Court Judge, Mr. Patrick Hurley in an exhaustive and highly reasoned 25-page decision.
Just to refresh everyone’s recollection of the issue- Mayor McLaughlin and Councillor Edwards took exception to 7 alleged defamatory Facebook posts proffered by Steve Maynard and sued him for a total of $250,000 claiming that Mr. Maynard’s public comments (and caricatures of them) were libelous.
What a powerful and encouraging victory for citizens who feel compelled to take a public stand against municipal politicians who vilify a person to advance their own cause; who display secrecy, arrogance and lack of transparency; who flaunt disrespect towards the electorate; who display viciousness and revenge; and, who give their constituents short shrift in matters that are of grave concern to them.
The forces of freedom of expression as an absolute privilege, and, the public’s appetite for information have once again have prevailed and withstood a legal challenge. These forces are very much prevalent in today’s society. This decision also condones a person who can allege that a politician does not have any morals and/or empathy and he or she can declare so with impunity. Such assertions can withstand libellous challenge in a court of law.
Mr. Justice Hurley also found Mr. Maynard’s “material to be well organized, his oral submissions to be focussed, and his conduct in the courtroom to be civil and respectful of opposing counsels, the plaintiffs, and me”. (the Judge)
As a somewhat overarching comment, I must say that it makes no sense whatsoever for Mayor McLaughlin and Councillor Edwards to have their private suit against Steve Maynard paid in part by the taxpayers of Mississippi Mills! Their legal action was a private suit and not a municipality’s involvement in a matter that could justify a financial contribution from taxpayers.
Do these politicians not owe the residents of Mississippi Mills an apology as well as reimbursement of all municipal monies that have been directed to their private suit?
President Harry Truman once coined a phrase which sums it all up……
“If you can’t stand the heat……get out of the kitchen.”
Pakenham, Almonte, Ramsay Taxpayer Advocacy Association