A Win? I guess you could call it that.
You could also call the Judgment by Honourable Madam Justice Adair in the Mainstream Canada vs. Don Staniford defamation case a scathing character criticism of the ‘activist’: and a sad reflection of what the defense ‘fair comment’ can protect.
For those of you missing the details, earlier this year, Mainstream Canada took Don Staniford to court over his publication of mock cigarette packages covered in the Norwegian flag and inflammatory and false characterizations of salmon farming.
On Friday, Madam Justice Adair ruled that while the comments are defamatory and Staniford’s intention was certainly malicious, because he truly believes his statements, his defense of fair comment stands. The claim was dismissed.
The decision that wrong, derogatory statements are allowed to stand because someone’s disillusion is strong enough is terribly disappointing for salmon farmers.
We are though, finding solace in some of the comments Honourable Adair included in her judgment about Staniford – and thought we’d share some of the highlights here:
 “Mr. Staniford will twist facts to conform to his own personal view. Unless firmly corroborated by other reliable sources, I would not accept Mr. Staniford’s version of disputed facts, since his closed-mindedness and deep prejudices make him an unreliable reporter of facts. I have concluded he will say almost anything to further his own agenda.
 “I have concluded Mr. Staniford is akin to a zealot. Virtually anything that conflicts with his view and vision is wrong, bad, disgraceful or worse… Neutral facts…. will lead him to jump to irrational conclusions.
 “Mr. Staniford seems incapable of conceding he might be wrong on some things… He believes his own press, even when contradicted by other, contemporaneous documents.
 “During the trial, Mr. Staniford showed that he is extremely uncomfortable about having his views questioned. He was defensive, aggressively argumentative and insulting during his cross-examination…. Although Mr. Staniford claims to be a champion of free-speech, he cruelly and publicly mocks people who have a different point of view. His use of what he calls “humour” and “spoofing” is an example of strong passive aggression.
Among the other treats? Staniford’s views are called “exaggerated and obstinate” and “severely prejudiced.”
His friends must be really proud: touting it as a big win across the BC Salmon Farmers’ Association Facebook page this weekend. Yup. He ‘won’ – by our interpretation, because he’s irrational enough to believe the wrong things he says.
To read the judgment yourself click here