Court of Appeal Deals Another Blow to Free Speech

Court of Appeal Deals Another Blow to Free Speech

I’m coming to you today with some deeply troubling news that I believe every Canadian needs to hear. On March 28, 2024, the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt another blow to free speech in our country. They rejected my appeal against the Waterloo Region District School Board’s decision to terminate my presentation at a board meeting. They offered no explanation for their ruling. To add insult to injury, the court ordered me to pay an additional $2500 on top of the $5000 already awarded to the Board in November. This decision not only denies me the justice I sought but also sets a dangerous precedent that threatens a fundamental pillar of our already weakened democracy: the right to freely express our thoughts and opinions.

Background Story - Ejection from the Board Meeting

For those who may not remember, in January 2022, I was removed from a School Board meeting for voicing my concerns about age-inappropriate and misleading sexual content in some elementary school books. Silencing me was a direct violation of my right to free expression and a disturbing display of authoritarian speech suppression by the School Board.

I Filed a Judicial Review.... and Lost

Determined to fight for my rights, I filed a Judicial Review, hoping that the Ontario Divisional Court would reverse the Board’s decision and allow me to complete my presentation. However, on November 29, 2023, the panel of justices ruled against me, dismissing my review and agreeing that the Board’s decision to halt my presentation was “reasonable.”

I Appealed the Court Decision...and Lost

Undeterred, in January 2024, I filed a Motion to Appeal the decision with the Ontario Court of Appeal. My lawyers, who are constitutional experts, were confident in our case due to the numerous errors in law made by the Divisional Court. These errors included the failure to properly weigh the infringement of my Charter right to free expression against Chair Piatkowski’s accusation that I had violated the Human Rights Code. The Board’s lawyers argued that my presentation was off-topic, a claim never made by Chair Piatkowski during or after the board meeting. Sadly, the Board now regularly uses the vague accusation of being “off-topic” as a convenient tool to suppress viewpoints it disagrees with.

The Battle is Not Over - Defamation Lawsuit Ongoing

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, who sponsored the Judicial Review and supported me throughout this ordeal. While we have lost this battle at the Ontario Court of Appeal, our fight is far from over. The outcome of this case highlights the critical importance of winning my ongoing civil defamation lawsuit. The actions and comments made by the Board and its former Chair following my expulsion have not only damaged my reputation and health it has also represented a broader threat to free speech. We must not be intimidated to voice our opinions. Winning this lawsuit is now more crucial than ever to set a precedent that protects freedom of expression for all Canadians.

I Still Need Your Support

If you believe in defending free speech, please consider donating to my Legal Fund using the links at my website, Together, we can ensure that no Canadian is defamed for speaking their truth. Thank you for your unwavering support in our shared commitment to defending free speech.

Motion to Appeal - Court Documents

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Laurie MacDonald

    Dear Carolyn
    Hang in there and keep fighting. You have my complete support. I am a gratefully retired high school teacher from the TVDSB. . I know the kind of leadership that is promoted within Boards and it is deeply disturbing and antithetical to the critical thinking we are supposed to encourage in our students.

    I was also a Branch president for the Union in my school and witnessed first hand the damaging effects created by toxic leadership within the school. So much harm was caused to good and dedicated teachers who care deeply for the intellectual, social and emotional well being of their students. Many of these “leaders” are completely disconnected from the realities of the classroom or child development. Long gone are the days when leaders had decades of experience teaching before being promoted. Now, many leaders have had “pet” jobs in the schools, shielding them from the reality of teaching. Teachers are the true experts and you absolutely did the right thing by speaking up.

    I shall never forget when yet another ill advised educational initiative was introduced, my principal said: “you can say anything you like, as long as it’s positive”. In other words, check your critical faculties at the door, shut up and do what you are told. It saddens me to think of all the incredible ideas and education that teachers bring to the table and how summarily silenced they are each and everyday. This does not make for a robust education system in a democratic society.

    Keep going!!

  2. Kay Kingan

    Women in Manitoba have been defamed as well by city counsellors, trustees…. It is clear these politicians purposely interchange the issue of age appropriateness of library books with “Trans-hate” speech. One woman was accused of the crime of disseminating hate speech in Winnipeg City Hall Chamber! The gallery was full of the politicians supporters, who shouted abuse at the delegate, who became quite nervous, maybe frightened. Two “mean girl” city counsellors kept talking about “rules of decorum” — but there aren’t any… Even the Mayor was making it up as he went along,. Library staff don’t even pay attention to manufacturer’s warnings on the book cover. And the City Councillor wrote a press release a few hours later congratulating herself on what a ‘defender of rights’ she is. Her favourite things is belittling other people (including coworkers) and sucking up to the ‘public service’. IMO… We have no bright lights of democracy in Manitoba.

  3. Paulette Renaud

    The obfuscation by the Waterloo Board, the Court of Appeal, and the Ontario Divisional Court is unbelievable.They seem to be intent on blurring the fact that you were simply expressing your concern about the content of a few library books, and bizarrely turning it into an issue of human rights or being “off-topic” (I think they forgot that you were suspended from teaching and speaking to students and colleagues, not quite an appropriate protocol for speaking “off-topic”). The board must be covering up its tracks, and the courts as well as the board appear to be strongly influenced by ideologues. I definitely support your fight, and wish it was more well-known. I will contribute to your legal expenses.

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