Everybody is suing everybody: A guide to whom is threatening whom with legal action in Toronto’s political scene

By September 25, 2014Media
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford walks in late as the other GTA mayors and municipal affairs ministers address the media about the recent ice storm in Mississauga, Ont., last January. Ford was the target of a lawsuit from the Toronto Star. Meanwhile, Susan Fennell, in the crowd to the right, is currently suing Star for its reporting on her expenses.

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Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale vs. Toronto mayor Rob Ford
On May 2, 2012, an angry Toronto Mayor Rob Ford confronted Daniel Dale near the backyard of his Etobicoke home, causing the journalist to drop his equipment and flee in terror. In a later interview with Conrad Black, the mayor would claim we was merely protecting his home from a suspected pedophile. Mr. Dale, fearing that he had inalterably been branded a pervert, demanded not one—but two—apologies from Mr. Ford under threat of a defamation lawsuit. “There was no basis for me to say that Mr. Dale was ever in my backyard or on my property and I should not have said that,” said Mayor Ford in the exhaustive two-page apology that Mr. Dale finally accepted.

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne vs. Opposition leader Tim Hudak
Ontario MPPs can’t sue each other over statements made within the Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately for Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, he wasn’t within the Legislative Assembly when he alleged that Premier Wynne had “possibly ordered the criminal destruction of documents” related to the 2012 gas plants scandal. On the eve of the general election, the Premier threatened to sue her political rival for $2 million, unless he publicly admitted that the statement was “false and utterly unsupported.” Instead, the opposition accused the premier of employing “libel chill,” and filed a defense last May.

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Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair vs. Toronto City Councilor Doug Ford
Doug Ford has made no secret of his theory that the Toronto Police’s investigation of his brother was the result of a personal vendetta by the city’s top cop. “Doug Ford is lying and I am prepared to take legal action,” Chief Blair was reported as saying last month. As with the Ford-Dale suit, Chief Blair rejected Coun. Ford’s first apology, “if he feels I impugned his reputation, I apologize.” It took a written apology—and a $1000 donation to a homeless youth shelter where Chief Blair is a board member—before the chief agreed to drop the suit.

Olivia Chow campaigner vs. John Tory campaigner
Toronto columnist Warren Kinsella’s brief volunteer gig with the Olivia Chow campaign came to an end after he accused John Tory’s mayoral campaign of being “segregationist” for failing to effectively build rail transit into Toronto’s ethnic neighbourhoods. After Tory advisor Nick Kouvalis took to Twitter to say that the Chow campaign “made a very smart move dumping Kinsella et al today” Mr. Kinsella had his lawyers send a Notice of Libel. As the document states, Mr. Kinsella took umbrage to the notion that “he was making a negative contribution to the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign,” or that “the Olivia Chow mayoral campaign is better off without Mr. Kinsella.”

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