Don't Speak Your Mind In British Columbia -- Even At Home

from the travesty-of-justice dept

Just a warning if you live in British Columbia: you might not want to express your opinion out loud, ever. Even if you're at home. Jon R writes in with a somewhat horrifying story of a man in British Columbia who has been found guilty of defamation for a private conversation he was goaded into, at home, which was secretly recorded. Defamation laws (for libel and slander) were designed to stop the public presentment of false information, traditionally through some sort of media property. It certainly was never intended to be used for the random comments made privately at home.

In this case, a developer was annoyed that residents in one of the developments where he owned the water and sewage rights were complaining about the way he operated. So, he hired a private detective to pretend to be a potential homebuyer in the neighborhood. The detective knocked on the door of Jack and Judy Aasen and asked about the neighborhood. They, being friendly people, invited him in and had a nice discussion with him, pointing out that they liked the neighborhood very much, and the "only problem" was dealing with the guy who owned the utility, Brad Chapman, who was about to tear up their yard and cut back on their sewage service. The Aasens were upset that they had no choice to switch to another provider and that they had no say in stopping their lawn from being torn up. Jack jokingly referred to Chapman as "a prick" and said he "kind of makes the suggestion that he's got the mayor in his pocket." During this conversation with a guy they thought was just a friendly potential new neighbor, the detective was actually recording the whole thing.

Aasen and three others got charged with defamation for this, and the amazing thing is that the court agreed -- specifically on the comment about the mayor being in his pocket. Even that seems pretty questionable, though, since Aasen never said the mayor was actually in the guy's pocket, only that Chapman himself "kind of makes the suggestion" of that. To then charge the guy with defamation for that statement seems like a huge stretch. But, much more troublesome is this idea that you could go into someone's home, misrepresenting yourself, secretly record the conversation while coaxing the people you're talking to to say something negative about someone else... and get them found guilty of defamation for it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 6:15pm

    Sewer guy

    Wow, that sewer guy has some issues.
    He really needs to seek professional help, before he hurts someone.

     

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  2.  
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    ScruffyDan, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 6:17pm

    I better keep quiet.

    I'd say something, but I live in BC, so I'll just be a good citizen and keep my mouth shut

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 6:23pm

    Wow

    Speechless. Ironically.

     

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    Mechwarrior, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 6:32pm

    Wait...

    Wouldnt this be considered entrapment? Or does BC, or Canada, have laws against this sort of thing? Or is that just a USA statute?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Wait...

    wouldn't entrapment only apply if it was a cop, not a PI?

     

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  6.  
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    JackBGood, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:04pm

    The Nice Utility Man

    Everything is GREAT!!!, said the prisoner.

     

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  7.  
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    slimcat (profile), Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:28pm

    Let me help you neighbor.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    I'd kick Mr Chapmans ass, & since BC has minimal prison sentences, I'd probably be out in a month on a social program for misunderstood inmates... former BC resident here..

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:39pm

    What a nice place to live

    Now alot more people are aware of the situation, you think anyone would consider buying ?

     

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  10.  
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    bob, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 7:57pm

    No SLAPP

    Only on Canada eh?
    Entrapment is predominantly a criminal thing.
    This was a civil matter.
    Having read the CBC news article it looks like the B.C. Court of Appeal has some explaining to do. I hope the B.C. Civil Liberties Association helps make this right at the next court level.

    Interesting to note that Anti SLAPP legislation was repealed by the Liberal BC gov.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 8:48pm

    It's amazingly ironic that this guy is now known as being a prick worldwide, rather than simply in that town/area.

    Bravo, sir.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 8:56pm

    This is why we need Thought Police - so much more reliable.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 9:53pm

    Incredible that a person can't say what they want in their own home. I didn't think we were suppose to be a Communist country. Maybe I am wrong. This should really help the developer in his future dealings shouldn't it. Just the type of person everyone wants to deal with.

