Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Should I be Afraid to Speak Out in Aurora?

Posted by auroracitizen on October 18, 2010

The below letter entitled “Should I be Afraid to Speak Out in Aurora?” was submitted on the evening of Saturday October 16th to The Auroran and the Era-Banner newspapers for publication as a Letter to the Editor.

It may be too late for publication (if it does get published) before the municipal election. On Saturday evening, I sent a copy to Bill Hogg, Richard Johnson and Elizabeth Bishenden and also to Geoff Dawe. It was also forwarded to Lois Brown, MP Newmarket-Aurora and Frank Klees, MPP Newmarket-Aurora for their information. This Monday morning, October 18th I sent to Evelyn Buck in response to her blog entry “Incredible As It may Seem”.

I may not always agree with what is written on the Aurora Citizen or the responses but we all have a right to voice our opinions regarding how our government runs our affairs.

Should I be Afraid to Speak Out in Aurora?

Should I be afraid to speak out in Aurora?

Should I be afraid to criticize the established municipal government if I do not agree with their actions?

Should I vote and then remain silent and cower under the threat of litigation from the very people who I may have voted to office.

If I speak out will I be silenced by our very government that is an integral part of our democracy, an institution of our rights and freedoms?

Should I be afraid to attach my name to this letter in fear of future repercussions having voiced my opinions?

As a citizen must I confer with a lawyer before I express my opinion in regards to governmental affairs?

Should I be fearful of my associations and friendships with good people of Aurora?

It would appear so in Aurora, but this can not be allowed to stand!

I reference and call to attention the recent information at the Aurora Citizen website: https://auroracitizen.ca/2010/10/15/maybe-you-heard-about-the-lawsuit/
Maybe You Heard About The Lawsuit

Aurora is not a community that I would continue to be proud of should the voice of the individual be choked under the hand of the local municipal government.

Mayor Morris’ re-election website contains the following quote: “The New York Times wrote: “Aurora is exactly the kind of hip, upscale, well-educated town where conflicting values are put to the test.””

With these current legal proceedings, in my opinion Aurora has shown itself to be neither hip, upscale nor well-educated and has in fact censored any conflicting values so as not to put them to the test. I do not need to have a code of conduct, a legal background or advice from a lawyer to know what the members of council did in voting for this action is wrong.

I applaud the actions and statement from Councillor Bob McRoberts.

I strongly support the actions of Bill Hogg, Richard Johnson and Elizabeth Bishenden in standing for all of our individual and collective rights for freedom of expression.

I hope that other Aurorans and Canadians will also show their support by not remaining silent and by not being afraid to express their opinions on our government.

Paul Sesto
Aurora, ON
October 16, 2010

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102 Responses to “Should I be Afraid to Speak Out in Aurora?”

  1. Wisely said

    Ok People I need some help…

    I’ve got 7 of my 8 council votes sorted out.

    Now I’m down to either Jim Abram or Roy Cohen – any thoughts?

  2. anonymous said

    Darryl Moore calls the lawsuit an unfortunate mistake

    “The lawsuit being initiated by the town was an unfortunate mistake.”

    I wonder if Bill, Richard and Elizabeth would agree with his assessment?

  3. Anna said

    OMG its slow!

  4. Not Playing By the Rules? said

    This must have provided commuters with some early morning entertainment:

    http://geoffdawe.com/canvassing-at-the-go-station

    How many mornings were they there flouting the rules?

    • Anonymous said

      The Morris crowd led by Sher was out on the GO platform Tues.Wed. and Thursday morning.
      I’m sure she had a permit or better yet intended to get one. So todays flurry of activity was not surprising but about time all must play by the same rules not Morris’s take on them.

    • Takes The Go said

      I know Phyllis and Roger were both canvassing at the Go on Wednesday and Thursday…I saw them!

    • Anonymous said

      “I’m sure she had a permit or better yet intended to get one.”

      You are? Why are you sure?

    • fed up said

      I am sure Sher will be just as visible volunteering and promoting our wonderful town after her friend has been sent packing on Monday–YEAH RIGHT?-

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Anonymous Oct22,2010 at ^:08pm

      “I’m sure she had a permit or better yet intended to get one.”

      I’m not sure if Anonymous 4:26 had the old tongue in the left or right cheek with that comment.

    • The majority of Aurorans said

      Can anyone explain to me the thought process that went on in the heads of the mayor and a self-admitted 25 year veteran of a police force that resulted in both of them conducting political campaigns, without the necessary permit, at a premises that specifically requires such permit? These two aspirants, or members of their support teams, should have known better. And this was not a single infraction, but repeated ones – 4 days by Morris, 3 by Clowater.

      Geoff Dawe had a permit. What makes him so special?

      Simple. He respects the rules and finds out what they are before launching himself into a hitherto new situation. I think we need more people who research the rules, and having done so, abides by them.

    • Yellow Shirt said

      Seems like the not so saintly St.Kitts woman has had another snit and developed a strange aversion to..”YELLOW SHIRTS” and our future Mayor “Jack Dawe” (sorry Geoff)!(check out Temporary Sanity). Her childish attempt at humor is sickening.No permit,no canvassing Sher.If Richard lunged at the Red Queen,then surveillance equipment employed will be able to verify your claim. If he didnt then you’re shit out of luck. Two more days and your services will no longer be required. That was your PINK SLIP…

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Note to Sher.

      They’re not yellow shirts, they are gold.

      Gold as in the golden era that Auroran’s will be returning to after four years of seeing red in the actions and the wasted dollars of the Mormac regime.

