Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Allan Riddell smokes bones

I guess I'm a little behind in my blog reading this week, for I just discovered that Mader is being threatened with a lawsuit by Allan Riddell, Conservative Party candidate for Ottawa-South in the 2004. The kicker is the post in question is nearly a year old. Mader, a supporter of the Conservative Party, merely noted allegations common at that time that Riddell was caught driving without a license - seems there was some business of fines and suspensions. This story has apparently turned out to be false, but Riddell's lawyers have demanded Mader revise his post, which he has, not knowing until recently that Riddell's name had been cleared. Mader:

Without in any way admitting any wrongdoing on my part, I assume that his legal advice is sound - although I would expect that no one at Soloway, Wright is particularly aware that they've threatened to sue an impecunious twenty-two year old law student living in Texas. But before allowing his lawyers to send letters threatening legal action, Riddell the politician should have at least made a basic inquiry into the identities of potential recipients. Although I (correctly) anticipated that Riddell would lose last year's election, it ought to have been clear to anyone who read the post in question that I would have preferred that he win. The most casual reader of my blog will know that I am generally sympathetic to, if not entirely supportive of, the Conservative Party of Canada. That being the case, a simple e-mail from Riddell or his political staff would have been sufficient to prompt me - without admitting any liability - to remove the allegation in question.

Instead, Riddell has conflated law and politics. That's a shame. As a private individual, Riddell of course has a perfect right to pursue his legal options to their fullest, and that includes a blanket request that all potentially defamatory statements be retracted. But as a politician, Riddell should think twice. Yes, threatening to sue every last blogger - and I can't imagine smaller fry than maderblog - will clear the legal deck in anticipation of an upcoming nomination battle. Now Riddell will be able to wave process in the face of anyone who so much as suggests past impropriety on his part.

But threatening legal action also says much about the character of a man who would be an M.P. It says that when an argument fails, a court-order will suffice; that if character cannot be demonstrated by words and persuasion, it will be enforced by decision and remedy.
So, am I now required to check all of my posts and verify that the details reported are up to date with current news stories and developments - even posts about insignificant candidates who lost in their ridings?

I thought people didn't even read blogs in the first place? Are bloggers 'unfairly' competing with party propaganda and the main stream media?

HT: 401 Blog