Taseko Mines is in court today to appeal a 2016 ruling that an environmental organization’s criticism of their mining project did not constitute defamation. The Wilderness Committee, who won the case, argues the lawsuit was designed to silence critics of the company’s proposed New Prosperity mine.
“We absolutely need legislation to protect citizens … from being harassed from companies like this,” said Joe Foy, national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee
In the original case, the alleged defamatory statements against Taseko Mines originated in three articles posted on the Wilderness Committee’s website, claiming the open pit gold and copper mine would turn nearby Fish Lake into a “dump site for toxic tailings.”
After Taseko filed a defamation claim against Wilderness Committee for those posts, the environmental organization posted two more articles, accusing Taseko of filing a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuit, which is a type of lawsuit intended to silence oppositional voices.
Taseko Mines claimed these posts amounted to further defamation. Today, Foy said he hopes Justice Gordon Funt’s original 2016 ruling which dismissed the defamation suit is upheld. “The judge’s ruling is quite fulsome,” said Joe Foy in an interview on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition.
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