Mainstream Canada on Monday announced it is appealing the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision to deny its defamation claim against anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford.
The trial, which ran from 16 January to 10 February was initiated due to what Mainstream called a “prolonged, malicious and unfounded attack on Mainstream Canada and its employees.”
The company argues that the judge found the activist’s comments defamatory and actuated by express malice toward Mainstream and described the language in his publications “extreme, inflammatory, sensationalized, extravagant and violent.” The judge also concluded that Mainstream was a responsible corporate citizen.
However, she accepted the defendant’s fair comment defense.
“We are pleased that the judge acknowledged the good work by Mainstream and that she found that the activist’s comments were defamatory,” said David Wotherspoon, Mainstream’s lawyer. “While it is disappointing that she ruled against us on a technical legal issue, we will pursue this vigorously in the court of appeal.”
Mainstream believes this decision, if left to stand without an appeal, has the potential to compromise healthy public debate on matters of public policy. While such debate should be encouraged, it should be based on fact, and critics should be held accountable for their public commentary, the company said.