     

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  14.  
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    American Idiot, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 10:19pm

    I am glad that I live in America where (for now) such a issue would not be considered libel - it would be taken at face value: a friendly conversation about the neighborhood and the "prick" in charge of the sewage.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 10:47pm

    That developer sounds like a prick.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 11:15pm

    Chapman must have a similar recording of things the mayor said. That's how you really get the mayor in your pocket.

     

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  17.  
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    Pjerky, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 11:19pm

    I will say it loud and proud...

    The actions of one Brad Chapman, as mentioned in the above article show that he is undoubtedly and unequivocally a grade A Asshole and a PRICK. You see how easy that is? I hope everyone in Mr. Brad (Prick) Chapman's area drives by his home at all hours of the night honking and waving lit signs calling him a prick. It would be hilarious, ironic, embarrassing for him, and there would be way to many people for him to sue. It would be a losing battle.

    Course, I am an American and I can get away with saying whatever I want about others as long as I pass it off as opinion and not fact. Canada doesn't look so Utopian now does it you damn hippies?

     

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  18.  
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    Joe Rider, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 11:25pm

    He wasn't found libel for the "prick" part

    An absolute defense against any claim of libel is the truth -- meaning that if you can prove that what you are saying is true, then it clearly isn't libel.

    It's funny that the case in and of itself acts to prove that Brad Chapman is indeed a prick -- the only thing he was really found guilty of was the mayor comment.

     

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  19.  
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    some guy, Dec 5th, 2008 @ 11:38pm

    Here's the email address for Brad Chapman's company in Vernon, BC. info@lbchapman.com

     

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  20.  
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    Paul, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 12:10am

    Are you not allowed an opinion in Canada?

    I think all Canadians say "Aye" just to piss me off personally, and you can tell them I said that-in America!

     

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  21.  
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    mike allen, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 12:33am

    not only

    brad Chapman is a prick so is the judge,mayor, and probably 1/2 the Canadian government.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 1:29am

    And slowly, yet surely, Orwellian actions will make it so that I will have to move out into the desolate wastelands of the Arctic just so I can be as free as I was promised to be when my family fought in The Great War, World War II & Korea.

    Thanks Canada... Thanks.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 4:39am

    One might suggest that it was the judge and not the mayor that was in the pricks pocket.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 5:21am

    Re:

    Looking at the ruling, I'd say he actually had the JUDGE in his pocket.

     

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  25.  
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    Ben, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Re: Sewer guy

    He ALREADY hurt that family. The family that was taken to court, lost time from work, was found guilty of a crime, and was probably fined, or has the threat of monetary damages over their heads, was harmed. This guy needs to be punished, preferably by the courts, but failing that, by the people of the property he owns. This needs to be shouted from the hilltops, before all the voices in British Columbia are stilled.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 6:12am

    Is this good for business?

    Sending a PI out to get people, who are your customers, to say bad things about you in private and then sueing those people.

    It doesn't strike me as a business model you want associated with your business. Who would want to do business with you in the long run? It certainly eliminates the possibility of new business and limits the possibility of keeping your old business in the long run.

     

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  27.  
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    Overcast, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    That's easy to fix. Next time someone comes to the door asking questions, tell them to leave or your calling the cops.

    But as a bonus in all of this, we all now know this developer sucks. BIG time. Just the idea he'd hire a PI to go after a customer would make me certainly stay the fook away, far away.

     

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  28.  
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    SomeLawyer, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    Re: Wait...

    This isn't entrapment in the US, entrapment is when a police officer creates the opportunity for the defendant to commit a crime. Actually, despite the view of the author, the story sure sounds like defamation to me - even under US law - assuming the comments were not true.

    No damages of course, but it's defamation

     

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  29.  
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    SomeLawyer, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Sewer guy

    Come on, its a civil suit, not criminal, they haven't lost yet. While I agree it's a silly suit, the defendant did imply that the plaintiff was engaged in corruption with a politician. It might be fair comment, it might be true, but it also might be defamation.

     

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  30.  
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    SomeLawyer, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Re: I will say it loud and proud...

    It wasn't the prick comment that is the subject of the lawsuit, it is implying that he bribed the mayor.

