Friday, 7 November 2014


Yesterday, November 6,  2014 was a great day for both VISION VANCOUVER and the NPA. 

Tweeting on Twitter Mayor Gregor chirped, “Honoured that former @NPAVancouver president Michael Davis endorses @VisionVancouver team #vanpoli”.

That was just the beginning. David Cadman, formerly of COPE also swore fealty to VISION. As if that wasn’t enough the whole ménage a deux  endorsed the entire VISION slate. That was like when you buy a Fiat and Jesus comes into the agency and assures you that you have made a terrific deal and that he is going to throw in a lot of extra’s like a USB port and a portable WIFI.

As to the NPA, Robert Kasting, independent candidate for mayor dropped out of the race and endorsed the NPA’s mayoral candidate, Kirk Lapointe. Better yet, the latest polls are trending in the right direction. Best of all VISION s Councillor Meggs and Mayor Robertson sued Lapointe for defamation. What better plug for their ads could there be.

 L’Affaire Local 1004 

The law suit serves both parties' purposes. For the NPA it calls attention to L’Affaire Local 1004 which LaPointe in the Vancouver Province and the Huffington Post described as “Corrupt.” Someone had taped the proceedings of a union meeting in which money was committed to VISION. The audio was given to the journalist Bob Mackin and was placed on YouTube. The Cedar Party picked it up and ran YouTube Links. LaPointe discussed it in the Province and ran ads.   (VISION PRESENTATION)     (RESPONSE)

Mackin grills Cllr Louie on his appearance at CUPE 1004. Are you buying votes?

A condensed version of the transcript is as follows:

MEGGS: “My name is Goeff Meggs. I am running for VISION.” ***”Gregor Robertson our Mayor has recommitted to not expand contracting out. “****

UNION: “How much money do we have to spend to curry favour with VISION in the next round of negotiations? OUR SUPPORT IS NOT UNCONDITIONAL”

Both sides of the story are reported on CTV news:

Never to be outdone, COPE’s Tim Louis ran a hilarious ad “What has Tim Louis Not done for you lately” that, among other things, referred to VISION’s "Influence Peddling."  Louis needs to be sued for the ad to get the full publicity it deserves but it would not be in VISION'S interest to give him the extra attention. This is not the time to start a war on the Eastern Front. Here is Tim’s ad:

That was yesterday.

Today, the Vancouver Courier published Goeff Olson’s cartoon. He shows someone who looks like the Mayor in bed with two fat guys representing Labor and Developers. The Mayor is depicted saying, “This isn’t how it looks.

There was a famous law suit by Bill Vanderzalm who sued a cartoonist for a caricature showing him as minister of Human Resources pulling the wings from flies.   Vander Zalm v. Times Publishers, a Division of F.P. Publications (Western) Ltd. [1980] B.C.J. No. 1391 (BCCA). The decision produced three separate reasons for judgement. The Cartoonist was not liable.

So Olson could also be sued, not because there is anything wrong with three guys in bed but because of the company it suggests the Mayor keeps. 


VISION has disclosed its source of funding.  Concorde Pacific and Aquilini are major contributors. 

It is also alleged that they are both  owners of some of the land next to the Georgia Viaduct.

 If that is true,could the  universe contain the possibility that the money given to VISION by these corporations was "not unconditional?" Would it be possible that Megg's pushing for the demolition of the viaduct relates in some way to contributions or prospects thereof to the party? 

Once the viaduct has been demolished will these land owners be offered development rights with tremendous density?

Listen to the tapes and tell me that such speculation is unreasonable.  

The problem with a system in which the people who are regulated by local governments finance the party is that there is in fact something wrong with it. It causes people to lose faith in the system  precisely when it deals with the matters central to their jurisdiction. 

When I am told that a developer has given $40,000 it is hard to believe that there are no strings attached and that it is not the way it looks. Casey Stengel once said, "Only half the lies they tell about the New York Yankees are true." The same may be said of VISION.

