Saturday, November 16, 2013

So ... Wenzel Is Suing Nenshi?

It came out in the news yesterday that Shane Homes' president Cal Wenzel has decided to sue Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi over statements made during this year's election campaign.

At first, I found myself scratching my head over this lawsuit.  Why bother?  It was one sentence in one interview in the middle of an election campaign.  Big deal.

Then it occurred to me - the move is consistent with a SLAPP lawsuit.  In the short term, it has little to do with actual defamation of Cal Wenzel - I think that the leaked video that he was so angry about did far more damage to Cal Wenzel's reputation than any statement that Naheed Nenshi had made in an interview.

But, looking at it going forward, the implications of Wenzel's lawsuit are significant.  It sends out a message to candidates that during an election, you better not tread on toes of the rich and powerful, for they will sue you after the fact.

Consider the impact of this lawsuit on future campaigns.  Suddenly, you have a situation where candidates will be unwilling to speak out on significant issues in the campaign (and the developers themselves became an issue in the 2013 campaign) for fear of being sued after the fact.

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