Joanne St Lewis v. Denis Rancourt
Statement of Claim by law professor Joanne St. Lewis against Denis Rancourt...
CourtFileNo.: ONTARIO SUPERIORCOURT OF JUSTICE
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JOANNE ST. LEWIS
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DENIS RANCOURT Defendant
STATEMENT OF CLAIM
TO THE DEFENDANT: A LEGAL PROCEEDING HAS BEEN COMMENCED AGAINST YOU by the Plaintiff. The claim madeagainstyou is setout in the following pages. IF YOU WISH TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING, you or an Ontario lawyer acting for you must preparea statementof defencein Form 18A prescribedby the Rules of Civil Procedure, serve it on the Plaintiff lawyer or, where the Plaintiff does not have a lawyer, serve it on the Plaintiff, and file it, with proof of service,in this court office, WITHIN TWENTY DAYS after this statementof claim is servedon you, if you are servedin Ontario. If you are servedin anotherprovinceor territory of Canadaor in the United Statesof America, the period for serving and filing your statementof defenceis forty days. If you are served outside Canadaand the United Statesof America,the period is sixty days. Instead of serving and filing a statementof defence,you may serve and file a notice of intent to defend in Form l8B prescribedby the Rules of Civil Procedure.This will entitle you to ten more days within which to serveand file your statementof defence. IF YOU PAY THE PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM, and $2000.00 for costs, within the time for serv'ingand filing your statementof defenceyou may move to have this proceedingdismissed by the court. If you believe the amount claimed for costs is excessive,you may pay the Plaintiff s claim and $400.00for costsand havethe costsassessed bv the court.
DEFAULT JUDGMENT IF YOU FAIL TO SERVE AND FILE A STATEMENT OF DEFENCE, JUDGMENT MAY BE GIVEN AGAINST YOU IN YOUR ABSENCEAND WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE TO YOU, IF YOU WISH TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING BUT ARE UNABLE TO PAY LEGAL FEES, LEGAL AID MAY BE AVAILABLE TO YOU BY CONTACTING A LOCAL LEGAL AID OFFICE.
Date:June23-2011 Addressof Court Office: 161Elgin Street Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2K1
The Plaintiff, JoanneSt. Lewis, claims the following relief againstthe DefendantDenis Rancourt: (a)
generaldamagesfor defamationin the amountof $500,000;
aggravateddamagesfor defamationin the amountof $250,000;
punitive damagesfor defamationin the amountof $250,000;
an interlocutory injunction and a perrnanent injunction to restrain the Defendant from any further publication of the defamatory statements complainedof in this Statementof Claim;
an Order requiringthe Defendantto permanentlyremoveor take down the defamatorystatementscomplainedof in this Statementof Claim from any electronicdatabasewherethey are accessible;
an Order requiring the Defendant to assist the Plaintiff in obtaining the removal or take down of the defamatorystatementscomplainedof in this Statementof Claim from: Internetsearchenginecaches(such as Google); any electronicdatabasewhere the defamatorystatementsare accessible; and other Internetwebsitesoperatedby third parties;
a mandatory injunction requiring the Defendant to publish a full and complete retractionof the defamatorystatementscomplained of in this Statementof Claim and a full and complete apology approved by the Plaintiff;
pre and post-judgmentinterest on all amountsclaimed in accordancewith the Courts of JusticeAct;
costson a full indemnitybasis;and
suchfurther and otherrelief as this HonourableCourt may deemiust.
Professor Joanne St. Lewis
The Plaintiff JoanneSt. Lewis is an AssistantProfessorin the Common Law Sectionof the Law Faculty at the University of Ottawa ("ProfessorSt. Lewis") and residesin the City of Ottawa.ProfessorSt. Lewis obtainedher tenurein 2001. ProfessorSt. Lewis was called to the Bar of British Columbiain 1984and was admittedas a memberof the Law Societyof Upper Canadain 1997.
Professor St. Lewis is the Director of the POWER: Progress & Opportunities for Women's Equality Rights/Rfrica-Canada which is locatedat the Human Rights Research and EducationCentre of the University of Ottawa. The project is currently engagedin examining the links between sexual violence in the Coneo and the extractive industries/natural resourcesector.
ProfessorSt. Lewis' life work has been dedicatedto the promotion of equality rights in the law and legal culture, including racial and genderequality. ProfessorSt. Lewis has worked to promoteequalityrights in numerouscapacities,including as: (i) co-chair of the CanadianBar AssociationWorking Group on Racial Equality and author of the report Virtual Justice: SystemicRacismin the Canadian Legal Profession; (ii) Advisor to the Centrefor Research-Actionon RaceRelations(Montreal); (iii) Advisory Council memberof the CanadianLawyers for International Human fughts
(cLArHR); (iv) FacultyAdvisor to the Black Law StudentsAssociationof Canada(BLSAC;.
ProfessorSt. Lewis was the first and only Black womanto be electedas a Law Societyof Upper CanadaBencher in its 274 year history. ProfessorSt. Lewis served in various capacitiesincluding as Chair of the Equity and Aboriginal IssuesCommittee,Chair of the Human Rights Monitoring Group and Chair BicentennialReporl Working Group.
Professor St. Lewis was the founding Director of the Education Equity Program at the Faculty of Law in 1989. Prior to that sheheld positionsas the ExecutiveAssistantto the
Chief Commissionerof the OntarioHumanRights Commissionand was a RaceRelations Consultant with the Ontario Race Relations Directorate. In 1986, she was the Executive Assistant to the Grand Chief of the Crees of Quebec where she contributed to the negotiationsof the $100 million 1986La GrandeAgreement. 7.
ProfessorSt. Lewis has been involved in the developmentof anti-racistdecision-making since 1990. Her paper "Meeting at the Crossroads:Judicial Decision-Making in a Racially SensitiveContext" for the CanadianJudicial Centre (CJC) was the catalystfor the creation of the first anti-racismtraining video for federally appointedJudges. She also servedas a member of the Social ContextEducationCuniculum Committeeof the National Judicial Institute (successorto the CJC) and conducted national training programsfor the Judges.
Professor St. Lewis served as a technicalAdvisor to the World Council of Churches, Programme to Combat Racism in 1990-1991 including participating in their first ContinentalConsultationon Racismin the Americasand the Caribbean.
In 1992, she becamethe first woman of colour to serveas the ExecutiveDirector of the Women's Legal Educationand Action Fund (LEAF).
From 1992-94,ProfessorSt. Lewis was a steeringcommitteemember of the AfricanCanadianLegal Clinic where shewas a key personon the strategicteam that lead to the formation and funding by the Governmentof Ontario of a legal clinic devotedto using a test caselitigation strategyto addressracism againstAfrican-Canadians.
ProfessorSt. Lewis was the SpecialAdvisor on Race Relationsto the Deputy Attorney General (Ontario). Her work lead to the formation of the ground-breakingCommission on SystemicRacismin the OntarioCriminal JusticeSystemand its report in 1995.
In 1996, ProfessorSt. Lewis was askedto preparean Extemal Review Report of the IndigenousBlack and Mi'kmaq Programat DalhousieUniversity by then Vice-President (Academicand Research)DeborahHobson.
ProfessorSt. Lewis's participationin a conferencefor CBC foreign correspondentslead to her contribution of a chapter entitled "The Role of Black Consciousnessin North American Nation States"in Clash of ldentities: Media, Manipulation and the Politics of the Self by JamesLittleton in 1996.She has commentedextensivelyon issuesrelatedto racism and social policy including: CBC SundayEdition (2006) on Youth, Crime and Jamaican Culture; CBC The Docket (2003) on Racial Profiling, and was a regular commentatoron CBC Morninssidewith PeterGzowski.
ProfessorSt. Lewis preparedan independentreport for the Manitoba Justice Inquiry ImplementationCommissionon Aboriginal Peoplesand EmploymentEquity in 2000.
ProfessorSt. Lewis has a commitmentto independentmedia which beganwith her work with the IndependentWorld Television founders in 2004. She assisted with the developmentof their SouthernAfrica network while on her sabbaticalin South Africa in 2004. In 2005, she servedas the IWT host at a Beverly Hills eventattendedby over 200 guestswhere Gore Vidal was the specialguest.Her contributionssupportedthe launchof u,rvrv.tlrerealnervs. com in 2007.
In 2007, ProfessorSt. Lewis \ /as a panellist on the Abolition and the Eradication of Racial Discrimination in a youth forum hosted by then Govemor-General, Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, entitled From the Abolition of the Slave Trade to the Eliminationof RacialDiscrimination.
ProfessorSt. Lewis has also participatedin work relatingto the intersectionbetweenart and racist representation. In 2008 she servedas faculty advisorand artist participantin an of Womeno,f Colour in exhibit entitled CorrectiveLenses:ChallengingRepresentations ArI.
In March 2008, ProfessorSt. Lewis hosteda seriesof eventssponsoredby the Ministry of Citizenship(Ontario)and at the requestof The Hon. JeanAugustine,then Chair of the Ontario BicentenaryCommemorativeCommitteeon the Abolition of the SlaveTradeAct and Ontario FairnessCommissioner.She hosteda seriesof events(Routesto Freedom) including the largest Canadianinternationalconferenceon the matter, a youth forum and
documentary film festival, a two-week art exhibit and a reception for heads of mission from countries affected by the slave trade. She organized a gala fundraiser, attendedby Danny Glover, actor and Presidentof the TransAFrica Forum, to launch the formation of the Routes to FreedomGraduateLaw Scholarshiofor studentsfrom Africa.
Professor St. Lewis' work and contributions to the community in her role as a national expert in the area of anti-racist decision-makingand critical race theory have been acknowledgedby her peersand the broadercommunity. She is the recipient of the 2001 Canadian Association of Black Lauyers Recognition Award of Black Women's Contribution to the Law, the 2008 DTeamKEEPERS Life AchievementAward from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Coalition,the 2009 CanadianAssociationof Black Lawyers OutstandingAchievementAward, and was a 2009 HonouredChampion by the United Nations Association of Canada celebrating the l00th anniversary of International Women'sDay.
