Ego, the self in relation to all else surrounding the self. There are spiritual explanations for the ego and psychoanalysis of its existence, fundamentally it is the view that all exists and can be known only in relation to the individual's mind. One may be excused to think that Debbie Zimmerman's actions are exemplary of such a theory. Whilst the ancient Tea Singers of Buddhist tradition may chant of truth and knowledge, and of Buddha the deliverer of truth, Debbie Zimmerman attempts to silence all such nonsense. Spirituality put aside then only realistic analysis leads eventually towards the discovery of truth.
That being said it doesn't take deep and heavy thought to understand what Debbie Zimmerman has attempted to do. Her Notice of Action was dated June 2nd 2014 and was followed up with a Statement of Claim dated June 11th 2014. In the cover page of the Statement of Claim it states as “prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure.” As one may remember I had pointed out the Rules of Civil Procedure and the response given by Zimmerman's lawyer. Anyhow this is only a small point but like the first candle lit in the darkness it begins to shed light exposing all else.
A Statement of Claim is the beginning of a legal process, with a court file number requiring by the Rules of Civil Procedure a formal response, which too has to be filed at the courts with a fee of $144. My Statement of Defence was filed with the court on the 30th of June 2014 with a copy served on Zimmerman's lawyers in Toronto on June 26th. I will say Debbie Zimmerman's chosen legal eagles have an impressive full floor at 20 Dundas Street, right opposite the Eaton Centre.
Impressive the address may be and the whole floor thing rightfully so, still that does not stop questions being raised. Such outward appearance implies money, experience and presumably knowledge, at least the library looked well organised and impressive. As it has been said a Statement of Claim heralds the commencement of a legal process, demanding attention and warning that ignorance only comes with a heavy price. So then what is the purpose of a faux Statement of Claim, a dummy if you wish. What does this dummy statement herald in? Is it a threat? Can it be legally considered as harassment? May one take it as intimidation?
A Notice of Action under the Rules of Civil Procedure is simply a formal notification of legal proceedings being planned and an opportunity to resolve the issue if both parties agree to do so. Jordan Goldblatt from Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP representing Debbie Zimmerman on June 2nd 2014 attached to his Notice of Action a dummy copy of a Notice of Libel. It is an abbreviated version of the Notice of Action which is required under the Rules of Civil Procedure. There is no court file number, although it is made to appear as an official court registered document.
The Libel and Slander Act, R.S.O. 1990 makes it clear that time limitations are at play in relation to claims against media. It also states that a Notice of Libel is to be served in the same manner as a Statement of Claim, and refers to this notice as a Notice of Action. A dummy faux official, yet not official document is somewhat questionable. Still a more important point in the Libel and Slander Act is section 76, there it states that whatever is claimed in the Notice of Action must be claimed in the same fashion, or exactly, in the Statement of Claim. Law if nothing else strives for consistency and the rules it sets forth demand that consistency.
In her Notice of Action Zimmerman had her lawyer, Jordan Goldblatt issue two threats. First that she will be “contacting the host of your blog and requesting it be removed, in its entirety.” No further mention of this insane threat in the Statement of Claim, and I wonder why. Zimmerman and Goldblatt also threatened with, “making a Criminal Code Complaint under s.289 of the Criminal Code.” This also has been dropped from any further mention in Zimmerman's Statement of Claim. Quoting the Canadian Bar Association, “Defamation can be a crime under the Criminal Code, but only rarely.” I could also see why this threat was left alone as well.
“The statement of claim must be confined to the statements complained of and specified in the notice. Consequently, where the plaintiff in such notice specified parts of an article published by the defendant and in her statement of claim set out the whole article, the portions not specified in the notice were struck out on an application attacking the plaintiff's pleadings, Obernier v. Robertson (1892), 14 P.R. 553 (Ont). (Canadian Libel Practice, Ch. 3, Notice under the Libel and Slander Act & Limitations Period) from www.cyberlibel.com.
This whole notion or idea of threat, intimidation and harassment was simply designed to feed an ego. An ego that places itself above the people and community she serves as an elected public servant. As a public servant no question relating to conduct can be left unanswered, whatever else she does outside her part-time public servant role is simply a job. Issues that raise questions relating to her role as a public servant are relevant to the public, and the public has the right to question her actions as long as there are sufficient grounds to do so.
Although I have referred to and quoted the Libel and Slander Act one other piece of judicial law is of even greater importance. I refer to the Supreme Court of Canada and its decision in December 2009, in the action resulting from Grant v. Torstar Corp. This decision clearly provides the grounds on which action such as this intimidation by Zimmerman is to be dealt with, but first I will deal with the 'bullets' of hurt by Zimmerman as set out by her in the Statement of Claim.
An affair outside the bounds of marriage survives on deceit on a daily basis whether Zimmerman likes that fact or not. It is also a fact that court documents which state the reason for a divorce procedure to be commenced are a somewhat reliable source of information. Sadly there are very few women who file for divorce and name 'the other woman' find themselves to be wrong. Unless of course hubby thinks himself a stud and has a stable of women, this is not the case with Mayor Brian McMullan. Still most women especially those who had been married for many years endure a great deal before taking the final step. In any case this final step is a legal process and statements made are done so with the knowledge that during a trial it all has to be proven.
Generalities aside, this specific case involves the mayor of a town, and his wife names a fellow sitting councillor as the adulteress. Not only has the wife named the councillor as the adulteress, rumours of this affair have been floating all around town and the region for years. If this alone is not news that people want to read then one has to hang up the notepad and pen. OK this may be a little old fashioned as an analogy but you get the drift.