    Saying someone committed a crime is defamatory...even in the US. Calling him a prick is not. THAT is opinion.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Sewer guy

    If I'm talking in my own house, i can save whatever the hell I please. I'm not publicly broadcasting it.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Wait...

    I'm failing to see why people are missing the "public" part of defamation. Do you know how to read? Or do they not bother with that in law school?

     

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  33.  
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    Jesse, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 8:47am

    It was on appeal too, the original court ruling sided with the defendant's. I am a BC resident, and this is truly sick. The worst part is, our last government put in anti-SLAPP legislation, but it was later repealed by our current government.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 8:48am

    I heard that that this chap aforementioned enjoys the company of the major of said town/village/region. However this is just between you and me, Anonymous Coward.

     

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  35.  
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    amnotalawyer, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    It's interesting.

    opinion vs fact
    private vs public

    Some one can not express their opinion in private ? That's BS

     

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  36.  
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    Tom, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 9:13am

    So many levels of BS in BC

    Wow, how may ways to look at this thing. I read the link to the more compleat story and I must say first, that I am still not certain if this case is civil or creminal. As for the artical above, my understanding, of US law is that 'Liable' is the private spreading of "False" information about the actions of someone. Slander would, as emplied, be publicly (signs, broadcast, etc) distribution of again "False" infromation. My understanding is that this case was for 'defimation'. The is also the right to privacy in ones affairs. To me, there is no place where Privacy would be given more waight than in the privacy of ones own home.

    All the explaination of the where ases and where fores, come back to one fact as I see it. There seems to have been a court ruleing on evedence and testimony by Anonamouse Sources. In the more compleat story it was said that there were only testimony in the form of a transcript of the tape conversations. This dose not afford the accused to face and examin the testimony of his accuser.

    For me in the end there seems a great miscarrage of justice but I am still not sure of how this case has reached its level of discourse with so little to go on.

     

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  37.  
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    Danny (profile), Dec 6th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    QED

    The sewer guy hired an investigator to go into people's homes and induced them to talk about the sewer guy?

    I think he demonstrated himself to be a prick. QED.

     

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  38.  
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    Rosetta Stoned, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Allegedly Ahem Eh Allegedly Ahem Eh

    Mister Chapman is an alleged prick who is allegedly shtuping the mayor in the ass in exchange for financial favors and political concessions. Mister Chapman also allegedly couldn't tell the difference between a sewer pipe and a crack pipe, even if it bit him in the ass. Go ahead and sue me, mo-fo.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Re:

    What does Communism have to do with this?

     

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  40.  
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    kevin hash, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 11:37am

    2 pricks

    Not only is the developer a massive tool, evidently the judge is, too.
    I'm glad I don't have to deal with either of them.

     

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  41.  
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    ahhh, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 11:40am

    email sent to brad... he is a dick, let him know that.

     

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  42.  
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    Arky, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Wait... isn't it illegal to record someone without a warrant?

     

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  43.  
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    Errrrr, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: So many levels of BS in BC

    Tom,

    I can not tell if your post is satire.
    If it is satire, then its funny.
    If not ... well I do not know where to begin.

     

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  44.  
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    spoondaDDY, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re:

    GET A LIFE u r always here

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 5:10pm

    Re: not only

    I take great offense to your comment. As a Canadian and British Columbian I know first hand that it is a full 90 percent of the Canadian government (at all levels) that are pricks.

     

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  46.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 6th, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Link

    Was there a problem with the original link in the post that made you post it again in the comments? It seems to be working for me...

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    "C" is for...

    Socialist healthcare, and now court backed entrapment/eavesdropping.

    C is for Canada
    C is for Communist

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 6:28pm

    And More...

