From the “overzealous staffer” files: Really, Green Party, this isn’t a contest you want to win …

Most vexatiously litigious political party, that is. Especially when, in this case, it seems your newly-minted communications guru didn’t check his facts before sending out a baldly – and badly – worded legal threat against a blogger with the temerity to post a video clip that you don’t actually own.

A blog called Buckdog posted a video of Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada’s Green Party (and our guest tonight), where she appears to call Canadians stupid.

After seeing the blog post, the Green Party got in touch with the blogger (he goes by Leftdog and lives in Regina). Shortly after, Leftdog posted this:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
‘Canadians Are Stupid!” – Elizabeth May


As a result of threats of legal action by the Green Party of Canada against this blogsite, I have removed the video pending legal advice from my solicitor.

As a citizen journalist, I reported on the video which is located on youtube:

I apologize to my readers that as a result of these threats of legal action by the Green Party, the video has been removed.

Leftdog then published his email exchange with a representative from the Green Party. It included this:

From: John Bennett
To: [email protected]
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 13:11:13 -0600

You are knowingly asisting in slander get it down or you face legal action us & TVO.

Journalism is more than repeating. You have a responsibility to verify the facts.

Get get it down now.

Well, leftdog isn’t the only one who should be verifying the facts. TVO has no intention of taking any legal action against the blog.


This has been a terrible effort by the Greens. What they had was a negative clip posted on a blog. What they have now is a news story about their leader’s comments, with hundreds of people clicking links to listen to a clip where their leader says either “I think Canadians are stupid,” or the not-much-better version “they think Canadians are stupid, and I fundamentally agree with that assessment.”

In an interview with the Tyee, the Green Party said the clip was edited – essentially a lie where different clauses were assembled to create the controversial statement.

“It’s an attempt by the Conservatives through a front website to attack the credibility of Elizabeth May,” Green spokesperson John Bennett told The Tyee. “They took what she said, cut it up, then put it back together.”

The clip was not doctored, or edited. If this was merely an error in syntax, what we have is a gaffe of the purest nature where Elizabeth May expressed herself poorly. It happens.

As far as I know, May has yet to make any public statement on Bennett’s ham-handed attempted squelching, despite the fact that only yesterday, she openly marveling at the speed by which online outrage can be organized and aimed at a collective target. Did she not realize that going after a blogger would almost certainly put her in the crosshairs of the same people who fought for her right to speak during the upcoming debates?

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