When Tories turn on Tories in Doug Ford's Ontario, bring in the lawyers! - 2019-06-19
The job description of politicians is to lambaste — but not libel — their opponents. Protected by parliamentary privilege, they often get away with character assassination and defamation on the floor of the legislature — unless ruled out of order by the Speaker.
But once they step away from the chamber, they are no longer above the laws of libel. Which is why lawsuits between rival politicians — prime ministers, premiers, and opposition leaders — are the new normal. There's a new abnormal, however: Ontario politicians of the same partisan stripe lashing out with libel claims against their erstwhile comrades. Now, the spectacle of Tories turning on Tories in two separate high-profile libel cases has turned our politics upside down:
Two former Progressive Conservative chiefs — interim leader Vic Fedeli and previous leader Patrick Brown — are poised for a courtroom showdown that has already laid bare their mutual sense of betrayal. In a separate case, Premier Doug Ford's chief of staff, Dean French, filed a defamation action against MPP Randy Hillier, a former PC leadership candidate, shortly after Hillier was expelled from their party's caucus earlier this year. The internecine PC warfare is a strange twist on the conventional legal skirmishes that typically pit Liberals against Tories.