ProfessorSt. Lewis'work is recognizedinternationally.In August 2071, sheis scheduled to teach in an Executive Program on Counter-Tenorismat the University of South California in August 2011,and in that capacitywill leadthe sectionon human factors(or racial profiling) for an international group of participants who are actively engaged in policiesin their respectivejurisdictions. implementingcounter-terrorism
Professor St. Lewis is one of the founding members of the Black Women's Civic EngagementNetwork which has created two awards that celebratethe contribution of Black women to Canadianpublic life. She has receivedawards and spoken nrunerous times at Black History Month celebrationswhich are intendedto bring awarenessabout the contributionof Black peoplesto the socialfabric of Canadiansociety. Denis Rancourt
The Defendant Denis Rancourt is a former professor at the University of Ottawa. Mr. which he Rancourt publishesa blog entitled U of O Watch (uofowatch.blogspot.com) claims is "devoted to transparencyat the University of Ottawa" and "exposesinstitutional
behaviow that is not consistentwith the public good". The blog containsa multiplicity of attackson the reputation of Allan Rock, the Presidentof the University of Ottawa. Student Appeal Centre Report zJ.
In November, 2008, ProfessorSt. Lewis was serving as Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa, when she was asked to prepare an evaluation of a report by the StudentAppeal Centre of the StudentFederation of the University of Ottawa ("Student Appeal Centre Report"). The Student Appeal CentreReport,which had beenpublicly releasedto the media, accusedthe University of Ottawa of systemicracismin its handlingof academicfraud complaintsagainststudents.
ProfessorSt. Lewis' point of contactwith the University during the preparationof the evaluation was with then Vice-PresidentAcademic,Robert Major. ProfessorSt. Lewis did not request,was not offered,and did not receiveany compensationfor the work she did in the evaluation of the StudentAppeal CentreReport.
In the courseof conductingthe evaluationof the StudentAppeal CentreReport,Professor St. Lewis met with representatives of the StudentAppeal Centre and requestedrecords and data necessaryto conductthe evaluation,including,definitionsfor key terms such as "visible minority". The StudentAppeal Centredid not provide ProfessorSt. Lewis any data to assistin her evaluationof the StudentAppeal CentreReport.
ProfessorSt. Lewis' evaluationof the StudentAppeal Centre Report was releasedon November 25,2008 and was an advisory report - she had no decision-mukingpowers regarding the matters dealt with by the Student Appeal Centre Report. Professor St. Lewis concludedthat the StudentAppeal Centre Report was methodologicallyflawed, lacked substantiation, and failed to provide a sufficient foundation to enable the University of Ottawa to identify the specific areasof concern or to assessthe depth or existenceof a problem.
Of particular concern to Professor St. Lewis was the allegation in the Student Appeal Centre Report that a lack familiarity with the conceptsof plagiarism is inextricably tied to intemational or more particularlyexclusively Asian women students,a conclusionthat
could give rise to further stereotypingof these studentsas being more likely to commit academic fraud becauseof their educationalbackground.She also noted that there was a clear lack of familiarity with the University'sacademicfraud process.
Professor St. Lewis made recommendationsto deal with the serious allegations of possible systemicracism and proceduralunfairnessraisedby the StudentAppeal Centre Reoort.Recommendation#1 states: Recommendation1: Conduct an independentassessmentto determine whethersystemicracismplays any part in the AcademicFraudprocess. That SAC [Student Appeal Centre] cooperatewith the University in allowing it to undertakean independentanalysisof the Academic Fraud datato identify and addressany issuesof systemicracismin the Academic Fraud process.AII necessarymeasuresshould be taken to ensure the preservationof studentprivacy in the developmentof the report. The fact that the report did not succeedin its methodologicalattempts does not mean that there is not a problem that should be addressed.The University is bound by its obligationsunder the Ontario Human Rights Code andis committedto an inclusivecommunity. ProfessorSt. Lewis' evaluationmade nine other recommendations that were intendedto addressadministrativeor proceduralissuesallegedin the StudentAppeal CentreReport.
On a blog published in December2008, the StudentAppeals Offrce of the Student Appeal Centre characterizedProfessor St. Lewis' evaluation of the Student Appeal Centre Report as an attempt to discredit studentvoices, but also noted that "Professor St. that echo the SAC Report's Lewis concludesher report with ten (10) recommendations recommendationand demands".
In December2008, the DefendantDenis Rancourtpublishedstatementsabout Professor St. Lewis' evaluation of the StudentAppeal Centre Report on his UofOWatch blog. The December 2008 blog (which was republishedas part of his February 2011 blog) likened Professor St. Lewis' evaluation to academicfraud, and criticized the evaluation as The Defendantalso unprofessional,intellectuallydishonestand lacking in independence. predicted in his December 2008 blog that Professor St. Lewis was "in line for a promotion to AssociateProfessorsoon".
ProfessorSt. Lewis was madeawareof the existenceof the December2008 blog shortly after its publication, but did not open or readthe blog at that time, as she was unaware of any role that Denis Rancourt had in the preparationof the StudentAppeal Centre Report and could not see how responding to him would address the concerns and recommendationsshehad expressedin her evaluation.
Between December2008 and February 2011, ProfessorSt. Lewis received unsolicited emails from Denis Rancourt that were sent to many faculty members outlining his employmentdisputewith the University of Ottawawhich she did not read. ProfessorSt. Lewis doesnot know DenisRancourtpersonallyor professionally. The Februarv 11.2011U of O Watch Bloe
In February201I, Denis Rancourtsent an email to ProfessorSt. Lewis and University of Ottawa PresidentAllan Rock that provideda link to a blog entry containingProfessorSt. Lewis' narne, and invited ProfessorSt. Lewis to provide any lactual corrections or comments for posting on the blog. Consistentwith past practice, ProfessorSt. Lewis ignoredthe Defendant'sblog and email.
