Adbusters Sues Canwest and Government of Canada
Freedom of Expression Is The Issue Says The BC Anti-Consumerism Group
Adbusters, the Vancouver-based anti-consumerism group and Canwest, Canada's media giant, went before a judge of the BC Supreme Court Monday and Tuesday. At issue is whether the lawsuit filed in 2004 by Adbusters will proceed to trial or be dismissed as requested in a motion filed by Canwest, the owner of Global Television network.
Adbusters, a non-profit organisation that boasts of 140,000 members in British Columbia, filed the lawsuit in 2004 against Canwest, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC) after its TV "non-commercials" were rejected. The organisaton says the real issue is freedom of expression as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights, and intends to pursue a similar action in the United States if its litigation is successful in Canada. CRTC is targeted by the action for allegedly allowing the monopolisation of Canada's airwaves in the hands of a handful of corporations.
One of the issues that are yet to be determined is whether the CRTC is part of the Government of Canada or an independent entity for judicial purposes. It was represented at the court hearing by the office of the Attorney General of Canada. Ryan Dalziel, Adbusters' legal counsel, accused the government of flip flopping on the question of whether the CRTC is part of the government or an independent entity that has to be sued as a separate party. His motion, which the judge found confusing, called on the court to make a finding at this stage.
The judge reserved his decision.