MV’s latest attack on The Current rejected by Court of Appeal

On June 9 we reported that Madawaska Valley Township failed in its attempt to have the Ontario Court of Appeal reverse a lower Court Decision not to make a gag order against The Current. The Court of Appeal has now rubbed salt into the Township’s wounds by awarding The Current its legal costs incurred in connection with the appeal. Rather than denying The Current its costs as requested by the Township, the Court instead ordered that the Township pay a sum described by our counsel as “generous.”

Current’s journalistic ethics questioned

In its written submissions to the Court of Appeal the Township’s lawyers, Wishart Law, had made baseless attacks on The Current and its owners in an attempt to avoid the usual costs consequences of losing an appeal. Included in those submissions was the following statement:

“Throughout this appeal Mr. Paul wrote directly to the Township, its insurer and the Township’s legal counsel. In the case of the Township’s insurer Mr. Paul, in the guise of a concerned taxpayer, tried to prompt an internal investigation into the payments made in respect of this matter – a disingenuous attempt to interfere with the Defendants’ ability to fund this appeal and the solicitor-client relationship.”

The Current’s counsel responded as follows:

 “As counsel for the Respondents has previously advised the Appellants, that correspondence has nothing to do with this appeal. After the Appellants publicly posted their Costs Submissions for the proceedings below, the significant legal fees they purportedly incurred became a matter of interest among ratepayers in the community – perhaps not surprisingly given public awareness that the litigation could have been avoided by a simple apology and a $500 charitable donation. Against this backdrop the Respondents posed questions to the insurer for the purpose of reporting on this issue. Sanctioning such conduct would be an affront to free expression.”

Paul Cassan of Wishart Law has also condemned The Current for reporting on the litigation, stating that it was improper because The Current was a party to it. In response, it was pointed out that newspapers routinely report on legal claims to which they are parties. Moreover in this case The Current had to fill the news void created by the Valley Gazette’s and The Eganville Leader’s decisions to act as if the case had no relevance or interest to their readers.

Wisharts also distorted the facts of The Current’s correspondence “directly to the Township.” They neglected to tell the Court that that correspondence had dealt only with public statements about the litigation made by the Township’s Integrity Commissioner, Peggy Young-Lovelace of E4m. The Current had been made aware by an informant in another municipality that Young-Lovelace discussed The Current’s litigation at a Council meeting in a manner which our informant described as being inappropriate “spin.”

We have previously reported on the relationship between Young-Lovelace and the Wishart Law firm, which the former has described as a “business partnership.” The Current’s only motive in writing to the Township was to provide additional information in support of mounting evidence around the Province suggesting that she is unsuitable to act in the capacity of an Integrity Commissioner. It was also brought to The Current’s attention that Young-Lovelace was recently dismissed as the Integrity Commissioner for the Town of Iroquois Falls. In making public the reasons for doing so, the Iroquois Falls CAO on May 30 2022 accused her of conduct amounting to performing unnecessary services designed to increase her fee revenue. He concluded by saying:

“So a case which could be discarded head on [and] ended, would be dragged and dragged and dragged in order to increase the number of fees she was charging. So I felt that her objectivity was questionable and her integrity itself was also in question.”

The role of the Township’s insurer, Intact Insurance

The Township’s submissions provided evidence that its insurer, Intact Insurance, was complicit in these attacks on The Current. Confirmation of this was found in the documents that Wisharts attached to their submissions to the Court of Appeal, which included some of Intact’s internal communications. These contained false accusations presumed to be aimed at undermining the Court’s opinion of The Current. We have written to the Intact Insurance Claims Manager and its Ombudsman complaining about this conduct and seeking explanations, but no responses have been received as of the date of this article. Based on figures previously disclosed by the Township, it is estimated that – including the costs of the abortive appeal – Intact has paid Wisharts in the region of $400,000 for its services to date.

Related articles:

Court dismisses MV’s request to gag The Current and its owners (2021,Aug.17)

The Current’s response to Mayor Love’s comments at Oct.19 Council meeting (2021,Oct.30)

Public interest news and information suppression in Madawaska Valley is a disgrace (2022,Jan.17)

Court of Appeal confirms MV not entitled to a gagging order against The Current (2022,June9)

Photo T.Wurdeman


  1. John & Beth Hildebrandt

    This could ALL have been avoided if there had been an apology from the Councillor for the foul words, and a donation of $500.00 to the charity of his choice.

  2. None of them deserve another term. Unless.
    No buliding Out House law, Only a pervert would allow a law that you could not have a new out-house on your land so in the case of our frequent power outages woman and children have to go in plain site on the land. Mayor and Councliors you are sick and disgusting.
    $2500 fine if you or a Ukraine refugee or realitve or anyone sleeps in a trailer that you own on your land and they have the Mad police spying on you all the time.
    Sea Containers make the best Boat houses 1. They stop beach eroision, 2 they are extremely hard for theives to break into. 3. they don’t rust away. 4. you can even plant grass on top of them. 5. You can store your boat with a winch for the season in 3o seconds and not have to worry about it being damaged by leaving it out side. 6. You can have all your saftey gear in them in case of an accident or drowning on the shore line. 7, You can store you fishing gear safely in them. But our council and Mad Mayor says NO to this. All of them need to go unless they change all of the above before election day.

  3. Pat Scott

    why am I not shocked? This is awful to think that our municipality is involved in this kind of underhanded behaviour. The sad thing is, the council probably swallows what they are told hook, line and sinker,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top
Comment Rules

  • Please show respect to the opinions of others no matter how seemingly far-fetched.
  • Abusive, foul language, and/or divisive comments may be deleted without notice.
  • In order to avoid confusion in the community, commenters must provide their full name (first and last) and a valid email address.
  • Comments must be limited to the number of words displayed above the comment box.

Verified by MonsterInsights