In the weeks following the email, ProfessorSt. Lewis was approachedby her colleagues, studentsand strangerswho informed her of a defamatoryblog postedby Denis Rancourt, and offered her their support. Consistentwith her past practice, Professor St. Lewis ignoredthe Defendant'sFebruary11,2011blog.
In April 2011, ProfessorSt. Lewis conducteda Google searchof her name and was horrified to discover that Denis Rancourt's February 2011 blog now appearedon the front page of the Google searchresults for "Joanne St. Lewis" and referred to her as Allan Rock's HouseNegro. The pageone Googlesearchresultreads:
U OF O WATCH: Did Professor,IaarzeSl" Ienis act as Allan Rock's... 11 Feb 7011 ... Did ProfessorJoanne St.Lev,isact as Allan Rock'shouse negro?Februaryis Black History Month in Canadaand the US. ... uofowatch.blogspot.com/.../did-professor-joanne-st-lewis-act-as.html Cached
Within two daysof ProfessorSt. Lewis' discoveryof the Googlesearchresult containing the racist and defamatory statementthat shewas a "House Negro", she discoveredthat its ranking changedfrom the fourth searchresult to the secondsearchresult on page one of her Google searchresults.indicatingthat measureswere takento give greaterprominence to the Defendant'sFebruaryI l" 201I blos.
The Defendant's February 17, 2011 blog publishes ProfessorSt. Lewis' photograph (which conveysto the world at largethat sheis Black) and the following text: Did Prol'essor.loanne St. Leu'isitctasAllan Rock'shouseneuro? Februar'f is Black History Month in Canadaand the LlS. UofOWatch believesthat it is the right time not only to honourBlack Americansu'lro lbught lor social.iusticeagainslnlaslersbut also to out Black Arnericans who rvereand continueto be housenegroesto masters. The term "houserlegro" was delined b-vMalcolm X in his famous "The HouseNegro andthe FieldNegro"speech(seevideobelow). The sane spirit prevailedwhen civil rights icon Ralph Nader suggested that US PresidentObamaneecled to decideif he q'asgoingto be an Uncle Torn:HERE. T'heStudentAppealCentre(SAC) of the studentunion at the Universityof Ottawa toda-vreleaseddocumentsobtainedby an accessto information (ATf ) requestthat suggestthat law prof-essor JoanneSt. Lewis actedlike presidentAllan Rock's housenegro when she enthusiastically toiled to discredita 2008 SAC report aboutsysterniclacial discrirninationat the r-uriversity. Seetoday'sSAC articleHERE. SeeATI documentsreleasedtoda,vby-the S,ACHERE. At the time. the St. Lervisreportrvascritiquedb.vUofOWatch:HERE. Tlie nervly releasedA'Il recordsare disturbingfar be1'ondthe nontenured profbssorSt. Lewis'uncon'tmon administration: zealto servethe universit-y The ATI recordsexposea high level coverup orchestrated by Allan Rock himself to hide the tact that tlre St. Lewis efforls were an\,thing but "independent",as shecharacterizes her reporton the first page.
The SAC article posted today' quotes Rock from the ATI documents explaining to his staff how to preseruethe appearanceof an independent report and the impofiance of presen'ing this appearance.in tme experiencedlbderalpolitician style. This is a most damningrevelationagainstthe former Minister of Justice and lbnner CanadianAmbassadolto the tinited Nations. one that should distr-rrbany universit-vstudentleamingaboutprofessionalethics. Ironically', the oliginal SAC repon \\ras about racial discrimination regarding acadernic fi'aud appeals: such as rvhen an academic misrepresentshis/her u,ork as "independent"when it is veriflably and lactuallynot "independent" (by any stretch!). ForrnerVP-AcadernicRobert Maior is alsofound statingto a concerned studentthat the "independent"St. Lervis report rryill definitively resolve the natter iof tire troublesorneSAC report).in his No'r'ernber2008 email Major actuallysays: "The UniyersiU, has rec:eiyecland v,ill make pttblic this v,eek an et,aluation, by an inclependentussessor,oJ' rhe report oJ the Student ,4ppealsOenlre.I beliet,ethis onalysisu,ill dnsv)er7,ourcluestionson tJrc munclateof the SenuteAppeals Commiueeand on the v,hole appeals process.I inviteyolt to read it corefully." Whentlte bosseshavesuchhigh professional ethicsu,hy u,ouldprofessors be any'difl-erent?
The DefendantDenis Rancourtfalsely and maliciously publishedthe following highly offensive,racist and defamatorystatementsof and concerningProfessorSt. Lewis in the February 11, 2011 blog entitled "Did ProfessorJoanneSt. Lewis act as Allan Rock's housenegro": "Did ProfessorJomne
In their natural and ordinary meaning,the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. actedas a "slave" to her white "master" (Universitv of Ottawa PresidentAllan Rock):
b. acted in a sen ile mannertoward PresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the University of Ottawa; c. acted in an inauthenticmannertoward PresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the Universitv of Ottawa: d. forfeited her cultural and racial identity, heritageand/or traditions to servethe interestsof PresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the University of Ottawa; e. supportsraclsm; f.
cooperatesin the denigrationof Black peopleor otherminoritiesin orderto gain a privilegedposition or for personalgain or advantage;
g. has betrayedBlack peopleor other minoritiesin orderto gain a privileged position at the University of Ottawaor for personalgain or advantage; h. lacks integrity; i.
was biasedin the conductand authoringof her evaluationof the SAC Report.
