Écosociété at the Supreme Court of Canada

On March 25, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a request by the publisher Éditions Écosociété and the authors of Noir Canada aiming to have declared the Ontario forum inappropriate for hearing the defamation suit of the Banro Corporation.

During the proceedings, Éditions Écosociété and the authors of Noir Canada were able to count on the support of lawyers from Lenczner Slaght s.r.l. (Me William C. McDowell) and from the University of Ottawa Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic[1] (Me William Amos, in the picture, with Anne-Marie Voisard of Éditions Écosociété and Alain Deneault, author of Noir Canada). The defendants benefited equally from the precious contributions of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

Among the arguments invoked by the parties, were notably mentioned the Francophone character of the publication; the minimal distribution of the work in Ontario territory; the fact that there is no real and substantial connection between the chosen forum and the Banro defamation action; the chilling effect of defamation suits with their implied costs on the holding of public debate; the concurrence of a similar suit deposed in Quebec by Barrick Gold as well as the existence of a Quebec law protecting citizens’ freedom of expression in public debate.

Éditions Écosociété is still awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court.

The hearing is available by Webcast at the following address:

http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/cms-sgd/webcast-webdiffusion-fra.a…

[1] The University of Ottawa Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, a non-profit organization financed entirely by donations, has supported juridically the artisans of Noir Canada since the very beginning of this affair.

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