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Salmon Activist Wins Defamation Case

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Don Staniford (l) plans to keep on campaigning - photo from salmonaresacred.org Don Staniford (l) plans to keep on campaigning - photo from salmonaresacred.org

A Canadian Supreme Court has upheld the right of anti-salmon farm activist Don Staniford to make defamatory remarks when speaking out in protest against Norwegian-owned salmon farms operating in Canada whose products he claims are dangerous to public health.



Back in January we reported a news story about Don Staniford as he was due to go to court - http://www.fishandfly.com/news/3110-nasf-norway-supports-salmon-activist.html 

This current victory story has now been reported on widely in the Canadian (see excerpts below) and international conservation press and followed closely by the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) who through their USA and Norwegian arms helped to fund Staniford's legal defence.

The Vancouver Sun:

"In an emailed statement of response Friday, Staniford maintained his attack on the industry at full volume: "This judgment is a victory for free speech....The Norwegian Government's malicious attempt to abuse the Canadian courts to muzzle fair and honest criticism of Norwegian-owned salmon farming has back-fired spectacularly. Cermaq should now go back to Norway taking their disease-ridden salmon feedlots with them."  The judgment described Mainstream as the second largest producer of farmed salmon in B.C. and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cermaq, a Norwegian company and a world leader in salmon production owned 43.5 per cent by the Norwegian government."

The Ottawa Citizen:

"Supreme Court of B.C. Justice Elaine Adair has dismissed a defamation case launched by salmon-farming company Mainstream Canada against Staniford.  The Norwegian-owned company had taken the activist to court over a 2011 campaign that included images of cigarette-like packages and statements such as "Salmon Farming Kills Like Smoking."

CBC News:

"Staniford said he'll return to Canada as soon as he's allowed on March 1, 2013, and is planning a lecture tour around B.C. with Kurt Oddekalv, the leader of the Green Warriors"

"I am over the proverbial moon and feel extremely vindicated," he said. "All along I knew that Cermaq (was) whistling in the dark."  "This is a victory not just for Don Staniford against Mainstream Canada. This is a victory for environmental campaigners, social-justice campaigners across the world."

In the judgment, Justice Elaine Adair wrote: "Although I have concluded that Mr. Staniford's statements are defamatory of Mainstream, I have concluded that he should succeed on his defence of fair comment."

"I have found that he was actuated by express malice towards Mainstream. However, I have found that he had an honest belief in the statements he made, and injuring Mainstream because of spite or animosity was not his dominant purpose in publishing the words in issue."

This is unlikely to be the end of the matter as in an emailed statement of response, Staniford maintained his attack on the industry at full volume: "This judgment is a victory for free speech....The Norwegian Government's malicious attempt to abuse the Canadian courts to muzzle fair and honest criticism of Norwegian-owned salmon farming has back-fired spectacularly. Cermaq should now go back to Norway taking their disease-ridden salmon feedlots with them."







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