"February is Black History Month in Canadaand the US. UofOWatch believes
that it is the risht time not only to honour Black Americanswho fought for socialjustice against mastersbut also to out Black Americanswho were and continue to be house negroesto masters." ln their natural and ordinarv meanins-the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. needsto be "outed" for acting in a servile and inauthenticmannertoward PresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the Universitv of Ottawa: b. needsto be "outed" for forfeiting her cultural and racial identity, heritage and/or traditions to servethe interestsof University of Ottawa PresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the Universityof Ottawa;
c. needsto be "outed" for supportingracism and cooperating in the denigration of Black peopleor otherminoritiesin orderto gain a privilegedposition or for personalgain or advantage; d. needs to be "outed" for betraying Black people or other minorities in order to gain a privilegedpositionor for personalgain or advantage; e. is a fraud: f.
g. is a sell out to the Black community; h. sold herselfout to the Presidentof the Universitv of Ottawa: i. iii.
falselymisrepresents her actualbeliefsaboutBlacks.
"The samespirit prevailedwhen civil riehts icon RalphNader suggestedthat US
PresidentObamaneededto decideif he was going to be an Uncle Tom." ln their natural and ordinary meaning,the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. hasabasedherselfon this or previousoccasions; b. has actedin an abjectly servile and deferentialmannerto, PresidentAllan Rock and the Universitv of Ottawa: c. hasput the interestsof the University of Ottawa aheadof the interestsof Black personsor other minoritiesin orderto servethe interestsof President Allan Rock and the Universitv of Ottawa.
"The Student Appeal Centre ("SAC") of the student union at the Universitv of Ottawa
today releaseddocumentsobtainedby an accessto information("ATI") requestthat susgestthat law professor Joanne St. Lewis acted like PresidentAllan Rock's house nesro when she enthusiasticallytoiled to discredita 2008 SAC reportabout s)'stemicracial discriminationat the universitv".
In their natural and ordinary meaning.the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. actedas a "slave" to her white "master" (Universitv of Ottawa President Allan Rock): b. actedin a servilemannertoward University of OttawaPresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the University of Ottawa; c. actedin an inauthenticmannertoward University of Ottawa President Allan Rock (a white male) and the University of Ottawa; d. forfeited her cultural and racial identity, heritageand/or traditions to serve the interestsof University of OttawaPresidentAllan Rock (a white male) and the University of Ottawa: e. supportedracism; f.
cooperatedin the denigrationof Black peopleor otherminorities in order to gain a privilegedpositionor for personalgain or advantage;
g. betrayedBlack peopleor otherminoritiesin order to gain a privileged positionor for personalgain or advantage; h. conductedand authoredan evaluationof the StudentAppeal Centre Reportthat was disingenuousor deceitfulin order to promotethe interests of Universityof OttawaPresidentAllan Rock, the University of Ottawa and/orherself; i.
sold herselfout to the Presidentof the University of Ottawa:
actedr,l'ithoutintegrity in conductingand authoring her evaluation of the StudentAppeal Centre Report;
k. was biasedin conducting and authoringher evaluationof the SAC Report.
"The newly releasedATI recordsare disturbingfar beyondthe nontenuredprofessorSt.
Lewis' uncommonzeal to servethe universityadministration"
In their nafural and ordinary meaning,the words ProfessorSt. Lewis:
meant and were understoodto mean that
a. conducted and authored her evaluation of the Student Appeal Centre Report with a view to obtaining tenure, a promotion, or other personal benefitor gain; b. conducted and authored an evaluation of the Student Appear centre Report that was disingenuousor deceitful in order to promote her self interest or the interestsof universif of ottawa president Allan Rock and/or the University of Ottawa; c. actedwithout integrity in conductingand authoringher evaluationof the StudentAppeal CentreReport; d. was biasedin conductingand authoringthe evaluationof the vl.
ide the fact
Lewis effofts were
In their natural and ordinary meaning,the words
meant and were understoodto mean that
ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. participatedin a high level coverup of wrongdoing: b . was biased; L.
was dishonestin her evaluationof the SAC Report;
d. conducted and authored an evaluation of the SAC Report that was disingenuousor deceitful in_order to promotethe interests of Allan Rock, the University of Ottawaand/orherseif; e . acted_withoutintegrity in conducting and authoring her evaluation of the SAC Report.
In their natural and ordinary meaning,the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: was biased; b . acted without integrity in conducting and authoring her evaluation of the SAC Report; was dishonest in conducting and authoring an evaluation of the SAC Report; d. conducted and authored an evaluation of the SAC Report that was disingenuousor deceitfulin order to promotethe interestsof Allan Rock, the University of Ottawa and/or herself.
