Canadian postal union defamation suit against B'nai Brith to go ahead

Ontario Court of Appeal rules that Canadian postal union can sue B'nai Brith for claims about its relationship with Palestinian union.

Dan Verbin ,

Ontario parliament
Ontario parliament
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The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has been given the green light by an Ontario court to bring forward a defamation suit against B’nai Brith Canada, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“CUPW is a public sector union. From time to time it takes positions on political and human rights issues,” wrote an Ontario Court of Appeal three judge panel.

B’nai Brith Canada had asked that the lawsuit be thrown out. The court ruled that instead B’nai Brith must pay $15,000 in legal costs.

A trial will be forthcoming.

The postal union’s defamation allegation stems from a 2018 press release by B’nai Brith alleging that CUPW had “aligned itself with the path of violence and extremism” in cooperating in joint projects with the Palestinian Service Workers Union, whom it accused of Facebook posts extolling terrorism, reported the Canadian Jewish News.

Two days later, B’nai Brith came out with a second press release claiming that CUPW’s “radical leadership has refused to respond to our questions on why it would partner with a terror-supporting organization.” They also questioned how CUPW “can legally compel its Jewish and Israeli members to pay fees which may be used to support a foreign organization that wants to see them murdered.”

They also wrote, “We will continue to hold institutions accountable for their links to terrorism and anti-Semitism.”

CUPW launched a libel suit against B’nai Brith for alleging that it support terrorism and is anti-Semitic.

B’nai Brith had attempted to have the case quashed under Ontario’s “anti-SLAPP” legislation that prevent frivolous lawsuits that go after free speech and legitimate criticism of matters of public interest.

In 2020, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that the case against B’nai Brith could go ahead, stating that CUPW had a “solid case.”

“Not only would it be difficult to prove that CUPW literally supports terrorism, violence or anti-Semitism, the evidence also suggests it will be difficult to show that [the Palestinian union] officially supports terrorism,” the lower said.

It further stated that B’nai Brith had “acted on assumptions without exercising due diligence” using only “a cursory internet search and review of Facebook pages,” and had overlooked “CUPW’s own policies and declarations against violence and racism.”

B’nai Brith appealed the verdict, claiming the judge had made several errors.

Union lawsuits for defamation are uncommon in Canada, reported the Western Standard.

B’nai Brith said that it was considering whether to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeals decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, according to media reports.



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