    • A for Anonymous said

      …and gold as in setting the new gold standard for democracy.

  5. fed up said

    IN..TIM..I..DA…TION

    Arethra Franklin–or was it AN..TIC..I..PA..TION??

    NEVER MIND…INTMIDATION LEADS TO ANTICIPATION OF A NEW MAYOR

  6. Chris G said

    It looks like Mayor Morris has done the equivalent of pulling the pin from a grenade and then throwing the pin at her enemies and hanging onto the grenade.

    She has dealt herself the final coup de grace in this election. Even the most reasonable and even handed person cannot escape the fact that she has used her office for some very questionable tactics for settling personal differences with others.

    This is a dark day for Aurora and that’s not fair. We have a vibrant community with lots of hard working, caring people who want the best for our Town and its residents. We should be the envy of other towns and cities and I think we will be, again.

    I hope we have a record voter turnout on the 25th and the we send a message – not only to our own local politicians – but to every elected official in Ontario that you are here to SERVE the public and not to use it as a vehicle for settling personal scores and feathering your own nest.

    • Fizzle said

      Chris G –

      Was she hanging on or “chained” to it?

      What began with so much kaboom four years ago – very long years – is going to end with a fizzle.

  7. Matt Maddocks said

    This was posted on the Era banner online edition last night at 7:08pm: http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/890626–aurora-mayor-wants-names-revealed

    What the hell is this? The McCarthy witch-hunt from the 1950’s all over again?

    Read the story carefully. Morris says she’ll drop the lawsuit against the 3 named defendants (that’s currently Bill, Elizabeth, and Richard), in exchange for someone to “name names” of the 3 anonymous bloggers. Then to do what exactly? Give them a stern talking to? I have an idea of exactly what she’d do with those 3 names.

    She goes on to say that if the names are revealed, “a great deal of time and expense can be saved.” Her time yes, but who’s expense? THE TAXPAYERS OF AURORA, THAT’S WHO. She’s not spending one dime of her own money on this. From the moment she called the lawyers, the meter’s been running and you and I are paying for it. Now she’s dangling the carrot out there; “throw the 3 bloggers under the bus, and I’ll spare all the rest of you the pain.”

    This sickens me to a new level. In my opinion, Morris’ vindictiveness knows no bounds. It is my sincere hope that the identities of the 3 bloggers never be revealed. It would be a serious blow to the right of free speech for every Canadian.

    • Feeling the Backlash? said

      Is the attempt to sound conciliatory a reaction to the outrage being expressed by residents?

      What would the downtown lawyer say about her offer to settle?

    • Anonymous said

      I was pleased to see Allison Collins-Mrakas’ letter in this week’s Auroran, speaking out about the lawsuit and inappropriate use of taxpayer money.
      I hope that once the elction is done she, Bob McRoberts and Grace Marsh will tell some truths about what it has been like to try to work under this regime. I have heard about threatening emails, which seems to be the preferred MO of some of the GOS and we have all witnessed the disparaging, disrespectful and confrontational behaviour they have suffered at council meetings. I find it unbelieveable to think that Morris can honestly think that comments on this blog come even close to her and her cohorts’ disgusting behaviour toward others over the last 4 years. We have all heard about Al Wilson’s penchant for man-handling citizens and witnessed Granger bullying a young girl. Where do they get off authorizing this action. I think it will be time for some cold hard facts about the reality of serving on this council after the 25th. I do hope they have been saving their emails all this time.

    • Anonymous said

      Perhaps she can find redemption at the Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast…you know…where they pray for the towns leaders and residents? Forgive,rather than sue? WWJD(what would Jesus do?)Only she can answer that…

  8. No doubt sometimes I have to think twice when I write or comment here or on my own blog.
    Well if they can do it the so called G5, then can there be a class action against the mayor and the gang for misusing, misspending of our tax money? But then Aurora may deplete totally.

    LivingInAurora in Fear or Not!

  9. walt said

    Dear Phyllis:

    You can’t dance either: (sue ME, please, for saying that too)

    http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Mayor-Morris-Opens-Treefrog-Interactive-Inc-Aurora-Web-Design-Office-1338599.htm

    I think I have indigestion from the very idea of these idiots dancing on Wellington.

    • anonymous said

      I thought I recognized “Treefrog” and then went back to the Mayors website….check it out….Aurora Web Design by Treefrog TM.

    • Anonymous said

      Isn’t it amazing that she’s the only one looking at the camera? Never misses a photo op.

    • Richard Johnson said

      OMG

    • Anonymous said

      To: Anonymous @ October 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      Isn’t it amazing that she’s the only one looking at the camera? Never misses a photo op.

      You don’t think that they took a number of photos and then picked this one because she was looking at the camera? I guess you have never poured over a bunch a proofs – say from a wedding – and had to pick the good ones?

      Sometimes you people don’t really think before you post.

    • Anonymous said

      “…you people…”?

      Really? ‘You people’? Sadly, I’m afraid you’re right – the last four years of MorMac has created an ‘Us versus Them’ environment in this town. How bad is that?!

      Hopefully, on Tuesday morning, everyone can all start being US – Aurorans.

    • VENGABUS said

      You sure it’s a conga line? It looks more like they’re all ligning up to kick her a55.

