A lawyer representing People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier has released a legal letter sent to Warren Kinsella calling on him to immediately remove “defamatory statements” about his client.
The letter shared by lawyer and former Ontario ombudsman André Marin mentions three articles posted on Kinsella’s blog, “The War Room,” which allegedly paint Bernier as racist.
“These statements are false and malicious,” writes Marin.
“You should publicly retract these false and defamatory statements immediately by posting a withdrawal of these statements, as well as an unreserved apology to our client in a conspicuous place on your blog (which will remain posted for 365 days).”
The claims have not been tested in court. True North reached out to Kinsella by email but had not heard back by the time the article was published.
One article titled “Is Maxime Bernier a racist?” was posted on February 23, 2019. In the article, Kinsella compares Bernier’s rhetoric on immigration and refugees to Donald Trump and American white supremacist David Duke.
“Is it necessary, at the end of all this, to label Maxime Bernier a racist? Do we really need to prove that he is a telegenic bigot who panders to the worst in people?” writes Kinsella in the blog post.
“No. By his words, and by his deeds, we all know who Maxime Bernier is.”
In another article identified in the legal notice, Kinsella says “Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party are indisputably racist,” and refers to them as “bigots” with “anti-Semitic and homophobic members.”
In response to the notice, Kinsella claimed in a blog post titled “Bernier vs. Kinsella that he will not be apologizing or issuing a retraction, indicating he’s retained legal counsel.
True North reached out to Marin for comment on Kinsella’s refusal to apologize and retract the messages.
“The wise thing to do would be to apologize and retract the false statements. This is not a PR stunt, this is not to raise money for the People’s Party, this is the real deal,” said Marin.
When asked why Kinsella’s other comments, including those made in the Globe and Mail recordings, were not included in the legal notice, Marin said that they kept it simple in order to make it easier for him to retract his claim.
“If Mr. Kinsella refuses to apologize, we’ll go to the next stage and do a statement of claim and everything is going to be in there,” said Marin.
Last month, as reported on by True North, Kinsella received a bomb threat from a man claiming to be a member of the far-right. In a recorded phone call during the incident, the suspect is heard demanding for Kinsella to publicly say that he received “foreign funds” to engage in a “smear campaign against Maxime Bernier.
An October report by the Globe and Mail detailed how Kinsella’s firm Daisy Group was hired to engage in a campaign meant to depict Bernier as racist. Secret recordings were later released by the CBC in which Kinsella can reportedly be heard instructing employees to attack Bernier.