Bernier loses defamation fight against columnist who called him racist

Maxime Bernier’s defamation lawsuit against controversial political strategist and columnist Warren Kinsella has been tossed out of court.

The leader of the fringe Peoples Party of Canada had argued that his reputation was damaged by Kinsella’s repeated portrayals of him as racist, misogynist, and anti-Semitic in the run-up to the 2019 federal election.

But while some of Kinsella’s accusations were defamatory, Ontario Superior Court Justice Calum MacLeod says Bernier has not proved that the harm to his reputation outweighs the importance of protecting freedom of speech on matters of public interest.

Bernier, a former Conservative cabinet minister, formed his own party after narrowly losing the Tory leadership in 2017.

The Peoples party ran in 2019 on a platform that opposed what Bernier called “extreme multiculturalism” and advocated cuts to immigration.

While many pundits said Bernier was pandering to xenophobes and racists, the leader argued that Kinsella was particularly venomous and motivated by malice, having been hired by operatives in the Conservative party to disparage the new party.

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