  10. Anonymous said

    Has anyone seen the Banner online. Sean Pearce is reporting that Mayor Morris apparently has offerred to settle the suit? What’s with that? According to the Star article the motion is being heard tomorrow. Makes you wonder why she would be looking to settle so quickly and how many dollars she is really wanting to pocket. She’s what, in her mid fifties? Got a ways to go before collecting CPP and OAS. FYI, damages awarded from a lawsuit are tax free. There’s irony for you, taxpayers pay for the suit, three citizens pay the award and PM gets to go home without forking out a dime to the CRA! Where’s the justice for the public?

    Yours in disgust,
    Luckywife

  11. Paul Sesto said

    It looks like from another contributor that the following Toronto Star article that appeared at the on-line version yesterday is in today’s print version.

    Aurora mayor sues local bloggers – thestar.com

    http://www.thestar.com/news/elections/article/878589–aurora-mayor-sues-local-bloggers

    A quote from the article:

    It (the suit) further claims that Johnson, Hogg and Bishenden, as purported moderators of the blog site, “authorized and encouraged the publication of the defamatory postings and are responsible for their contents.” (end of quote).

    I have followed the postings and discussion on the Aurora Citizen for some time now (at least 1-1/2 years) and am familiar with its workings. At no time have I ever seen the website encourage contributors to submit defamatory remarks. If it was encouraging such action I wouldn’t have given any credence to this website nor do I think any others would who have attached their actual names to their postings. It’s just not something good people of Aurora (or of any other village, town or city in Canada) would want to be associated with. I have known Elizabeth Bishenden and her family for many years and would rank her amongst the good (and I’ll bump that to great) people of Aurora. I don’t personally know Richard Johnson and Bill Hogg, and have only exchanged a few emails with them since last Saturday. I briefly introduced myself to Bill at Sunday’s Aurora Sports Candidates’ Meeting. From the recent support that I have seen Aurorans give to all 3 of them, I think it can be clearly stated that they are all good people of Aurora.

    I encourage everyone to read the whole story as the Star’s writer, Gail Swainson (Urban Affairs Reporter) does not paint a pretty picture of Aurora’s municipal political scene. Regardless of who is the next mayor and who is on council, I believe that they will have a real job in repairing Aurora’s public image that the town has acquired.

    Ask yourself; if you were a business person and all other factors were equal where would you like to set up your new business?

  12. Katherine Isaac said

    I admit, I have been complacent when it comes to politics in Aurora for much too long. I have been aware of how ridiculous some of our Council sessions have been, and I read about the so called “Code Of Conduct” situation, but still I remained silent.

    But this latest news regarding the lawsuit has me livid!! I don’t pay taxes so that residents can be silenced! I pay my taxes to improve the services this community offers to me and my children. In the last few years, I have seen the quality of the recreational services offered by the region degrade while the costs increase. Have you been to Victoria Hall lately?! The washrooms are a disgrace! And yet, my tax dollars are being used to sue residents?! I’VE BEEN ROBBED AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

    Phylis Morris, I am embarrassed to call you my mayor and I will be glad to see you go. This latest development has encouraged me to start an anti-Morris campaign which I will be taking to Facebook, Twitter, and my neighborhood by the end of they day. I’ve got a couple of days left, and I hope to do some irreparable damage. Enjoy your weekend as Mayor of Aurora… It’ll be your last!

    Katherine Isaac
    Disgusted Aurora Resident

    • Stephanie said

      Well-spoken, Katherine. I wholeheartedly support you! I am embarrassed, too.

    • let us all know about the addresses for your social media sites and I’m sure that a vast number of readers here that are also disgusted will join them in short order.

    • A for Anonymous said

      Katherine, while I wholeheartedly agree with your disgust and anger, it has to be more than an anti-Morris campaign. We have to put our votes behind one candidate – Geoff Dawe.

    • Katherine Isaac said

      @A for Anonymous, I put in my request for a Geoff Dawe sign earlier today. I don’t like telling people who to vote for, but I don’t mind telling people who to NOT vote for! Hopefully my sign will help my neighbors see my intention. I’ve spotted some Phyllis Morris signs on lawns in my neighborhood and i have to wonder what they are thinking!!

      I’ll be tweeting at http://twitter.com/keds2300. Feel free to retweet me.

  13. fed up said

    I heard ln late August/early September that there were citizens/business people in this town who were AFRAID of speaking out against the current administration for FEAR of what might happen to them. Now we know what she is capable of doing to those who speak out against her. What an awful town to live in where the citizens live in FEAR?

  14. Franklin H. Littell said

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a communist;

    Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a socialist;

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a trade unionist;

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a Jew;

    Then they came for me–
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Franklin H. Littell

  15. Paul Sesto said

    Paul Sesto said:

    Great to see that Geoff Dawe has taken a stand in writing on his blog entry today (Oct 20) see http://www.geoffdawe.com/blog for complete entry.

    Partial text from his blog:

    “The mind boggles!

    If elected Mayor: I will do everything in my power to right this outrageous wrong and commit to re-establishing a community environment where all opinions are welcome and no one is afraid to speak out against the decisions of their government due to the threat of legal action by the very people that were elected to serve!” (end of reference)

    • Sprite said

      Where are the G5? With the exception of one reported Granger encounter on a doorstep, and one Gallo rep, I have heard nothing from our duly elected – hopefully on their way out?

      Can anyone comment on when and how the campaign signs are being snatched? Has there been a pile of them spotted at the rear of Petch House or some other equally bizarre spot?

      Morris won’t be able to use hers again because the “re-” part will no longer be valid.

    • Anonymous said

      Thank goodness Mr. Dawe gets it. We should all remember that Phyllis has clearly demonstrated that she is hoping for a very comfortable retirement funded by Aurora taxpayers, and it was only made possible by MacEachern, Granger, Gallo, Wilson and Gaertner. If she can do it, if there is even a scintilla of a chance she could get away with it, then hang to your wallets, they may all decide to have a go at it.

      Thanks Paul, for forwarding your letter to Lois Brown and Frank Klees. There is likely to be more than one ex-mayor desperately seeking a job after Monday, those two might want to start covering their flanks.

      Regards,
      Luckywife

    • Chris said

      Yesterday, I was surprised and truly (I hate to say it) disgusted, learning that Phyllis Morris was taking legal action against some bloggers for the posting of unwelcome or unflattering comments. Really!!??

      However unwelcome, unfortunate or inappropriate: it is anyone’s right to sue even without apparent reason or justification and, to my mind, reaching a level not yet beneath the applicant.

      Today I read that the council approved the legal action that was promoted by the mayor, approved by 5 members of council and to be paid for by the Town. That’s us folks!!!!

      The Gang of 5 and Miss Gulch (Wizard of OZ) are beyond the pale: shameless, craven, connivent.
      Could I be less proud of our elected officials?

    • Broderick Epps said

      Read in the Banner that the electronic vote counting machines will be used. Aren’t they the same ones Evilina once caused legal action to be taken because she questioned their accuracy? Could we be faced with a replay if she loses her seat?The Mayor already has her excuse, Ms. Buck and the Aurora Citizen.

  16. Anonymous said

    With five candidates for the office of Mayor why is Evelyn Buck the target of the Morrisites? Why are Morris supporters only able to promote their candidate by slimming another? How is this appropriate from Advisory Committee Members governed by the Towns Code of Conduct and “Citizens of the year”? In case you haven’t notice Evelyn Buck IS NOT in the roster of candidates for the office of Mayor!

    • Anonymous said

      So Buck should not be subject to critisim because she is not running for mayor? Interesting that I don’t see that same standard applied on this website to all the other candidates for council.

      What’s that new popular phrase around here? Oh Yeah. Typical!

    • Anonymous said

      Anonymous 11:03 Didn’t get it! WTF!

    • Anonymous said

      Yes, 11:03, another ‘we may be going down but let’s try to scupper Buck’ post. Just more vendetta politics.

  17. Matt Maddocks said

    Activating 1890’s preacher mode:

    Yea brothers and sisters, I have been cleansed. Cleansed and free of the darkness. Cleansed of fear. How you may ask? How did I rid my soul of the curse that is the Phyllis, the lawsuit, the gang of six snakes? Well I’ll tell you. Last night, my goodwife and I steered our carriage north to the river (also known as the Aurora Seniors Centre), walked in tall and proud, and announced our intentions loud and clear to the electronic screen in front of us; “Vote I say! Vote for good and truth! Vote for Geoff Dawe!” Well, the very second my hand hit the “CAST BALLOT” button, I heard the trumpets sound out. I felt the weight of 4 years of oppression lift from my shoulders as if carried away by angels. I was cleansed. I was released from fear. My goodwife and I left the river (also known as the Aurora Seniors Centre), our feet never touching the ground. We celebrated with grilled meat and wine. We raised our glasses to Geoff Dawe. It was a blessed moment my brothers and sisters. Free yourselves now! Tonight (Wed) from 4pm to 8pm, the river (also known as the Aurora Seniors Centre) will be waiting to free your soul. Feel the power of cleansing move through you as you cast your ballot for Geoff Dawe. You will be saved. Monday, we all shall be lifted from the depths to “higher ground”!

    No apologies if I offended anyone (especially Sher – jam it in your jazz hole).
    No apologies for free speech.

    • Knowledgeable in Aurora said

      Love your post Matt. My family has also voted already and we went as a family, stood three across at the machines, yes by golly it sure felt good.

      If everyone in this town would get out and vote, then we get the government we truly and collectively elected and I can live with that.

      Although of course I still reserve the RIGHT to critize it when appropriate.

      Also love the Jazz Hole comment, I’ll have to remember that one 🙂

    • Anonymous said

      Matt Maddocks! You are truly a man after my own heart! If I wasn’t so darn happy with Luckyhusband and you weren’t blessed with your own Luckywife, you and I could grill some great steaks together!

      Cheers,
      Luckywife

  18. fed up said

    Yesterday’s Banner–quote “As a mayor, I didn’t enter office to be subjected to either of these things; I did it to serve the pulibc.” Phyllis Morris Mayor–

    Serve the public: as long as you agree with her policies and actions–disagree and you get no service, you get sued–bye bye Phyllis–les than 1 week till the celebration when this town gets a new MAYOR who will serve all the public all the time

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      As quoted on page two in the Greater Toronto section ofd the October 21st Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/news/elections/article/878589–aurora-mayor-sues-local-bloggers

      “As a result of the postings, the plaintiff has been subjected to ridicule, hatred and contempt and suffered damage to her reputation”

      Not ‘the postings’ Phyllis, ‘the actions’!!!

    • Anonymous said

      Geez, you’d think The Star could do better than that. I’m shocked that this hasn’t been picked up nationally. A politician using public funds to sue taxpayers isn’t big news? WTF! If it can happen here it can happen anywhere. Can the public sue her for misappriating public money for personal vendettas?

    • Anonymous said

      I agree with Anonymous 10:34. If this happened in Toronto, it would be national news. I also wondered about a whether or not a class action lawsuit could be filed against the misuse of town funds. anyone have any legal knowledge regarding that option?