The Commentspostedin reactionto the February1I,2011 U of O Watch blog include: (i) "This is the most absurdlyracistthing I've everread.Pleaserefrain from using freedom of speechas a curtain to hide behind when making suchmaliciousand racistcomments". (ii) "'Who are you to use that term? Your racist commenthas lost all validity of any other critique you are trying to make. And for the record, I doubt Malcolm X would havebeenonsidewith you aboutthis one". (iii) "CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE RANCOURT causethis is straisht up racist". (iv) "... For you, as a privileged white man; to believe that you have the insight into the black struggleto know when a black individual is or is not behavingaccordingto your arbitrarycode of black behavioris stupid. Your communication and intent IS racist and rooted in your own ignorance.You patheticallyhigh-jackedblack history month in order to further your own agenda.It is not racist that you, as a white man, are unable to call a black person a house negro. In fact, it is racist that you think you can."
Mav 16.2011Notice 40.
Counselfor ProfessorSt. Lewis servedMr. Rancourtwith a Noticeon May 16, 2011 whichstates:
1. We are counsel for Joanne St. Lewis regarding publications authored by you and posted on your website "IJ of O Watch": http://uoforvatch.blogspot.com/search/label/Joarine%20St.o%20Le\a'is. 2. "U of O Watch" purports to exposeinstitutional behaviour that is not consistent with the public good. Your website contains false, defamatoryand highly offensive racist statementsabout Ms. St. Lewis. You have actedmaliciouslyand with callousdisregardfor Ms. St. Lewis' personal and professional reputation by publishing these defamatory statementswhich include: (i) Did ProfessorJoanneSt. Lewis act as Allan Rock's house negro? (ii) law professorJoanneSt. Lewis acted like PresidentAtlan Rock's housenegro when she enthusiasticallytoiled to discredita 2008 SAC Report about systemic racial discrimination at the university (iii) the newly releasedATI recordsare disturbing far beyond the non-tenuredprofessorSt. Lewis' uncommon zeal to servethe university administration.The ATI records expose a high level cover up orchestratedby Allan Rock himself to hide the fact that the St. Lewis efforts were anlthing but "independent", as she charactenzesher report on the first page. (iv) when the bosseshave such high professionalethics why would professorsbe any different? 3. Without prejudiceto Ms. St. Lewis' right to commencean action against you and to attempt to mitigate the damages your defamatory statements have caused Ms. St. Lewis, we demand that the false, defamatoryand highly offensiveracist statementsabout Ms. St. Lewis be immediatelytakendown. The May 18. 20l l U of O Watch Bloe
In a flagrant and reckless disregardof the May 16, 2011 Notice from the Plaintifls counsel, the Defendant refusedto take down his defamatory statements,posted the May 16, 2071 Notice (referring to the Notice as a "new threat"), and published additional defamatory statementsaboutProfessorSt. Lewis on his blog.
In a blog dated May 18, 2011 entitled "Top dog Canadafreedom of the press lawyer targets U of O Watch blog", the Defendant falsely and maliciously published the following racist and defamatorystatementsof and concerningProfessorSt. Lewis. I did not sav that Prof. St. Lewis actedlike a housenegro becauseshe is black. I said it becauseit was reasonableto concludein the matter that she acted like a house ne8ro and becauseit is my reasonedopinion that sheactedlike a houseneero.Shedid so that alerted the univ its now more than evidentproblem of systemicracism: See all posts of U of O racism HERE". In their natural and ordinary meaning,the words meant and were understoodto mean that ProfessorSt. Lewis: a. actedas a "slave" to her white "master"(Universitvof OttawaPresidentAllan Rock): b. actedin a servilemannertowardthe University of Ottawaand PresidentAllan Rock when conductingand authoringher evaluationof the SAC Report; c. actedin an inauthenticmannertoward the University of Ottawa and President Allan Rock when conductingand authoringher evaluationof the SAC Report; d. forfeited her cultural and racial identity, heritageand traditions to servethe University of Ottawa's interestsin discreditingthe StudentAppeal Centre Report; e. supportsracism; cooperatesin the denigrationof Black peopleor otherminoritiesin orderto gain a privilegedpositionor for personalgain or advantage; o
hasbetrayedBlack peopleor otherminoritiesin orderto gain a privileged position or for personalgain or advantage;
h. lacks integrity;
was biasedin the conduct and authorins of her evaluationof the Student Appeal Centre Report.
The May 18, 2011blog republishes the February11,201I blog by linking to the content of the February 11, 2011 blog, as follows: "Here, now, Dearden finds himself threatening an untenablecaseabout THIS blog post concerningprofessorJoanneSt. Lewis". The Plaintiff repeatsand reliesupon all of the meaningspleadedaboveregarding the defamatorystatementspublishedin the Februaryll,2011 blog. Mav 20.2011Notice
In responseto the Defendant'sMay 18,2011blog, counselfor ProfessorSt. Lewis served the DefendantMr. Rancourtwith anotherNotice datedMay 20.2011: i. In a flagrant and recklessdisregardof my letter dated May 16th notifuing you to take down your defamatory statementsabout Professor Joanne St. Lewis, you have responded by publishingadditional defamatory statements.And for the record,my letter is not a "threat" as you statein yesterday'spublication.My lettersare noticesto you to cease defaming Professor St. Lewis and to immediately take down those defamatorystatements. 2. Your additional defamatory and offensive statementsin your U of O Watchblog include: "l did not say that Prof. St. Lewis actedlike a housenegrobecause she is black. I said it becauseit was reasonableto concludein the matter that she acted like a house negro and because it is my reasonedopinionthat sheactedlike a housenegro. She did so while attempting to discredit a 2008 student uilon report that alerted the university to its now more than evident problem of systemic racisms: See all posts of U of O racism HERE''. 3. You are notified that your blog of yesterday is defamatory, offensive, malicious and seriously damaging to Professor St. Lewis' reputation. Take it down immediately. As previously notified, do not deleteor destroyany recordspertainingto your blog regardingthis matter.
