A Call-Out posted by Doug Draper, publisher, Niagara At Large
February 7th, 2017
“I have been subjected to castigation, ridicule and now I am being threatened by legal action by my own government. … I willfully dedicated 25 years of my professional life fighting for the ‘ideal’ of Canada. Countless others have sacrificed much more than that, and there is nothing that will divert me from doing right by that.”
– Ed Smith, a Niagara, Ontario citizen and community leader, and a retired Canadian Armed Forces officer, speaking this past November, 2016 about being threatened with a lawsuit by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
Since Ed Smith spoke those words, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority – a public body funded with millions of dollars annually of our municipal tax money – and its former CAO Carmen D’Angelo (now CAO for Niagara’s regional government) have slapped him with a defamation suit totalling $200,000.
The lawsuit follows more than half a year of Smith and numerous other citizens across Niagara and parts of Hamilton calling on government to subject the NPCA to a forensic audit of its operations, and after filing numerous requests to the NPCA for answers to questions and concerns he and others have raised about its hiring and firing practices, awarding of contracts, land dealings and other matters.
The NPCA’s board, dominated by regional politicians from across Niagara, responded by suing Smith, claiming that he has circulated information about it and D’Angelo that is false and defamatory.
Smith, for his part, stresses that he has done nothing to justify a lawsuit and he vows to fight it in the courts, if necessary.
Sadly enough, the Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne has so far done nothing the public is aware of to quash what many citizens who support Smith see as a SLAPP suit (a strategic lawsuit against public participation) paid for with our tax dollars, and aimed at shutting up and punishing a citizen for daring to raise questions and concerns about the actions of a government body.
Now, citizens in Niagara are hosting a Defence Fundraiser on Sunday, March 12th to help Ed Smith fight this SLAPP suit, and send a message to our elected officials that they can’t use our tax money to shut us up and shut democracy now.
Niagara At Large is pleased to post the following poster on this event and will continue to post reminders and updates on this fundraising efforts, along with more information about the politicians who are behind this lawsuit.
Here is the poster, and we urge you – for the sake of any and all of our rights as citizens to question government – to mark the date, time and location of this fundraiser on your calendar and attend.
“It is my intent to defend myself against this action to the fullest extent,” said Ed Smith, after lawyers for the NPCA and Carmen D’Angelo served him with the lawsuit. “I have said it before and I will say it now, this is Governance run amok. That any government in Canada can sue a citizen for defamation, or even believes that it should, speaks of arrogance and a complete lack of understanding of the true principles of our democracy.”
Read a related story Niagara At Large posted on this issue by clicking on – – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/01/12/conservation-authority-and-its-former-cao-sue-niagara-resident-for-200000/ .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders