NPCA blames Ed Smith for court costs

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority finally responding to request for comment following a recent legal decision to award legal costs to a local activist it attempted to sue. 

Last week the NPCA was ordered to pay a St. Catharines activisit  Ed Smith more than $130,000 in legal costs.

The judge, who dimissed a defamation lawsuit by the NPCA against Smith, ruled the agency failed to demonstrate its case had any merit and had no right to sue a citizen for criticizing it.

Judge James Ramsay also order Niagara-on-the-Lake businessman Bill Montgomery to pay more than $48,000 in Smith's legal cost after his defamation lawsuit was also dismissed.

Late this afternoon the NPCA responded via email to our request for an on-air interview. 

In the email Communication Specialist Krystle Caputo attached a press release with the following statement. 

" Attached please find NPCA’s official statement, which is the extent to which we wish to comment as an organization. We would be happy to come on at a future date to talk about our Hamilton Levy victory, which saved millions of dollar for Niagara region taxpayers, or our wonderful partners and volunteers who we need to help plant 1 million trees. 2018 for NPCA will be about moving our 8 initiatives forward and hi-lighting the positive, good work our team completes." 

Below is the full statement released by the NPCA

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has reviewed the decision by Justice Ramsay dated January 5th, 2018 regarding costs related to its case with Mr. Ed Smith. The NPCA stands by its decision to defend its employees and the organization itself. Prior to taking this matter to Court, the NPCA, through its counsel, asked Mr. Smith to retract and correct the most offensive statements in his document on 3 separate occasions. Mr. Smith refused to do so. This was never about silencing an individual asking questions; it was about correcting defamatory statements made against an NPCA employee, and the organization as a whole. The NPCA and its Board of Directors are grateful to the Court for finally correcting the record by confirming that Mr. Smith’s claims were false. The legislation for this type of lawsuit sets a very high presumption in favour of a cost order, which is why NPCA was ordered to pay Mr. Smith’s fees. Had Mr. Smith’s original document been corrected, there would have been no case, and therefore no associated costs.