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Canadian Internet Defamation Rulings
This case is filed under Substantive Defences
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2018 June 15
AARC Society v Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 2018 ABQB 324

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench made an order permitting certain amendments to an Amended Amended Statement of Claim in a lawsuit filed in April 2011 over a CBC Fifth Estate program which aired on February 13, 2009.  The Court permitted additional claims relating to the –re-airing of the same CBC broadcast, plus a new Internet defamation claim, plus amendments elaborating on the original claims relating to the posting of the broadcast on “the CBC internet web page (including associated or linked webpages).”   The Court also permitted an amendment to allege that certain video and commentary “repeated” the defamatory sensationalism already pleaded in the original claim.  Other amendments seeking to plead that the additional video and commentary “advanced” and “expanded” on the defamatory sensationalism were rejected.   In this regard, the plaintiff AARC argued unsuccessfully that “the existence of the Internet Broadcast on CBC’s website constitutes a distinct cause of action for each and every day that the Internet Broadcast is posted on the CBC website.”  The Court stated: “I find that the continued existence of a statement or broadcast on a website does not amount to a daily republication of that statement for the purposes of renewing the limitation period perpetually.   These arguments do not help AARC add claims that are otherwise out of time and are not related to the conduct, events or transactions set out in the original pleadings.”