Monday, April 6, 2015

Interview with Alan Dutton (Part One)- #stoptheslapp

Here's the first of a two part interview with Alan Dutton. We talk about SLAPP suits, corporate responsibility, the green economy, and other similar subjects.

1. Can you explain more about what a SLAPP lawsuit is?-
Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP). It represents a clear and present danger against our democratic rights. It is usually launched by big corporations to stop people from protesting, especially upon public issues. This is very dangerous, and we need to have law reform to stop these types of lawsuits from suppressing our rights.

2. What is your opinion about corporate responsibility- 
Corporations are so powerful, and there is so much money involved. There is a clear responsibility to listen to people, and to see the environmental issues that are occurring from their actions, but what is happening is that these corporations are running amok. They are buying elections and political parties, and by doing so, they are bypassing the democratic process. This is compounded by bill C-51 and SLAPP suits. These bills, and these corporations are using the law to curtail our rights.

3. What are your thoughts on Bill C-51 and Bill C-639- 
With Bill C-51, there is a huge collection of recommendations. If passed, it will have a dramatic effect on everyone's rights under law. Firstly, it will increase role of CSIS (one of the intelligence agencies in Canada). It will give power to CSIS to intervene in the lives of ordinary individuals. Another one is the rights of the RCMP to hold individuals for indeterminate times without a proper cause. They will investigate individuals without proper oversight. The big issue is that there should be parliamentary oversight. We need to elect people to govern, and have parliamentary oversight . Most countries have a form of parliamentary oversight over intelligence agencies, and so we’re far behind these countries (US, New Zealand, Australia). In terms of parliamentary oversight. ours is extremely right-wing, and has crossed the line in terms of oversight over intelligence gathering.

4. Tell us a bit more about yourself, and your role right now- 
I'm working with Kwantlen regarding law reform. We are looking to discuss a change of legislation in rules of the courts, so judges can identify whether or not litigation is in the form of a SLAPP suit, or if it's legitimate. If court rooms are preventing reform, and if corporations try to suppress rights, there must be penalties. We can't allow corporations to run amok. We can't have persecution on free speech. Now, in terms of what I'm doing. In the early 1990's, there was anti-SLAPP legislation brought in by Ujjal Dosanjh. As soon as the liberals were elected, the legislation was lost. Other provinces such as Quebec have legislation to stop SLAPP suits, but in BC, we have another right-wing government. We hope they will enact legislation that will stop SLAPP suits, and we are also hoping that the liberal government of BC will agree for the need for law reform. I doubt they will though. If the government does not pass anti-SLAPP legislation, we have to wait for a government that will enact anti-SLAPP legislation. My role is to create a provincial campaign to show people the need for anti-SLAPP legislation. I want to make everyone see the issue. Through education, Kwantlen and the anti-slapp suit movement will help try to stop the issue of SLAPP suits in our society.

Stay tuned for part two of our interview!

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