    [Querying whois.internic.net]
    [Redirected to whois.netfirms.com]
    [Querying whois.netfirms.com]
    [whois.netfirms.com]
    Registrant:
    LB Chapman Construction Ltd.
    Browning, Gillian
    Box 1316
    Vernon, BC V1T6N6
    CA

    Domain name: lbchapman.com

    Administrative Contact:
    LB Chapman Construction Ltd. lbchapman@telus.net
    Browning, Gillian
    Box 1316
    Vernon, BC V1T6N6
    CA
    250-549-2907 Fax:

    Technical Contact:
    support@netfirms.com
    Manager, Domains
    5160 Yonge St., 1800
    Toronto, ON M2N 6L9
    CA
    +1.4166612100 Fax: +14166610700

    Registrar of Record: Netfirms Inc.
    Record expires on 2009-01-24.
    Record created on 2008-01-24.
    Database last updated on 2008-12-06 20:49:34.

     

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  49.  
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    fatcat, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 8:04pm

    Re:

    damn strait, that guy needs a good old fashion ass kick'n.

     

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  50.  
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    Dawger, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 11:20pm

    Once Again

    Streisand Effect.....

    Why do they not learn?
    But then another idiot is born every 7 seconds.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 2:08am

    B is for bullshit

    Come on, this is cbc, msn, and a handful of blogs that reference these articles ... take a closer look; can anyone find a reference number or any indication that Mr Aasen is real? Retired judge Jack and his wife Judy. It seems like the only point is to make Canada look like an unstable country on the brink of shambles, and any idiot outside of the united states can see otherwise. I'll be the first one to say hey something's wrong, but only as soon as I see that this really happened and a news article about Canada from a biased news source is not what I call objective. After all, how many articles were out there about Obama's middle name, or Obama the Muslim Terrorist, etc. It's all bullshit unless you've researched it yourself and posted the info for anyone else with half a brain to take 5 minutes and verify.

     

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  52.  
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    Ranzear, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 2:36am

    Streisand effect coming to full power on this prick.

     

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  53.  
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    Tom, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: So many levels of BS in BC

    Once again I'm not sure if this is defimation or ridicule, in any case knock your self out.

     

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  54.  
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    Lee Riggenbach, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 6:11am

    Free Speech

    This sure makes me appreciate "Freedom of Speech" here in the USA.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Wait...

    Bravo!!!

     

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  56.  
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    Billy Bob, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 7:11am

    Re: E-Mail

    I sent him an e-mail stating that I think that he's a PRICK! I hope everyone does the same! His mailbox will be overflowing and the prick can decide which of them is business related or which of them is factual.

    If someone acts like a PRICK, does that create a fact that he is a PRICK?

     

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  57.  
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    Billy Bob, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 7:21am

    Re: B is for bullshit

     

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  58.  
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    A is for Anon, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 8:53am

    Re: B is for bullshit

    You are comparing a small town sewer guy to a presidentiual candidate and implying that they would get equal coverage in the mainstream media. Then you claim that lack of said coverage means the story is a stretch or is outright bogus. This does not make sense, and the "make Canada look like an unstable country " seems out of context.

    As far as troll rants go, I'll give you a C-.
    You need to give your rant a bit more thought.

     

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  59.  
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    Omali, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: B is for bullshit

    Yes, because any news story relating to anything bad in Canada is attempting to show that the country is in shambles. Apparently, being an idiot outside of the US hasn't helped you see this at all.

    And if you're looking for a non-bias news source, good luck. Just keep sticking your head in the sand and disregarding all the bad words as fake. You're going to get real far in your unstable country falling into shambles (lulz)

     

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  60.  
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    p cost, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 9:03am

    dont speak your mind

    its the same everywhere!!! goverment can break any law that pleases them, then they pass laws to screw anyone who speaks out against them!the only way to win is keep speaking out and voting them out!

     

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  61.  
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    RoadRaaash, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    Freedom Isn't Free

    God bless the USA

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 1:51pm

    We actually have a concept called "freedom of speech" down here in the US, and a court case called New York Times v. Sullivan protects everyone from slander or libel charges, unless the person claiming to be slandered can prove actual, deliberate malice as well as falsehood, a very high standard of proof to meet.

    I don't understand why B.C. feels the right not to be offended takes precedence over the right to speak your mind. What are they smoking up there?

