Steve Jalsevac

Blogs

First publication of documents on Gravel lawsuit against LifeSiteNews is important development

Thu Jan 9, 2014 - 6:45 pm EST

On Dec. 31, we brought LifeSiteNews readers up-to-date on the long running and still on-going lawsuit action against the Canadian branch of LifeSiteNews (LifeSiteNews, US is a separately incorporated organization, but this action has affected the entire organization).

The Dec. 31 report was significant in that it included for the first time on LifeSiteNews the full text of the initial Fr. Gravel legal action in both French and English. The original legal action was written in French only and  was received at our Toronto mailing address (we do not actually work out of that address) during our staff Christmas break three years ago. We had to wait until it was translated in order to understand what the lawsuit claims were.

More importantly, we have now also published the full text of the LifeSiteNews written defense, again in both languages (the original was in French), in response to the lawsuit documents.

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Both versions of each document have been published with links to all the cited documents. That is a lot of material. The translating, adding in all of the links and uploading of both documents and the large number of supporting documents has been a huge effort on our part.

Now our readers can see for themselves what has been very difficult to describe in all previous articles about the case and which for a long time we were prevented from revealing because of the legal restrictions involved at the time.

There is no doubt in our mind that many will be amazed by what is revealed in the defense document and wonder, as we also wonder, how it can be possible that we are still having to continue this extremely costly and stressful defense effort against a lawsuit which we have repeatedly told the court has no merit whatsoever.

There is much more to tell about the several preliminary hearings, one which lasted almost three days, and a few very disappointing rulings by Quebec judges as a result of those hearings.

It has been a strange experience to have to totally rely upon a team of French-speaking lawyers and expert witnesses and repeatedly feel helpless in courtrooms in Fr. Gravel's Quebec home town where French is the only language and where Fr. Gravel is known as a local media, political and religious star.

Still, we have more than held our own, thanks to a wonderful, totally committed and exceptionally competent defense team.

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I cannot stress enough how much we would appreciate if our readers would take some time to at least read the LifeSiteNews defense document (Please note that Campaigne Quebec Vie and its past president Luc Gagnon are no longer part of the case). I can assure you it is not a dry (except in a few places) legal paper. It has taken hundreds of hours of effort to put together and tells a fascinating, well-crafted story, we believe, about the many diverse and disturbing issues surrounding this very unusual case.

I suspect too many people, including media, have been wrongly thinking that this case is mostly about religion and Catholics fighting each other over two opposing views of aspects of the Catholic faith.

In reality, it is instead a case about crucial issues that should be of serious concern to all Quebecois and Canadians in the rest of the nation. It could also, if the courts rule in Fr. Gravel’s favor, have international implications, setting a trend that others might imitate. This often happens with Canadian developments on the life and family issues.

That is, this case has represented an on-going threat to the precious freedom of the press and freedom of expression that are essential underpinnings for any free nation and democracy. Those are by far the most important issues in this case as far as we are concerned and which our legal team has repeatedly emphasized to the court.

This case should be of serious concern to anyone, no matter what side of the fence they are on regarding abortion, homosexuality and the other issues reported in our stories related to Fr. Gravel. Should Fr. Gravel win against LifeSiteNews, we believe it would represent a significant loss for all Canadians.

That is why we have continued to fight the case so strongly and have decided we have no choice but to continue to endure the crushing costs and personal stress involved. This is about far more than LifeSiteNews and our own particular rights.

There is too much at stake for LifeSiteNews to cave in to this on-going, very aggressive SLAPP suit bullying. LifeSiteNews always gives highest priority to principles and defending itself from anyone or anything that would threaten our unique, critically needed news reporting mission.

Too few people are aware of the existence and particulars of this lawsuit. This should hopefully create greater awareness of what is still at stake regarding this situation. We also include the Fr. Gravel's original complaint (lawsuit) document so that you may understand precisely what his complaints have been.

Essential documents: (Note: Ignore all reference to Campaigne Quebec Vie and Luc Gagnon since they are no longer part of the case)

LifeSiteNews Defense translated into English (with navigation links and links to all supporting documents)

LifeSiteNews_Défense_en_FRANÇAIS avec des liens vers tous les documents à l'appui.

Original Gravel Legal Complaint (Lawsuit) against LifeSiteNews and Campagne Quebec Vie (en francais)

See the English translation of the Gravel lawsuit with links to all supporting documents.


  fr. raymond gravel, freedom of expression, freedom of the press