A fine municipal defamation action was Ralston v. Fomich [1992] B.C.J. No. 463, a decision of Spencer J.

During a Surrey City council debate the defendant alderman called the plaintiff alderman a "sick son of a bitch". The Plaintiff won.

In my opinion the words "son of a bitch" by themselves are not capable of any defamatory meaning. They are peculiar, in that they take their meaning either from the tone of voice used or from whatever adjective accompanies them. They are a translucent vessel waiting to be filled with colour by their immediate qualifier. Thus, one has sympathy for a poor son of a bitch, admiration for a brave son of a bitch, affection for a good old son of a bitch, envy for a rich son of a bitch and, perhaps incongruously, dislike for a proper son of a bitch. Why right thinking people should dislike anything that is proper is rather a mystery unless proper is used to mean "real", but I am confident that is the colour that adjective gives to the expression. It is perhaps a throw-back to an earlier use of the expression when the mere words themselves carried an opprobrious meaning, see for example Kent's apostrophe to Oswald: "(thou) art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch:" (Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 2, Scene 2)

That brings me to the qualifier in this case, the adjective "sick". Whatever innuendo the word may be capable of must be disregarded, for none is pleaded. Instead, the statement of claim relies upon its ordinary meanings, that the plaintiff was either mentally ill, unstable or unbalanced, that he was perverted, unwholesome or morally corrupt, or that he was unfit to hold public office or to practise his profession as a barrister and solicitor.

So you can call a politician a son of a bitch but don’t ever say he is sick.


Section 123 of the Criminal Code is set out below:

In summary it provides:

123. Municipal corruption

123. (1) everyone is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who *** being a municipal official, directly or indirectly *** accepts from any person for themselves or another person — a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for the official

(a) to abstain from voting at a meeting of the municipal council or a committee of the council;

(b) to vote in favour of or against a measure, motion or resolution;

(c) to aid in procuring or preventing the adoption of a measure, motion or resolution; or

(d) to perform or fail to perform an official act.

It may be that in back rooms, promises have been exchanged on conditions or with strings attached but Meggs and Robertson v Lapointe is the first one that I am aware of that have been videotaped. One interpretation of what is shown on the Video  is that the Mayor has agreed to maintain the status
 quo as they enter negotiations and that the support of the union is provided in exchange for the promise not to change anything. 

I don’t see a commitment to maintain the status quo as legally distinguishable from a commitment to change it. To a passenger in an airplane that has not crashed, a promise to maintain the status quo would provide a distinct advantage.


Ironworkers Local 97 of The International Assn. of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers v. Liberal Party of British Columbia [1997] B.C.J. No. 2357 was an action for defamation that had some elements similar to what has happened here. 

The defendant Liberal Party issued a press release. They alleged that the plaintiff, Ironworkers Local 97, was involved in a kickback scheme benefiting the provincial New Democratic government. The release formed the basis of a newspaper article written by the defendant, Brian Kieran, and published by the defendant, Southam. 

Unlike the situation with VISION there was no evidence at all that there were strings attached to the deal. Nevertheless the Union’s action was dismissed. The release and article were in fact held to be defamatory. The use of the word "kickback" and a reference to unrelated criminal charges by other parties carried the inference that Ironworkers Local 97 was involved in unethical behaviour.

The plaintiff's problem in these political cases is that he must establish on a balance of probabilities that there was actual or express malice on the part of the defendants. A defence of fair comment is available and means that the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant acted with malice. 

 Kieran and Southam were covered by the defence of fair comment. Kieran's column was an opinion column. He discussed a matter of clear public interest. It contained an honest expression of his views. It was technically possible for money paid by the government to the Ironworkers Local 97 to have been legally diverted to the New Democrats through the unions. It had not happened but there was no malice behind the actions of any of the defendants. 

If this case goes to trial, one defence will likely be "truth" i.e. that the words if not the money mean what they say and are true. The union donated $206,000 to VISION. This support was allegedly not unconditional, whatever that means. 

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