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NDP Anti-SLAPP Act of 2015 Introduced by Leonard Krog, MLA

"I am very pleased today to re-introduce the Anti-SLAPP act. SLAPP is an acronym which stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. These lawsuits are very damaging to a free and democratic society as they attempt to limit free speech by attacking individuals expressing and demonstrating their concerns on issues and projects affecting our province.

British Columbians have a strong (and wonderful) tradition of expressing themselves regarding matters of public interest. Sometimes this public expression is inconvenient and problematic for companies and governments too. However it is not acceptable that a party pushing a particular agenda can exert undue interference and try to shut down that expression or intimidate the public through SLAPP suits.

SLAPPs are often baseless lawsuits which target organizations and individuals purely to force them to waste resources and time to defend themselves from these baseless attacks, and thus to constrain their continued active public participation. These lawsuits also act as further intimidation of other citizens who might be wanting to also demonstrate their concerns on issues such as the protection of agricultural land, water quality, and broader environmental issues.
This bill, the Anti-SLAPP Act, would protect British Columbians from these lawsuits of questionable merit filed specifically for purposes of putting a chill on citizens who for the betterment of the public interest wish to exercise their right to express and demonstrate their concerns about a particular project, company or policy. I should point out, Madam Speaker, that it does not protect individuals who willingly damage property or inflict physical injury. This Act only protects peaceful protestors exercising their right to associate and express their opinion.

Promoting the freedom of the public to participate in matters of public interest should be one of the main goals of government as it is the foundation of a working democracy. People and organizations who care about this province enough to be active and vocal should be protected from frivolous, predatory lawsuits and this bill affords them that protection." Leonard Krog, MLA

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