The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released two decisions last week on SLAPP motions filed by defendants of lawsuits launched by Ezra Levant. I am working on a high-profile defamation case that may involve a SLAPP motion at some point. I am not going to help opponents on the other side, which is one of … Read moreLevant v. Al Jazeera and Levant v The Narwal
I made this pitch to a major publisher on July 26, 2016. I wish they’d bought it: Sweet Little Lies: Are we living in a post-fact world? Mark Bourrie Has the death of mainstream media opened the door to every political quack and snake-oil dealer with the gall to dream up the … Read moreBook Pitch, July 26, 2016
First, a little re-intro. I am a former journalist, now practicing law and writing researched non-fiction books. I hold a PhD in History, as well as a law degree and a Master’s degree in journalism. I’m a four-time National magazine Award nominee, winning once for a feature on a wrongly-accused man. In 2015, my book … Read moreThe Attempted Murder of the Kielburgers
I wrote a series of articles last summer on Canadaland’s dismal attempt to trash one of this country’s most important and valued charities. Today, I am posting an example of a piece where a Canadaland writer got the story right. Mainstream media portrayed a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision as a license for drunks … Read moreThe media often gets criminal law wrong
This case raises some interesting issues. An Ottawa city councilor is being sued for going much too far in what he likely saw as self-defence on social media. When a constituent called the councilor out for claims that he –the member of council — had improved policing in his ward, the politician allegedly responded by … Read moreCouncillor sued for social media post
Newspapers were, originally, subversive publications. News sheets were smuggled into England in the 1500s and early 1600s from Holland to dodge government censors. Governments and official religious groups wanted complete control of information. When France surrendered its North American possessions to the British in 1763, there wasn’t a single newspaper in its colonies. There wasn’t … Read moreNow that the ads are gone, can “objective” newspaper journalism survive?
Just a few notes to bring people up to date on speech issues in Canada. We are still waiting for the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Pointes Protection and another case involving Ontario’s law against Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). These are lawsuits, usually for defamation (but not always. Pointes Protection is actually a breach … Read moreLibel Law update (Ontario)
Update: CBC has been awarded $500,000 in costs . That is a huge deal for free expression. We may very well see an end to lawsuits being fled to shut down media inquiry, and this kind of cost award deters corporations from trying to use the courts to muzzle environmentalists and anyone else who criticizes … Read moreCBC wins SLAPP motion against Subway Restaurants
The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a decision that suggests journalistic source protection, which many reporters and editors believe is guaranteed under a law brought in by the Trudeau government, is far from absolute. Now, though, judges have clear guidance on how to weigh the rights of the accused against society’s need for media … Read moreSupreme Court of Canada upholds media source protection law, affirms the rights balancing test to be used by judges
Some words of warning from the courts: if you do something embarrassing at a party, you can’t sue if your soon-to-be-ex friends post a picture of it on Twitter, Facebook or some other social media (at least, outside Quebec, where privacy laws are pretty strict). This week, the Supreme Court of Canada turned down an … Read moreYou can’t sue just because you’ve embarrassed yourself (or your friend betrays you).