Norwegian Salmon Farming Giant Appeals Loss in Defamation Case Against Activist Don Staniford
Read this story from CBC.ca on the decision by Mainstream Canada – BC-based subsidiary of Norwegian Government-owned Cermaq – to appeal anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford’s recent victory over the defamation suit they brought against him at the BC Supreme Court. (Oct. 16, 2012)
The defamation case between a British Columbia salmon-farming company and an outspoken critic appears to be far from over.
Mainstream Canada said Monday that it would appeal a September decision by a B.C. Supreme Court justice to dismiss a defamation case against Don Staniford, but only hours later the British-born activist responded, saying he’d fight the appeal.
At issue is a 2011 Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture campaign that included images of cigarette-like packages and statements such as “Salmon Farming Kills Like Smoking.”
Justice Elaine Adair dismissed the case in September in favour of Staniford’s defence of fair comment, saying while his statements were defamatory and he was motivated by malice, the activist honestly believed in what he was saying and animosity wasn’t his dominant purpose.
“While it is disappointing that she ruled against us on a technical legal issue, we will pursue this vigorously in the court of appeal,” said David Wotherspoon, the company’s lawyer in a statement.
The company also said that Adair’s decision, if it stands, could compromise healthy debate on matters of public policy, and those debates should be based on fact, and critics should be accountable for their comments.
“Mainstream Canada and their parent company Cermaq have once again ignored the first rule of PR: when in a hole stop digging,” said Staniford, in response to Mainstream’s announcement Monday night.
“Cermaq’s knee-jerk reaction to appeal is yet another case of this multi-million dollar company shooting itself in the foot. Common sense is clearly not a currency this Norwegian-owned multinational is used to dealing in.”