Levity put to one side, the seriousness of the situation is alarming. No affair is an honest game, and the players become experienced deceivers. Yet what remains of the fact that both of the players are elected members of government sitting together on the same council? The questions raised are enormous and have chilling effects on such nuisance issues as Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, possible misuse of public money and more.
Zimmerman fired six bullets on page 7 of her Statement of Claim. It appears that publishing the divorce papers and raising serious questions regarding the affair hurt her feelings and ego. She claims that Mayor Brian McMullan's wife Ruth McMullan is a liar, yet Zimmerman has not proved that in a court of law. In the meantime Brian McMullan is working hard to seal the documents and offer door number one, two or three in a let's make a deal scenario.
Any affair entered into for whatever reason is based on dishonesty and unethical and immoral conduct. After all who can forget those vows of marriage, and the cost of divorce. Those who are partnered in an affair definitely share many conflicts of interest yet they put personal interest first, at whatever cost. Contempt becomes a way of daily routine and honesty is replaced by deceit. Yet according to Debbie Zimmerman's ego none of this applies to her chaste character.
Ruth McMullan, wife of Mayor Brian McMullan has been labelled a liar and it is only the word of Debbie Zimmerman that is to be taken as relevant and true. No comment or question is permissible according to Zimmerman's ego. Yet we are still a democracy even though censorship in Niagara thrives. Zimmerman has to prove in a court of law and not by meaning, suggestion or innuendo that Ruth McMullan lied. That in itself is a hurdle, but a higher one for Debbie Zimmerman and her lawyer is the Supreme Court of Canada and its decision from December 2009.
Quoting the Canadian Bar Association, “In a December 2009 case, the Supreme Court of Canada established this new defence to a libel claim. The court said that journalists should be able to report statements and allegations – even if they are not true – if there is a public interest in distributing the information to a wide audience. This defence, which looks at the whole context of a situation, can apply if:
1. the news was urgent, serious, and of public importance, and
2. the journalist used reliable sources, and tried to get and report the other side of the story.
The court defined “journalist” widely to include bloggers and anyone else “publishing material of public interest in any medium.” (Defamation: Libel and Slander, cba.org)
Ego now comes face to face with the law. Both Zimmerman and her lawyer knew this yet decided that threat and intimidation was a game that they needed to play. Though even the threat has changed and in court I will prove what I need. The reliability of sources cannot be denied and the fact that the city mayor faces divorce with adultery named as the circumstance, that is of public importance. Add to the adultery claim by the wife of Mayor Brian McMullan that the 'other woman' named is a fellow sitting Regional Councillor Debbie Zimmerman then the whole issue takes on another facet.
I served my Statement of Defense at the impressive offices of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP in Toronto on June 26th 2014, as posted here. I further registered and paid my fee at the Robert S. K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines. Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, and Zimmerman's lawyer cannot ignore them, time limitations only permitted 20 days for a Defense to Counterclaim from Zimmerman. To date no such document has been served, no rebuttal of my defense and no comment.
On July 17th Zimmerman announced that she will not be going for re-election to Regional Council. She gave an interview to a reporter from The Standard and had the opportunity to set her side of the story, after all it was The Standard. At the same time a 'newspaper' had the opportunity to lift the heavy cloud of censorship to provide the people it claims to serve with the news. Neither saw fit to touch the subject or allow censorship in Niagara to be lifted.
According to reporter Don Fraser, Zimmerman referred “to the loss of privacy as a politician.” Well maybe that is why the job is called public office or public service. It could also be why a Code of Conduct demands public scrutiny. Reporter Don Fraser quotes Zimmerman as saying “If you're in politics you'll get potshots from the sidelines...” (Update: Zimmerman not seeking re-election, Don Fraser, QMI Agency, st.catharinesstandard.ca, July 17, 2014). A demand for accountability is not a pot-shot, it is a direct bulls-eye hit. In the end both Zimmerman and pal Brian McMullan will have no choice, it is a road each has chosen with their actions and egotistical desire to threaten and intimidate.
In her actions Zimmerman chose to go after a comment and the author of the comment, Fred Bracken. This ludicrous action only further proves the real reasons for Zimmerman's actions. Yet another comment appeared on Mayorgate (article: Debbie Zimmerman Attacks Mayorgate) and this one really tells Zimmerman and Brian McMullan what the people of Niagara are aware of.
The comment is short but to the point, it begins with “Everyone I know, that lives in the Niagara Region has been aware, and disgusted by the illicit affair between Brian McMullan, and Debbie Zimmerman for several years now...” Debbie Zimmerman had not decided to release her 'dogs of war' on this individual nor has she threatened me about it, or that I allowed it. Why?
Debbie Zimmerman has had ample opportunity to publicly deny the affair, whether by responding to me prior to publication or using the local p.r. sheet, The Standard. Instead she chose to threaten, intimidate and harass me as publisher of Mayorgate and selectively one individual only. My response is a simple one, I want Zimmerman in a courtroom under oath to reveal what drove Zimmerman to this point, now it is a demand by me to stand in an open court and allow the truth to be heard. Mayorgate does not fear Zimmerman nor her ego, nor does Mayorgate fear her pal Mayor Brian McMullan. He now has chosen to open Pandora's Box and that is the next article.
In Canada there is no recall or impeachment, there are no laws or rules that are enforced on these egos filled with self-delusion of importance. For that reason corruption in Niagara has reached levels which are out of control and it is time to bring it to the light of day. It is time for the average people who have built these towns to care enough to raise a voice. Mayorgate will not run for cover in response to threat.
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