SLAPP Suit – The Ugly Face of Censure in Quebec

Non à l’intimidation et la censure!By Andrea Archibald, staff reporter

MONTREAL (RPRN) 6/3/2009–Louise Auger, as reported by RushPRNews on May 21 2009, is currently being sued for defamation by the municipal pound Inspecteur Canin. Little attention is being paid to the case, but supporters of Auger and fellow animal-rights activists are yelling SLAPP.

A SLAPP, or a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, is designed by large companies or institutions to terminate public criticism from local citizens or organized groups. The objective of the plaintiff is not a win, per se, but to bankrupt the defendant into silence. The SLAPP, opponents say, is both an outright abuse of the legal system and a threat to civil liberties.Louise Augier - SLAPP Suit

Although several provincial governments have made attempts, at present there is no Canadian anti-SLAPP legislation. Bill 9 remains in front of the Quebec National Assembly.

In the meantime, Auger awaits her day in court. Arguments for a permanent injunction are scheduled to be heard on July 21st 2009.

Earlier, the court ruled against an injunction on the planned May 2nd 2009 demonstration, as well as an allegation of contempt of court. Auger continues to sit under a gag order, however.

Auger, an animal-rights activist for over 30 years, retired in 2007 due to health reasons. Suffering from fibromyalgia, characterized by chronic widespread pain and debilitating fatigue, she was also forced to retire from her volunteer work. However, she has been unable to walk away entirely. After pursuing a letter writing campaign against Inspecteur Canin, she was hit by the defamation lawsuit.

Unable to pay the legal fees unaided, Auger plans several fundraising events for the summer months.inspecteur canin insigne

photo credit: Top-left, le Gros Bon Sens Middle-right, Louise Augier , May 2, 2009 – Inspecteur Canin insigne, RushPRnews copyright

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