Former UCP candidate files $7M defamation lawsuit against NDP, media companies, individuals

A United Conservative candidate in the riding of Calgary-Mountain View has decided to pull out of the campaign amid allegations that she’ echoed white nationalist rhetoric’ in an online conversation. (Caylan Ford for Calgary-Mountain View/Facebook)

A former UCP candidate in the 2019 provincial election has filed a $7 million defamation lawsuit against the NDP, along with several individuals and media companies.

Caylan Ford was a United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate in the riding of Calgary-Mountain View before dropping out of the race days into the campaign after private messages she had previously made on social media on the issue of race were released.

The amended lawsuit, filed Nov. 12, names a number of people and companies as defendants, including:

  • Kiram A. Jivraj, an individual;
  • The Broadbent Institute, which operates PressProgress;
  • The New Democrats of Canada Association (NDP);
  • Progress Alberta;
  • Duncan Kinney, who published work on the Progress Alberta website;
  • Avnish Nanda, an individual
  • Luke LeBrun, whose work was published on PressProgress;
  • Stephen Magusiak, whose work was published on PressProgress;
  • Jeremy Nolais, who was chief of staff to then-premier Rachel Notley;
  • Rakhi Pancholi, then the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud;
  • David Khan, leader of the Alberta Liberal Party;
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC);
  • Toronto Star Newspapers, and;
  • Emma McIntosh, whose work was published by the Toronto Star.

The suit claims Jivraj made untruthful allegations about Ford a number of times, including in a March 3, 2018 text message and an Oct. 1, 2018 letter.

It also claims statements published on Oct. 13, 2018 and Dec. 13, 2018 by PressProgress were defamatory.

Other allegedly defamatory statements were published on social media and in blog posts by individuals named in the suit.

The suit also claims stories published by CBC and the Toronto Star were false and defamatory.

Ford is seeking $5 million for defamation and $2 million in punitive damages along with $150,000 from PressProgress, CBC and Jivraj for "intrusion upon Ford's seclusion."

The suit is also seeking $500,000 from Jivraj for "intentional infliction of mental suffering."

None of the allegations have been proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed.