Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stephen Harper v. The Liberal Party of Canada

The Prime Minister has made good on his promise to sue the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yesterday, he initiated a lawsuit against his political adversaries over their allegations that he knew of financial inducements allegedly offered by the Conservative Party in 2005 to Chuck Cadman, a deceased, former member of Canada's Parliament.

Harper filed a 32-page Statement of Claim in Ontario Superior Court of Justice at Ottawa, naming the Liberal Party of Canada and others as Defendants.

The Prime Minister claims damages totalling $2.5 million for defamation over the February 29, 2008 publication on the Liberal Party of Canada website of an article entitled "Harper Knew of Conservative Bribery."

The claim alleges that the Prime Minister's reputation was harmed by the article, along with subsequent articles on the Liberal Party website and related statements by Opposition Leader Stephane Dion and other Liberal Party officials.

The Prime Minister claims that "as a result of the defamatory publications in issue... he has been brought into ridicule, scandal and contempt both personally and as the holder of the Office of Prime Minister of Canada."

The Prime Minister did not sue Mr. Dion or other Liberals personally.

Once the Defendants have been personally served with Prime Minister's Statement of Claim, each must file a Statement of Defence within 20 days. A 10 day extension of this deadline may be obtained by any Defendant who delivers a short pleading known as a Notice of Intent to Defend.

None of the Prime Minister's allegations have to date been proven in a court of law

More background on the Cadman affair, or Cadscam, is here.

We will be following this litigation very closely.

Interesting questions: If the Conservative Party is defeated in the next election, will Plaintiff Harper blame it all on Cadscam and argue that he is entitled to damages for loss of the Prime Ministership? How would those damages be quantified by a Court?

And... who says you can't do one blog about law and politics?

More reading:

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Firm website: www.wiselaw.net

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