A Major Victory in my Legal Battle with the School Board

First Victory!

I am thrilled to announce the first major victory in my legal battle with the Waterloo Region District School Board.

The Anti-SLAPP Motion

As you know, I filed a defamation lawsuit against the Waterloo Region District School Board in April 2022.  In September 2023, the Board filed an “Anti-SLAPP motionpursuant to section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act in an attempt to have my lawsuit dismissed.  The Board claimed that they did nothing wrong and that, ironically, I was trying to suppress their free speech. My lawyer and I spent many hours preparing to defend against this absurd motion, resulting in an Ontario Superior Court hearing on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. I am very happy to report that the judge dismissed the motion, allowing my defamation lawsuit to proceed to the next stage.

Justice Ramsay’s Decision

In his written decision, Justice Ramsay affirmed that I did not breach the Human Rights Code, nor did I engage in hate speech and that the Board had indeed defamed me. Justice Ramsay stated that my Defamation Claim has “substantial merit.” He condemned the Board’s and Piatkowski’s use of the Human Rights Code to stifle public debate, a move he described as regrettable for a governmental body. Perhaps his most poignant comment was, “What happened here should not happen in a democratic society.”

Harsh Criticism of the WRDSB

In his statement, Justice Ramsay made numerous comments critical of the Board’s conduct:

[3] As counsel for the defendants correctly conceded, the Human Rights Code does not prohibit public discussion of issues related to transgenderism or minors and transgenderism. It does not prohibit public discussion of anything.

[11] The plaintiff’s claims, however, have substantial merit. The comments of the board’s agents were defamatory. For example, they accused her of breaching the Human Rights Code, questioning the right of trans persons to exist and engaging in speech that included hate. She did not do any of those things.

[12] In view of the plain words, all of which are recorded, I see no reasonable grounds to believe that the defence of justification will succeed.

[14] I see no prospect that the defendant will be able to prove that his statements had a basis in true facts. He said that the plaintiff said things that she did not say. Furthermore, by taking the presentation off the website, the corporate defendant prevented members of the public from ascertaining the true facts.

[16] It is a ready inference that the chairman of the board acted with malice or at least, with a reckless disregard for the truth. He had made an embarrassingly erroneous and arbitrary decision to silence a legitimate expression of opinion and he was widely criticized for it. It is not a stretch to infer that, realizing that, he tried to justify himself with the public by assassinating the plaintiff’s character.

[24] Finally, the harm allegedly suffered is serious enough that the public interest in permitting the proceeding to continue outweighs the public interest in protecting the defendant’s expression. The media coverage went world-wide. The plaintiff alleges serious damage to the reputation that she spent decades establishing and emotional distress that led to physical harm.

[26] I find it regrettable that the defendant who is trying to shut down debate is an arm of the government. Regard for the historical and present plight of the transgendered, as articulated in paragraph 85 of Hansman, does not negate section 2(b) of the Charter. What happened here should not happen in a democratic society.

A Victory for Free Expression

I am relieved and grateful for this ruling. It is a validation and protection not just of me but for everyone who dares to voice valid concerns publicly. This isn’t just a personal win; it’s an important decision protecting and reinforcing free expression. Justice Ramsay clearly stated that the Human Rights Code does not prohibit public discussion at all. This decision should send a strong message to school boards that the weaponization of Human Rights Codes against concerned citizens is an undemocratic abuse of the code. This ruling sets a significant precedent, highlighting the importance of freedom of expression and the right to participate in public debates on matters of public interest, especially within the educational context.

The Road Ahead

The school board has thirty days to initiate an appeal but I hope this stern rebuke from the court will dissuade them. Our next action will be either to prepare for the appeal or to move to the next stage of the Defamation Suit.  

It cost me $47,000 to defend this Anti-SLAPP motion.  Provided the Board does not appeal, they must pay $30,000 toward my costs.  Still, this action has depleted my legal fund by $17,000 and the Defamation Lawsuit is just getting rolling.

Please consider donating to my GoFundMe campaign, share this page, and help me fight and win for all of us.

Justice Ramsay's Decision

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sharon Deslauriers

    The people and ideology that started this whole snowball rolling, are well aware the process is the punishment. Their accusations are absurd and groundless and they know that. Their only weapon is attempting to conceal truth “legally”, defamation of character and financial and emotional burden. Their goal is to bankrupt you financially and emotionally.
    They, in time, will fall into their own pit and the evil they did to you will fall back onto them.
    They thought they could “expose” you as evil; but in fact they exposed themselves as the evil ones.
    Keep up the good fight. The Bible says people who love darkness and hate the Light do so because they know their deeds are evil and don’t want to be exposed. But Truth wins.

  2. Murray Baker

    I think the bolded sections say it all. “It does not prohibit public discussion of anything.” “The comments of the board’s agents were defamatory.” “She did not do any of those things.” “he tried to justify himself with the public by assassinating the plaintiff’s character.” “What happened here should not happen in a democratic society.” It is time the Board stopped hiding behind their off-balance ideology. At the very least Piatkowski should resign as he clearly is incapable of doing the job of chair fairly or well. However, I suspect they will do everything possible to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Carolyn – you have proven to be a person of real integrity and grit. Hang in there:)

  3. Rick Hägglund

    Carolyn, we support your right to free and intelligent speech.

  4. LCameron

    Congratulations Caroline – this is a win for all Canadians. You truly are a hero and future generations will thank you for preventing the loss of our right to free speech.

  5. Mike B

    Thank you for your bravery. There will always be people who disagree with your position but the weaponizing of the “human rights code” and the use of administrative process to stifle your rights to free expression is not in keeping with a civil and open society.

    Don’t back down. The silent majority of rational adults stand in your corner with fingers crossed for future generations and the return of calm and open debate

  6. Jeff lulham

    An inspirational story of courage. You have done a great service for Canada, thank you Carolyn.

  7. Lois Halls

    I am so happy for you. For the information of other such people, I recommend the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom, 253 7620 Elbow Drive S.W., Calgary, T2V 1K2. I have been donating to this group for several years. These are the people who helped so many of the victims of discrimination during the Covid time. They almost always win, or the case is dropped.

  8. Kathleen Sloan

    You go girl. As a teacher who retired in 2007, I was still feeling free to express my opinion especially because I was retiring. But now realize that so many teachers are being faced with real danger of doing so. I hope there are more Judge Ramsays as well.

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