Native affairs minister faces libel suit

Posted: April 23, 2008 in Headlines, Liberals, Michael Bryant
The Hamilton Spectator
April 23, 2008

Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant has been served with a notice of intent to sue for libel by a controversial critic of the government’s handling of the Caledonia land dispute and the OPP.

Mark Vandermaas, of London, Ont., editor of the Voice of Canada website and a founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality, served the notice on Bryant shortly before a Haldimand County council meeting yesterday.

The notice advises Bryant that Vandermaas intends to sue him for libel for comments the minister made to The Canadian Press regarding the value of a complaint Vandermaas has made to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Vandermaas made the complaint against OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino, and several other police officers after he was arrested in December 2006 while trying to hang a Canadian flag near the occupied site of a former housing development in Caledonia.

The notice demands a wide public apology and “substantial compensation.” Vandermaas has yet to file a statement of claim.

Greg Crone, a spokesperson for Bryant, said the notice would be turned over to the attorney general’s office and the minister would have no further comment.

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