M a v 2 3 . 2 0 1 1B I o e
In a flagrant and recklessdisregardof the May 20,2011 Notice from counsel for the Plaintiff, the Defendant refusedto take down his defamatory statementsabout Professor St. Lewis and publisheda blog dated May 23,2011 entitled : "U of O Watch update: Richard Dearden Promises to Sue". The Defendant posted on his blog the email exchangesbetween him and counsel for the Plaintiff during the period May 20,20II May 23.2011. The Defendanthas also postedthe May 16 and 20,2011 Noticesfrom counselfor the Plaintiff on his blos.
As of the date of the issuanceof the Statementof Claim, the defamatorystatementsabout ProfessorSt. Lewis have not beentaken down by the Defendantand he has not published a retraction and apology. Further, as of the date of the issuanceof this Statementof Claim, a Google search of "Joanne St. Lewis" will rank the Defendant's racist and defamatory"HouseNegro" blog (FebruaryI 1,2011) as the seconditem on page 1 of the Google searchresultsfor "JoanneSt. Lewis". This prominentGoogle searchresult states in part "l I Feb 201I ... Did ProfessorJoanneSt. Lewis act as Allan Rock's housenegro? Februaryis Black HistoryMonth in Canadaandthe US..." Legal Innuendoes
In addition to the naturaland ordinary meaningsset out above,the Plaintiff will prove at the trial of this actionthat the racial slur "HouseNegro" usedin its historical contexthas a profound and potentmeaningto Black personsin Canada,and bearsthe following true or legal innuendoswhen publishedto membersof the Black community in Canada;a "HouseNegro" is: a. a personwho is a racetraitor; b. a personwho is a pariahin the Black community; c. a person who by their actions is consideredto be separatedfrom the Black community and to have forfeited their social iclentitywith the Black community;
d. a person who has severedtheir bond with the Black community and their racial and cultural heritage. Identification of the Plaintiff 48.
The defamatory statementsset out in this Statementof Claim refer to ProfessorSt. Lewis and are of and concerninsProfessorSt. Lewis. Malice
There was no valid justification for the Defendantto include any referenceto Professor St. Lewis' race as part of his publicationsabout ProfessorSt. Lewis' evaluationof the Student Appeal Centre Report. The Defendantpublisheda photographof ProfessorSt. Lewis to deliberatelylet the world know that she was Black. The Defendantis a white male. The Defendantknew the meaningof the racial slur "HouseNegro" and deliberately ensuredthat everyonereadinghis blog knew the meaningof the slur by incorporatinga link to Malcolm X's HouseNegro/FieldNegro speech.The use of the racially defamatory slut "House Negro" by a White personagainsta Black personis racist,and constitutesa racially motivatedappropriationof a slur that has a profound and potent meaning when used in the historical context of Malcolm X's House Negro/Field Negro speech.The Defendant'sdefamatoryand racist statementswhich he refusesto take down are reckless, spiteful, excessiveand were intendedto causeseriousdamageto ProfessorSt. Lewis' reputation.
The Defendant published the racist slur "House Negro" in its historical context by including in his blog a link to a YouTube video in which Malcolm X usesthe slur to characterizethe House Negro as a Black person who participatesin the denigration and oppressionof other Black people.The Defendant'suse of the racial slur "House Negro" was knowing and deliberate and was calculated to cause the maximum damage to ProfessorSt. Lewis, a Black personwho has devotedher life's work to the promotion of equality. The Defendanthas maliciously accusedProfessorSt. Lewis of betraying her Black community by being a HouseNegro to the Presidentof the University of Ottawa (the white male "master"). The excessivedefamatory statementsmaliciously attack
ProfessorSt. Lewis' credibilityin the Black communityand her bond with the Black communitythat is socrucialto her personalandprofessional reputation. 51.
The Defendant published the defamatory statementsabout Professor St. Lewis for an indirect motive, ulterior purpose and improper purpose. The Defendant defamed Professor St. Lewis in furtheranceof his personalanimosity towards PresidentAllan Rock and the University of Ottawa which terminatedhim as a Professor.The Defendant was not criticizing ProfessorSt. Lewis' evaluationof the StudentAppeal CentreReporthe attacked her as an individual. The Defendantmaliciously portrayed Professor St. Lewis as the "House Negro" to the University of Ottawa's white male Presidentto denigrate her as a human being and to convey that she was putting the "fix" in for her white male "master" when she conducted and authored her evaluation of the Student Appeal Centre Report.
The Defendant's blog intentionally omits portions of ProfessorSt. Lewis' evaluation (such as Recommendation1) that contradicthis defamatorystatements.The Defendant never interviewed ProfessorSt. Lewis before he published his defamatory statements. The Defendant'sblogs were irresponsiblepublications.
