Justice for Veterans Legal Fund
Sean and the Justice for Veterans Legal Fund Team solemnly promise that any donations in excess of the legal costs will be 100% dedicated to establishing a new veterans' foundation, the details of which will be announced once these legal battles settle.
REMEMBER: You can donate ANONYMOUSLY on GoFundMe and you don't have to include a tip. If you don't feel comfortable donating on GoFundMe, see bottom of page to donate directly to the Legal firm of Paul Champ.
I am fighting for the freedom of expression of all veterans, journalists, and other Canadians.
Please, I need your help to fight on their behalf.
For the past 20 years I have called government to account in its mistreatment of disabled veterans and their families. Recently, when I wrote about the unfairness in the upcoming Pension For Life programs in The Hill Times (Sean's article here) , Minister of Veterans Affairs, Seamus O’ Regan, rather than debating the facts, instead took the low road to attack my reputation and credibility (Minister's article here ).
Accusing a journalist of "stating mistruths" cuts to the core of any journalist's professional credibility. By attacking me, he sent a strong message to others, especially veterans, who would question government's treatment of veterans.
I was left no option but to sue the Minister for defamation (Sean's claim here) . If government could silence me, then government could bully so many others into silence.
The government recently won a ruling to dismiss my lawsuit by using an obscure law, ironically, meant to protect little guys from big guys. This was likely the first time a big player used it to silence a little player.
We believe the justice who heard the case erred on all counts (Decision here) . Our notice of appeal filed by renowned and highly respected human rights lawyer Paul Champ , demonstrates this (Notice of Appeal here).
We therefore have good chances for the Ontario Court of Appeals to overturn the dismissal. Then we can go ahead and put Minister Seamus O'Regan on the stand to explain why he ignored his own department's advice on multiple occasions informing him and/or his staff that my article was largely correct and accurate (internal emails to be posted soon).
Even though he ignored his own government's advice, his legal bill is paid for by the same government system.
Why Small Claims Court?
Initially, I self-represented in small claims court because I wished to set an example for the little guy like other disabled veterans and freelance journalists. They too can stand up to government intimidation in the informal setting of small claims court.
We also aren't out to make a fortune. We wish to make a strong statement:
unacceptable actions by politicians and bureaucrats must have consequences.
We kept our claim at $25,000. In Ontario, all claims $25,000 or less must be heard in small claims court.
Who is Sean Bruyea?
As a disabled veteran from the first Gulf War, I have overcome many obstacles beyond my own symptoms (CBC article here) .
I have spent the last 20 years dedicated to shining a light on government’s mistreatment of some of our most vulnerable and marginalized Canadian citizens: disabled veterans and their families (link to Sean's 110+ published articles here ) .
I have suffered consequences in his fight on behalf of others. Nevertheless, I did not and will not give up (Privacy Violations here and Sean's successful claim -also represented by Paul Champ-here)
Silence has never been an option for me when I witness such injustices.
Together we can defend our freedom of expression against the attacks from Ministers and government that have forgotten that together we are democracy and each of us deserves dignity and respect.
Any help, social media sharing, or advice is welcome...and much appreciated.
Donations do not have to include a tip to Gofundme and can be made anonymously.
If you feel uncomfortable donating here, please contact Paul Champ and arrange to donate to his office.
firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for e-transfer or other form of payment
43 Florence St,
Mail: Cheques can be made out to "ChampLaw, in trust” or “Champ & Associates, in trust”
Please write Bruyea v. O’Regan in the memo piece
Thank you all for your patience...and wonderful support. I had to recuperate. Just a tad draining even though it was our lawyer, Paul Champ, who did all the work. That's what PTSD does to us (and doesn't allow us to do more often than not).
The hearing was 4.5 hours in the prestigious Osgoode Hall. A panel of 3 judges heard the arguments to reverse the dismissal of our defamation case against Seamus O' Regan that the Feds managed to win in small claims court last August.
First off, there appears to be some concern by the Ontario Court of Appeal as to whether any small claims court judge has the jurisdiction to dismiss a case under this law meant to protect little guys from big guys. Both our lawyer and government lawyers will submit written arguments as to whether Deputy Judges in small claims court can hear calls to dismiss cases under this law (anti-SLAPP-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
The judges fired off lots of questions to the lawyers about this.
So, the judges will at least rule on whether we win this on this technicality or perhaps they will rule that all future attempts to use this anti SLAPP law in small claims court will not be allowed. That would be a bonus as it keeps small claims court the way it should be...uncomplicated and unburdened by such complex legal actions as anti-SLAPP laws.
The judges then heard the arguments from our side and then Department of Justice defending Seamus O Regan as to whether the dismissal last August should be overturned. Paul Champ did an excellent job and pressed home the point that the original small claims court judge screwed up in just about every facet of the law.
There were few questions from the judges during this phase. One concern from the panel was whether politicians might face a bunch of small claims court lawsuits for defamation that might prevent them from doing their jobs. There are a million smart ass answers to these sorts of questions........but Paul Champ kept it professional and pushed home the point that this was a clear case of defamation when the Minister had a choice to not attack a veteran and journalist personally. He ignored his department telling him my article's facts were wholly or mostly correct, he failed to ask the Library of Parliament which agreed with my article's facts and which all MP's can access. This, in legal and layman's terms, is called being "reckless". Whenever any powerful player like a Minister does this, they must be held accountable to a higher standard.
We don't have any idea how the judges will rule on this, especially given the technicality of whether a small claims court Deputy Judge had the authority to hear and rule on dismissing our case last August.
What I can tell you is that these three judges were far more engaged, intelligent, and concerned for the case than the Deputy Judge was last year. We should have a ruling in approximately 60 to 90 days is our best guess but the Judges gave no indication.
Once again, I thank you all for your continued wonderful support throughout this ordeal. Your donations and your kind words of encouragement have given me the strength to stand up to government's bullying and intimidation. Together we are far stronger than their disgusting attempts to silence us!
My best to you all!!!
We are scheduled for 10am on Thursday June 13, 2019 in the prestigious Osgoode Hall of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto.