How Do You Spell SLAPP In Canadian?
from the just-asking dept
In the US, when large companies try to shut up whistleblowers with scary lawsuits for millions of dollars, we have SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) laws that are designed to protect those who are speaking up, and punish those who file frivolous lawsuits. It appears that Canada could use some of the same laws. Slashdot points us to the news about a woman who was chronicling problems with a local construction company that was working in her neighborhood. She put up a website to help it get some attention -- which it did. She received praise from various politicians for her work -- including from the Canadian Environment Ministry. Of course, the construction company in question wasn't particularly pleased and has dumped a $2 million lawsuit on her for libel, claiming that what's she's written has harmed their business. Of course, you could pretty easily argue that the company did more harm to their business in not following proper procedures and laws in their work. The woman in question is excited that she got sued, because she said the whole reason she put the page up in the first place was to try and get the attention of a judge to the problems the company has caused -- and now she will. Of course, without SLAPP laws, she's on the hook for legal help, unless she can find someone to take the case pro bono. Meanwhile, the construction firm in question is discovering the wonders of the Streisand Effect, where this random website that a small number of people had heard of is suddenly getting all sorts of attention. In other words, their very effort to shut this woman up, has just made her a lot louder than ever before (even if the actual website appears down as we post this).