SFSC letter: To Ontario Premier re SLAPP legislation

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Dear Premier Wynne

I am writing on behalf of the Seriously Speech Committee – Vancouver to urge the enactment into law of Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014.

Frivolous lawsuits initiated by corporations and governments are designed to divert the financial and human resources of community organizations, effectively restricting their ability to freely express themselves and to participate in the political process. Legislation against SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) is a fundamental reform to encourage broader participation on important public issues.

Our committee was formed to defend an individual who was sued by a major corporation as a result of a parody produced of their newspaper. In the discovery phase, it was clear that the individual had nothing to do with the conceptualization or production of the parody and, indeed, the corporation was not able to produce any evidence. He was singled out simply because of his long-term activism and prominence on the subject of the parody. Nevertheless, the corporation maintained the legal process until other individuals came forward to claim responsibility at which point they finally dropped the original defendant from the proceedings. As intended, it was a costly process for the Seriously Free Speech Committee.

Bill 83 is one step needed to right the existing imbalance between large corporations and governments and community organizations. We support the expeditious enactment of Bill 83.


Brian Campbell
Seriously Free Speech Committee – Vancouver

cc: Andrea Horwath, Leader New Democratic Party of Ontario (ahowarth-gp@ndp.on.ca)
Tim Hudak, Leader – Conservative Party of Ontario (tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org)
Bill Walker, MPP for Grey Bruce Owen Sound (bill.walker@pc.ola.org)

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