    • Anonymous said

      Sometimes you people are never happy…. You *itch about newspaper’s picking up how bad this council is and how it makes Aurora look like a Vaughan-wanna-be and then you *itch because another article doesn’t dig up enough dirt.

  19. Absolute bullying. To go to these lengths, attacking citizens for A bruised ego and using the citizens money to attempt to accomplish this HA
    I think I just heard the final nail being hammered in the coffin

  20. Stephanie said

    This lawsuit is a repulsive affair.

    I am not afraid to voice my opinions.

    I am, however, embarrassed to live in Aurora.

  21. Anon said

    Just finished reading the Auroran. I would love to know whether there’s a way that the moderator (or anyone else) can find out who I am when I post anonymously. I have some experience with blogging, but not much, yet I don’t believe it’s possible. (Even if I respond as anon but use my email address for follow up comments?)

    • Our best undersatnding is as follows; If no email is left, we simply see your IP address — which is a series of numbers supplied by your internet provider. Someone would need a court order to ask your internet provider for your name.

      Someone with more technical expertise may be able to provide more insight here.

    • Anon said

      Thanks. That’s what I thought. I know that through sitemeter and feedburner etc, I can see that ‘you’ have visited my blog from isp address ###.###.### etc…. and that your isp is Bell/Rogers/ACI, etc… but beyond that, is beyond me. I was pretty certain that there was no way to find out that you’re Mr. B. Smith at 123 Main Street…. just that you’re a Rogers internet user. Thanks for confirming.

    • fed up said

      don’t be a bit surprised if the RCMP can find out who you are through your ip address–technology is a wonderful thing

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      What a amazing array of responses to this post. To say nothing of the number of people who have logged on to read the blog.

      Since October 17th at 5:30 – fifty hours ago – there have been 6794 hits.

      Phyllis Morris was elected with 5208 votes.

      If only 210 of those had been cast for the next closest opponent instead, these issues and perhaps even this blog would not exist.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      When you connect to your ISP, you are given an IP address. This address is yours for as long as you are connected. For those using broadband (Rogers, Bell Sympatico, etc.) this address could be yours for days or even weeks. For those still using dial-up, this address is yours until you hang up. Regardless, the ISP maintains a log of your user ID , the IP address assigned and date/time stamps of session log ins and log outs.

      As the moderator mentions above, when you post, your IP address is logged along with your ISP.

      This information can be handed over to authorities through proper request channels to determine the person that made the post. This has been done numerous times in the past.

      The thing to remember, the internet IS NOT an anonymous place by any stretch. You cannot hide.

      Fuimus

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Darned if the ‘hits’ count on this blog has now climbed by well over ten thousand since Sunday night.

      Would that not be more than twice the number of votes Phyllis got in 2006?

      At this rate six million is within range!!!

  22. George Gonsalves said

    Council should have referred to Voltaire before taking the rash action they did. Voltaire said, “Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai jusqu’à la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire.” He said that even if he did not agree with what you said, he would fight to the death so that you have the right to say it. Of course, the Age of Enlightenment was a long time ago.

  23. evelyn.buck said

    Robert The Bruce may know something I do not.

    My law suit is intended to protect my rights and everyone else’s under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and against any Council that may believe it has authority to infringe upon those rights with a ridiculous clause in a Code of Conduct passed for anything but to encourage an acceptable standard of behaviour in elected officials.

    I understand but I am not certain,the six defendants in the action are being indemnified under the town’s insurance.

    Premiums are paid from taxes not claims.

    I believe a successful defence is the necessary criteria whereby the defendants get off scott free. I also believe defendants do not instruct the solicitor provided by the insurance company. They are themselves instructed by the solicitor.

    On the other hand, the town’s insurance does not pay for legal action taken by an elected representative against another party.

    It appears therefore, the latest action is being be paid from taxes.

    It has occurred to me since the original action taken against myself under the law they wrote to deny my rights and destroy my reputation, I might have claimed against the town’s insurance the cost of defending myself.

    But that would have meant acknowledging the legality of their phoney baloney Code of Conduct.

    I do not.

    I could have kept their paid official busy every day of the week, at considerably higher expense, with complaints of Code infringements, had I believed in third party authority to judge conduct and behaviour of elected officials.

    I chose not to do that either. Out of respect for hard earned and ill afforded tax dollars paid by people whose interests I am sworn to represent.

  24. Anonymous said

    So well said and right on point! Thank you Paul.

    Luckywife

  25. This is really becoming pathetic.
    We definitely need a new mayor.
    We need change, and I am all up to it.
    Please vote strategically, and lets work together for better.

  26. Fix Aurora said

    Thanks Something_Fishy. It took a while to find. It was in the comments of an unrelated post.

    http://www.darrylmoore.ca/2010/10/peaking.html

    I liked his reply. Only 12 more candidates to go.

  27. fed up said

    we are living in “The Twilght Zone”–Rod Serling would be proud of this town right now–stop the madness–no votes for PM and no votes for her cronies–by the way–wonder where guy POPPE is during all this mess–no doubt writing the sequel for the next epidsode

  28. Anonymous said

    So let me get this straight….

    Buck files a libel suit to protect her reputation and she’s a paragon of righteousness.

    Morris files a libel suit to protect her reputation and she’s against freedom of speech.

    I’ll take Logic for $100 Alex.

    • Anonymous said

      Is that a $100 of taxpayers’ money or your own that you’re offering Mr Trebek?

      The difference begins there.

      p.s. Can one protect something that’s been lost or thrown away?

    • Anonymous said

      You left out the part where Buck is using her own money, not yours.

