Saturday, August 9, 2008

Harper Tactics Likened to Authoritarian State

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's legal tactics are likened to those of an authoritarian state in court documents filed recently by the Liberal party.

The comparison is made in an affidavit the Liberals filed in defence against a $3.5-million defamation suit Harper launched earlier this year.

The Liberals have also served notice to the Ontario and federal governments they intend to question the constitutionality of Harper's lawsuit on grounds it is an attempt to muzzle the opposition.

The latest Liberal court filings include an affidavit from University of Toronto professor Peter Russell that argues no Canadian prime minister has sued political opponents for libel despite a history of dramatic accusations during stormy debates in Parliament.

"This use of legal action to silence the opposition is characteristic of authoritarian governments," Russell says in an expert opinion obtained by Toronto lawyer Chris Paliare, who is representing the Liberals.

"It is incompatible with democratic government," argues Russell, a political scientist and professor emeritus at the university.

To read more of this content at the Canadian Press, click here

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