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Media release , Monday, April 5, 2004

PC loyalists win in the Ontario Superior Court

Following the December 5, 2003 ruling by Justice R. Juriansz in the legal challenge to the merger between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party (Ahenakew et al vs MacKay), the new Conservative party filed a claim with the judge for a $200,000.00 cost award against David Orchard and the 22 other applicants (see attached PDF file). This claim included a demand for $50,000.00 in punitive damages against Orchard and the others for speaking publicly against the merger. Accusing the applicants of litigating in the news media, the Conservative Party's lawyers argued:“Such conduct is deserving of condemnation and ought to attract an award of substantial indemnity costs.” Lawyers for Orchard and the other applicants replied that there should be no costs assigned.

Late Friday, April 2, 2004, the decision of Justice Juriansz was released (also attached). Justice Juriansz writes:“completely open and free discussion of issues of politics and public affairs is essential to democracy.” He continues, “This was a case in which the public had great interest, and it was the duty of the media to report on these issues” and concludes, “I was not persuaded that I should make a cost award that would sanction or inhibit free discussion of political issues.” Justice Juriansz's ruling represents a significant victory for all concerned with freedom of expression and universal access to the courts, and a substantial defeat for the new Conservative Party's vindictive campaign against Orchard and other Progressive Conservative party loyalists. (Read the complete judgement (PDF file).)

The question that immediately arises is: on what grounds does the Conservative Party continue to withhold $70,000.00 of David Orchard's campaign contributions forcing Orchard to sue for his own funds? All this at the same time as Conservative MPs are hectoring Liberals about ethics in the House of Commons.

On April 27, 2004, the 23 applicants will take their case challenging the merger to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

For a complete file of all legal documents in the case please go to

For more information please contact Rose-Marie Larsson, Media Coordinator for David Orchard, at tel (604) 215-5580, e-mail:

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