      Luckywife

    • Get this Straight said

      Buck needs no lawsuit to protect her reputation The voters will do that for her ,in fact its quite the opposite. Its called standing up for your rights and freedoms and being able to represent the only people you are accountable to, you know, The ones who put you there in the first place.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      No Offence Luckywife but you are not telling the whole story.

      1. E Buck is using her own money only to the extent that she has a fund set up at a bank for donations

      2. She will be using MY money indirectly because the defence of those she is suing is coming from tax-payers

      Fuimus

    • Anonymous said

      To RTB:

      1. I don’t know where Evelyn is getting the money to pay for this. For her part, it is not coming out of taxpayers pockets.

      2. Using your logic, would you accept then that since council is using YOUR money to file suit against the AC moderators, therefore, the site should be shut down?

      This is an important discussion to have RTB, I have stated clearly that I am not pleased about the lawsuit, I respect that Evelyn is passionate about her beliefs and she is willing to defend them out of her own pocket. The same can never be said of the Six.

      These same six that have called out to her and the public their disgust that she would dare to sue, the hubris and the waste of taxpayer dollars that is somehow all her fault. So is the action against Mr. Hogg, Mr. Johnson and Ms. Bishenden her fault too?

      Let’s talk then about what you think she should or could have done. The six have always touted that they have relied on legal counsel to advise them on their dealings with Cllr. Buck. What can be said then, when they defied legal advice that was admonished to them not once, but twice and waived the procedural by-law to allow a personal attack against her. Do you believe they would have voted differently if the attack were to be against any other member? What of the public record that does not accurately reflect what really happened? What should be done about that? Back to where the whole mess started, where is the accounting of the public money spent by Ms. St. Kitts and her team, why is it secret, why can a Councillor not ask, why can the public not know? I don’t believe the dream team did anything wrong, I don’t believe Cllr. Buck did anything wrong when she asked for an accounting of expenditure of public funds.

      Any action taken by any level of government or their representatives that cannot be held up to public scrutiny does not have to be accepted as legitimate by that same public. IMO is should never be.

      Best regards,
      Luckywife

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Luckywife,

      1. You are corerct – Evelyn’s lawsuit is not being funded by taxpayers. It is her money and those that saw fit to donate to the fund. We have no accounting of the fund – and we don’t need one – so we cannot comment on how much is her actual money.

      However, those that are being sued by her are getting legal defence via the Town’s insurance which is paid for by tax dollars. The fact that slimy Stephen Granger told me that the insurance premiums will not be going up after this is proof to me that is how their defence will be done. (as an aside, I don’t know how he could say that – all you need to do is have an insurance claim with your car to see how the premiums go up).

      So, to say that Evelyn’s lawsuit is strictly her money is false. She is indirectly incurring public costs through this action.

      I don’t know how my logic says that a website should be shutdown. I have not indicated that at all.

      For the record, I don’t believe either lawsuit should have happened but I am not someone that believes that a lawsuit for money will somehow repair my reputation. So, I cannot tell you how Evelyn could have handled the situtation.

      Clearly this is an emotional issue for you. You have said alot of stuff tieing a lot of issues together. I just want everyone to remember that Buck’s lawsuit does not come to the Aurora rate payer without a cost. We will end up paying for it in the long run – just as we will this new one.

      So, should we say we condemn Morris’ direction because she will cause undo expense to the taxpayer but at the same time endorse Buck’s lawsuit, which will also cause undo expense to the taxpayer? They are both supposedly suing for similar reasons – the protection of their name.

      To Evelyn. I know nothing more than you and you certainly more than I. My understanding of the Town insurance is the same as you detail.

  29. Stephanie said

    Another day; another lawsuit involving our illustrious mayor.

    http://ezralevant.com/2008/02/ive-been-threatened-with-anoth.html

    On his blog, Canadian lawyer Ezra Levant wrote:

    “I’m a defamation lawyer myself, and if I had to sum up Canadian law in four words, it would be this: get your facts straight. If your facts are correct, you have the right to your opinions on those facts –- even extreme or radical opinions.”

    He also notes that, when he was once threatened with a $5-million lawsuit:

    “One should always take a lawsuit seriously, but I can’t help chuckling at this one. It’s just so over-the-top, so legally baseless and so exaggerated it’s laughable. First: the largest defamation judgment ever given by a Canadian court was less than a third as big, $1.6 million . . .”

    ———————–

    http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/djclimenhaga/2010/09/case-against-john-kelly-canadas-unconstitutional-defamatory-libe

    Journalist David Climenhaga notes:

    “The Supreme Court of Canada has already gone part way down this road, creating in 2009 the new civil libel defence of ‘responsible communication in the public interest.’ While this new defence still holds journalists and others to high standards, it does recognize that minor errors made in good faith alone should not result in a defendant being held liable for defamation — as long as the story is in the public interest.”

    “Significantly, the Court also noted in 2009 that cases involving police officers accused of acting wrongly are clearly matters about which all citizens should be concerned and therefore can automatically be defined as being in the public interest.”

    “Obviously, Justice Brennan’s courageous logic extends to the outrageous idea of criminal prosecution of defamatory statements, especially those made against powerful people and groups in society.”

    “Indeed, this is especially true in the case of Defamatory Libel since the mere existence of this law combined with the aggression and prosecutorial powers of the police and courts will inevitably exercise a powerful chilling effect on the willingness of citizens to make legitimate criticisms of the authorities.”

