Tag Archives: Don Staniford

Court upholds Mainstream Canada’s case against activist

Thank you Mainstream Canada !!!

Court upholds Mainstream Canada’s case against activist

Mainstream Canada, Mon, 2013-07-22

Mainstream Canada was vindicated today when the BC Supreme Court of Appeal ruled against anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford.

The Supreme Court of Appeal also granted Mainstream Canada special costs based on the activist’s behaviour during the trial.

“The appropriate way to punish Mr. Staniford for his reprehensible conduct in the litigation is to award Mainstream special costs against him,” wrote Justice David Tysoe in the judgment handed down this morning.

The company originally took the activist to court because his attack did not just affect Mainstream Canada.

“It affected our employees, their families, our suppliers and our partners. A company is not just its registration number. The soul of a company is its employees, and we need to stand up for them and defend them against malicious and defamatory attacks, and against cyberbullying,” said Laurie Jensen, Mainstream Canada’s Communications and Corporate Sustainability Manager. “We are pleased that the court recognizes that especially in the age of the Internet, public comments need to be backed up by facts.”

Justice Tysoe found that the activist was not eligible for protection under a fair comment defence because he failed to adequately present facts to back up his claims.

“All of the readers of the publications were not in a position to make up their own minds about the merits of what Mr. Staniford said in the publications. Accordingly, one of the elements of the defence of fair comment was not satisfied, and the defence was not available to Mr. Staniford. The judge erred in dismissing Mainstream’s defamation claim,” wrote Justice Tysoe. “I would allow the appeal and set aside the judge’s order dismissing Mainstream’s claim and her costs order. I would grant the injunction requested in Mainstream’s amended notice of civil claim, and I would award Mainstream general damages in the amount of $25,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $50,000. I would award Mainstream special costs of the action and party and party costs of this appeal.”

Today’s judgment upholds Mainstream Canada’s arguments made during the company’s original court case against the activist. The trial, which ran from January 16 to February 10 2012, was responding to a prolonged, malicious, and unfounded attack on Mainstream Canada and its employees.
In the original trial, the judge concluded that Mainstream was a responsible corporate citizen.

“They are conscious of the need to operate the business in a manner consistent with producing a product that is safe to consume and contributes to a healthy and nutritious diet,” the trial judge wrote in her judgment.

The original trial judge also found that the activist’s comments were defamatory and were motivated by express malice toward Mainstream. She described the language in his publications as “extreme, inflammatory, sensationalized, extravagant and violent.”

Today’s judgment shows that while public debate should be encouraged, it should be based on fact, and critics should be held accountable for their public commentary.

Download the full judgment here.

Freedom of speech is for all, right?

Canadians are very fortunate to live in a democratic society, and activism has helped ensure we all have the ability to speak, freely.  But, in a world full of ironies, it is often activists themselves who will attempt to block others from speaking, unimpeded.

Here’s an example from our buddies over at Salmon are Sacred. “Captain” Brian McKinlay – a vicious, vitriolic Salmon are Sacred troll and site spammer  – regurgitates his typical nonsense about BC farm-raised salmon and encourages people to internet harass Eat! Vancouverorganizers who are hosting the food event in Vancouver this weekend. Of course, all products featured at Eat! Vancouver have been raised on a farm.

 052313 McKinlay Eat Vancouver

Others activists chime in – some just visiting Canada – and threaten to harass or obstruct BC Salmon Farmers Association staff at the event.

052313 Don SAS Eat Vancouver

Now, when the Salmon are Sacred bunch decide to express their beliefs (right or wrong), and protest farm-raised salmon at a grocery store – like they seem to do weekly in Chilliwack salmon farmers let them. Unimpeded. That is freedom of speech. Salmon farmers will, of course, have to correct their false allegations, but they certainly don’t harass activists while they are expressing their feelings to unsuspecting customers. Activists also host anti-salmon information booths at hippy festivals around BC; but salmon farmers don’t interrupt their love-ins . Activists also host documentary film screenings full of flat out lies about BC salmon farms; but salmon farmers don’t crash their attempted lobotomies.   

 It is pretty clear that people like Brian McKinlay worry that the democracy which he enjoys so much – where people are allowed to speak and think clearly – will actually expose him for what he is; a liar and a wingnut.