The Defendantactedwith malice by ignoring the May l6 and 20,2011 Notices from the Plaintiff s counselthat he immediatelyremove and take down the false, defamatoryand highly offensive racist statementshe published about the Plaintiff. Further, he also republished the original defamatory publication (February i 7, 2071) and published additional highly offensive and racist defamatory statements about the Plaintiff in responseto the May 16, 2011 Notice from counsel for Professor St. Lewis. The Defendantcontinuesto ignorethe NoticesdatedMay 16,2011 and May 20,2011 that demandedthat he immediately take down the false and defamatory statements.Further, the Defendant has not retracted his defamatory statementsand has not apoiogized to ProfessorSt. Lewis.
Stepshave beentakento havethe Defendant'sFebruary11, 2011 blog appearon the first page of the Google searchresults for "Joanne St. Lewis", with the intention of having personswho Google search"JoanneSt. Lewis" to read that she is a "House Negro" to
University of Ottawa PresidentAllan Rock. The traffic on the blog containing the racist slur far exceedsthe traffic for any other blog by the Defendant.The Defendanthas sought to exploit ProfessorSt. Lewis'public prohle and reputationto gain attentionto his blog and his grievanceswith the University of Ottawa and PresidentAllan Rock. Coupling the racist insults to Black History Month and a prominent Black intellectual was also exploitativein nature. Iniunction
ProfessorSt. Lewis is a lawyer who works in the field of socialjustice. She is a national expert in the area of anti-racistdecision-makingand critical race theory. Her work and contributionsto community have been acknowledgedby her peersand the community. She is the recipient of numerousawards, including the 2001 CanadianAssociation of Black Lawyers RecognitionAward of Black Women's Contribution to the Law. 2008 DTeamKEEPERSLife Achievement Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Coalition, 2009 CanadianAssociation of Black Lawyers Outstanding Achievement Award and a 2009 HonouredChampionby the United Nations Associationof Canada celebratingthe l00th anniversaryof InternationalWomen'sDay.
ProfessorSt. Lewis'work extendsbeyondthe boundariesof the University of Ottawa and Canada. For instance, ProfessorSt. Lewis will teach in an Executive Program on Counter-Terrorismat the University of South California in August 2011. She leads the section on human factors (or racial profiling) for an international group of participants who are actively engagedin implementingcounter-terrorismpolicies in their respective jurisdictions. In past years,ProfessorSt. Lewis has beenthe sole Canadianinstructor in the program and the only Black woman. The class will be international in nature. It would not be unexpectedfor participantsto Googlesearchtheir instructor.The continued presence of the Defendant's defamatory statementswill have a chilling effect on future students,colleagues,communitymembersand thosewho might seekProfessorSt. Lewis for
speaking engagements or consultations in
corporations.This damageis irreparable.
govemment, organizations and
Steps have been taken to give major prominence to the Defendant's attack on the reputationof ProfessorSt. Lewis by havingthe Defendant'sblog appearon the first page of the Google searchresultsfor "JoanneSt. Lewis". An injunction must issueto compel the Defendant to take down his racist and defamatory publications and to prevent the Defendantfrom continuinghis flagrant and recklessdisregardof the Plaintiffs personal and professionalreputation. Damages
The Defendant's publication of the defamatory statementscomplained of in this Statementof Claim have exposedProfessorSt. Lewis to contempt,ridicule and hatred, and were calculatedto lower ProfessorSt. Lewis' personalreputationand professional reputation in the estimation of right thinking persons generally. The Defendant has causedmental distressto ProfessorSt. Lewis by targetingher with his false, malicious and racist attack on her character, by denigrating her professionalwork through use of her racial and cultural identity as a Black woman, and by attacking her affiliation and bond with the Black communitywith which she identifiesby calling her a HouseNegro. The defamatorystatementshave severelydamagedProfessorSt. Lewis' reputationand have causedand will continueto causedamage,loss and injury to ProfessorSt. Lewis.
The Defendant'sconductand actionshaveaggravatedthe Plaintiff s damages.
The Defendant'sconductand actionsare reprehensible,insulting,high-handed,spiteful, and outrageous. Such conduct warrants condemnation by this Court by means of an award of punitive damages.ProfessorSt. Lewis will rely upon the entire conduct of the Defendant before and after the May 16, 2011 Notice to the date of judgment in this action. In the event that punitive damagesare awarded against the Defendant, Professor St. Lewis will donatehalf of the award of punitive damagesto the Danny Glover Routes To Freedom GraduateLaw StudentScholarshipFund.
Placeof Trial 61.
ProfessorSt. Lewis requeststhat the trial of this actiontake placein the City of Ottawa.
D a t e :J u n e23 ,2 0 1I
Gowling Lafleur HendersonLLP Barristersand Solicitors 160Elgin Street,Suite2600 Ottawa,ON KIP 1C3 Richard G. Dearden(LSUC #019087H) T e l : ( 6 1 3 )7 8 6 - 0 1 3 5 F a x : ( 6 1 3 )7 8 8 - 3 4 3 0 Wendy J. Wagner (LSUC # 46380Q) Tel: (613\ 786-0213 Fax: (613)788-3642
Counselfor the Plaintiff