    ————————————-

    The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada stated, at para. 31 of Grant v. Torstar Corp., 2009 SCC 61:

    “[A] defendant claiming fair comment must satisfy the following test: (a) the comment must be on a matter of public interest; (b) the comment must be based on fact; (c) the comment, though it can include inferences of fact, must be recognisable as comment; (d) the comment must satisfy the following objective test: could any person honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?; and (e) even though the comment satisfies the objective test the defence can be defeated if the plaintiff proves that the defendant was actuated by express malice. . . .”

    As Binnie J. put it, “[w]e live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones” . . .

    And at para. 42:

    Freedom of expression and respect for vigorous debate on matters of public interest have long been seen as fundamental to Canadian democracy.

    “[62] . . . People in public life are entitled to expect that the media and other reporters will act responsibly in protecting them from false accusations and innuendo. They are not, however, entitled to demand perfection and the inevitable silencing of critical comment that a standard of perfection would impose.

    At para. 65:

    ” . . . While the law must protect reputation, the level of protection currently accorded by the law — in effect a regime of strict liability — is not justifiable. The law of defamation currently accords no protection for statements on matters of public interest published to the world at large if they cannot, for whatever reason, be proven to be true. But such communications advance both free expression rationales mentioned above — democratic discourse and truth-finding — and therefore require some protection within the law of defamation. When proper weight is given to the constitutional value of free expression on matters of public interest, the balance tips in favour of broadening the defences available to those who communicate facts it is in the public’s interest to know.

    And at para. 97:

    “A review of recent defamation case law suggests that many actions now concern blog postings and other online media which are potentially both more ephemeral and more ubiquitous than traditional print media. While established journalistic standards provide a useful guide by which to evaluate the conduct of journalists and non-journalists alike, the applicable standards will necessarily evolve to keep pace with the norms of new communications media. For this reason, it is more accurate to refer to the new defence as responsible communication on matters of public interest.

    —————————–

    In WIC Radio Ltd. v. Simpson, 2008 SCC 40, the Justice Binnie stated:

    “[26] [T]he New Brunswick Court of Appeal correctly took the view that “comment” includes a “deduction, inference, conclusion, criticism, judgment, remark or observation which is generally incapable of proof”. Brown’s The Law of Defamation in Canada (2nd ed. (loose-leaf)) cites ample authority for the proposition that words that may appear to be statements of fact may, in pith and substance, be properly construed as comment. This is particularly so in an editorial context where loose, figurative or hyperbolic language is used . . . in the context of political debate, commentary, media campaigns and public discourse . . .

    “[28] For ease of reference, I repeat and endorse the formulation of the test for the fair comment defence set out by Dickson J., dissenting, in Cherneskey as follows:
    (a) the comment must be on a matter of public interest;
    (b) the comment must be based on fact;
    (c) the comment, though it can include inferences of fact, must be recognisable as comment;
    (d) the comment must satisfy the following objective test: could any [person] honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?
    e) even though the comment satisfies the objective test the defence can be defeated if the plaintiff proves that the defendant was [subjectively] actuated by express malice . . .”

    “I note, parenthetically, that [the authors] subsequently reformulated proposition (d) to say: ‘[C]ould any fair-minded man honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?’ . . . In my respectful view, the addition of a qualitative standard such as “fair minded” should be resisted. ‘Fair-mindedness’ often lies in the eye of the beholder. Political partisans are constantly astonished at the sheer ‘unfairness’ of criticisms made by their opponents. Trenchant criticism which otherwise meets the ‘honest belief’ criterion ought not to be actionable because, in the opinion of a court, it crosses some ill-defined line of ‘fair-mindedness’. The trier of fact is not required to assess whether the comment is a reasonable and proportional response to the stated or understood facts.

    “[30] . . . Plaintiffs must prove defamation to get their case on its feet. At that point, it is the media that seeks to excuse defamatory remarks on the basis that they are ‘comment’ on a ‘matter of public interest’. Ordinary principles of litigation put the burden of proof on the party making the assertion . . . In any event, the onus on these two issues is relatively easy to discharge. The public interest is a broad concept. The cases establish that the notion of ‘comment’ is generously interpreted. Putting the onus on the defendant in these respects is not too high a price to pay for a defamer to avoid legal liability for an allegation already found to have wronged the plaintiff’s reputation.
    ————————————–

    • Stephanie said

      I am just so outraged at the waste of my tax dollars on this crap that I wanted to add this:

      From the case of Montague (Township) v. Page, 2006 CanLII 2192 (Ont. S.C.J.):

      “[29] In a free and democratic system, every citizen must be guaranteed the right to freedom of expression about issues relating to government as an absolute privilege, without threat of a civil action for defamation being initiated against them by that government. It is the very essence of a democracy to engage many voices in the process, not just those who are positive and supportive. By its very nature, the democratic process is complex, cumbersome, difficult, messy and at times frustrating, but always worthwhile, with a broad based participation absolutely essential. A democracy cannot exist without freedom of expression, within the law, permeating all of its institutions. If governments were entitled to sue citizens who are critical, only those with the means to defend civil actions would be able to criticize government entities. As noted above, governments also have other means of protecting their reputations through the political process to respond to criticisms.”

      And at para. 16, referencing the House of Lords in Derbyshire County Council vs. Times Newspapers Ltd., [1993] A.C. 534:

      “It follows, therefore, that every citizen has a right to criticize an inefficient or corrupt government without fear of civil as well as criminal prosecution. This absolute privilege is founded on the principle that it is advantageous for the public interest that the citizen should not be in any way fettered in his statements, and where the public service or due administration of justice is involved he shall have the right to speak his mind freely.”

      At para. 18, quoting the Australian case of Council of the Shire of Ballina v Ringland (1994), 33 N.S.W.L.R. 680 (C.A.):

      “A local government authority may convene meetings. It may publish assertions which will often be privileged. It may respond to criticism by media releases of its own, which, in the heat of local controversy, will usually attract attention. It may set up a local enquiry. It may conduct public hearings and investigations. It may even pass ordinances dealing with matters, the subject of controversy which are within its powers. It is entirely misconceived for such a public organ of government to use public funds, levied from rate-payers, to sue a rate-payer for a publication of statements — `false and unfair though they may be` — by which the public body has been criticized or condemned. If this could be done, it would open the way to oppression of a most serious kind.”

      ———————————

    • Fight Oppression said

      Thanks very much for all your research, Stephanie. It is a truly ugly and reprehensible can of worms that has been opened in our town. A very sad state of affairs, indeed.

  30. Grace Marsh said

    Thank you Paul. Well said and I agree with every word.

  31. Fix Aurora said

    Has anyone asked the position of all the new candidates on this? I want to be sure anyone I vote for will stop this madness.

    • Something Fishy in Aurora..... said

      I did get a response from Darryl Moore on his perspective of the issue on his blog. I also agree that all of the candidates should be faced with questions regarding this issue.

      Enough is Enough….

    • Paul Pirri said

      In response,

      I find this lawsuit a clear demonstration of disrespect towards tax payers and their money. (I feel that) serving anyone over a holiday is especially vindictive and petty. If lucky enough to be elected, mine will be a vote toward dropping this lawsuit.

      Many thanks,
      Paul

    • Brian Duff said

      I too would vote to quash…it is just not right on so many levels.

      Brian Duff

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Well it looks like the bandwagon has started to roll through town. Stand back Phyllis, it’s going to run you down and you certainly won’t like the tune it’s playing.

    • Anonymous said

      You can make this call without having been privy to any of the in-camera discussions?

      Without having even seen the statement of claim and (I assume) soon-to-be-filed statement of defence?

      Without even knowing what the legal ramifications — and associated costs — might be if it is quashed?

      Sorry guys — I don’t intend on voting for more knee-jerk, pandering politicians.

      It’s those type of not-well-thought out decisions that lead to a lot of the current problems.

    • Hello Anonymous.

      I actually did give it quite a bit of thought, and even researched some case law.

      Please read:
      http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2006/2006canlii12970/2006canlii12970.html

      My thoughts are in the comment section of this blog entry, because I was not anticipating answering this question, but it was put to me by a commenter.

      http://www.darrylmoore.ca/2010/10/peaking.html#comments

      It really has nothing at all to do with taxes at all. “Rather, it lies in the nature of democracy itself. Governments are accountable to the people through the ballot box, and not to judges or juries in courts of law…. Litigation is a form of force, and the government must not silence its critics by force.”

      That is quoted from the Superior Court judge in the case I referenced above. That case is a precedent and as such this lawsuit by the town will have very little chance of success unless it is appealed to the Appeal Court which is three levels of court up.

      We know the town’s suit is for defamation on a website, which is exactly like the one I just referenced. I expect it is highly unlikely the the particulars of this case would change very much. But you’re right. It is just my opinion. My well thought out opinion.

  32. Matt Maddocks said

    Silent? Hell no!

    “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

    George Washington.

  33. David Heard said

    I will NOT be afraid.

    Statements made on this blog about myself being told who I can and cannot talk to are true.

    The matter about me physically man handled by a member of council is true.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      David,

      This is serious and should be reported to authorities if you have been physically manhandled.

      Fuimus

    • Anonymous said

      David, I had so hoped that you would have explained to us what happened. It has much more impact when the person actually targeted shares their story. If something like that ever happens to you again I hope that you will share it and if anyone ever lays their hands on you or tries to intimidate you, please file a police report. If there is no outcry or consequence then what might stop it from happening again, or to someone else?

      Luckywife

    • David Heard said

      What you folks do not know is the conversation I had with an individual on John West Way.

      It was in an office about 3 years ago.

      It was really weird to hear it then,but now it all makes sense.

      They said in effect that :Sometimes people sue other people because they know that person cannot defend themselves.

      I asked what they meant and they clarified as to a bigger corporation against a person without finances.

      If you wonder why I did not move forward with a complaint,well now you know why.

      That was three years ago and look at whats happening now.

      You think I can fight city hall as they say.

      At this point however I could care less about me.

      I have nothing to lose.

      I have already lost enough.

    • Anonymous said

      David, I understand your concerns. But, my understading is that what happened to you was far more significant than an exchange of nasty words. If you do not feel you can share your story out of fear of some reprisal, I certainly respect that. If you were physically assaulted then that is a matter for the police. Always. That has absolutely nothing to do with City Hall.

      Best regards,
      Luckywife

    • Anonymous said

      David,

      I feel that if you have been done-wrong, you should have the authorities look into it.

      However, by posting cryptic descriptions of “conversations” with “individuals” without specifics is not constructive in my opinion. This leaves an hole that is open to interpretation. For all we know, the conversation was with Bob McRoberts!

      Either tell the story or not, half-stories are not enough.

    • David Heard said

      I will not make a full statement on here for fear of a lawsuit.

      I will speak to the Police and see what can be done .

      I did call the CAO and speak to him about the incident at the Town Park on the eve June 30.

  34. Anonymous said

    Bravo Paul!!!!!

    Stop the madness

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