    Well, I guess it's because they're Canucks. Instead of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they have "peace, order, and good government." Reminds me why I live in the US (though a dash of Canadian socialized medicine would be a good thing around here, instead of paying $1000 a month at the pharmacy.)

     

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  63.  
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    Starry, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 3:16pm

    Zimbabwe

    Canada has sliding down the slippery slope to "Alice in Wonderland" for years...it has arrived.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Another case of trying to squash public speech and having it instead aired over the internet for anyone to hear / read. You have to wonder if this guy Chapman really got what he wanted. Anyway I guess I won't be moving to BC.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Be cause in China and the former soviet union you would end up in gulag for speaking ill of the establishment... even in your home. No speaking ill of anyone anywhere... never know who is KGB.

    In Mother Russia, KGB own you!!!

     

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  66.  
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    mike42 (profile), Dec 7th, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's not communism per se, merely the totalitarian way that communist countries tend to be governed.

     

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  67.  
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    kilroy, Dec 7th, 2008 @ 8:19pm

    Re: not only

    it is Canada ... it is winter ... there may be plenty of pricks but they are all pretty small - the cold will do that to a prick!

     

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  68.  
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    Fsm, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 2:28am

    Re: Freedom Isn't Free

    It costs $1.05

     

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  69.  
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    SunKing, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 6:42am

    Free Speech One Each!

    Brad Chapman is a PRICK !

     

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  70.  
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    Raymond, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 7:26am

    Actually, he defamed himself

    "it is implying that he bribed the mayor." No, it's implying that he claimed to have bribed the mayor. In other words, the man defamed himself.

     

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  71.  
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    nasch, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: I will say it loud and proud...

    You're saying in the US if I say "that guy sort of implied he has the mayor in his pocket" in the privacy of my own home, I'm guilty of defamation? I really, really, really hope you're wrong if that's what you're saying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    known coward, Dec 8th, 2008 @ 12:38pm

    is that a mayor in your pocket

    . . . or are you just happy to see me?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sewer guy

    Ok, you want a public broadcast? Here goes:

    Chapman is "a prick" and has got the mayor in his pocket.

    This guy needs to be dumped into his own overflowing sewer pronto!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re:

    And a straight-jacket too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Get a Dictionary!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Klyde Beattie, Dec 11th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Re: Wait...

    I don't think it's entrapment if it's a private citizen who does the 'entrapping'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    logicprobe, Dec 12th, 2008 @ 10:58pm

    illegal recording?

    In most states in the U.S. it is illegal to record a private conversation without the consent of all parties, and one is assumed to have privacy in one's own home.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    Haha i agree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    Hahahahaha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  

    Tyra Banks

    Tyra Banks is so beautiful
    I could write a 1000000 page book on how good tyra banks looks
    if you ever read this tyra add me on myspace and have me on your show
    dariuswesley61@yahoo.com
    dariuswesley20@yahoo.com
    and oh ya ofcourse I am going too speak my mind
    Tryra Banks is my favorate model

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Government Investigator, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

    Re: I will say it loud and proud...

    Mr. Chapman lives off the beaten path and it would be very difficult to "Drive Past His house" unless you have a boat. To find Brad Chapman's house you have to go out to the end of tronson Rd...the VERY end and then head eith up Goldclaim Road or down to the lake. To get to his Goldclaim Road house just keep going past the big green gates.

    I suggest you take a bucket of shit with you to leave him as a present....and yes, he is a globally know piece of shit...I should know, I work for the cunt!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Due Dilligence by John Vanderleese, Jul 18th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Leanard Brad Chapman

    Word is slowly getting around that LB is not a good company to hire. I am a recently upgraded supervisor with LB and I can tell you this much, as an employee I have to toe the line but as a Christian I have to be honest with my convictions. We have been kicked out of nearly every long term contract we have gained recently. Sparkling hills fired us for over charging, Predator doesn't want us back because they know Chapman does not stand behind their work.

    I'm here for the money and nothing else.

    JV.
    Vernon BC
    Supervisor
    Chapman Contracting a.k.a Braden Contracting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re: Freedom Isn't Free

    get a brain Fsm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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