Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault owes Ezra Levant $20,000 and still hasn’t paid it, the firebrand media commentator says.
A Federal Court judge signed off on an agreement stipulating Guilbeault must unblock Levant on X (formerly Twitter) in a September decision which also required Guilbeault and the federal government to pay Levant’s legal costs to the tune of $20,000.
Justice Russel Zinn ordered the payment from Guilbeault to be made within 90 days in his Sept. 11 decision. With just 12 days to go until the Dec. 10 deadline, Levant says he hasn’t yet seen a penny.
“Hey deadbeat. Yeah you. Just a few more days to pay me the $20,000 you owe me or you’ll be in contempt of court — and I’ll come seize your limousine to sell it,” Levant posted on X, sharing a post from Guilbeault about biodiversity loss in British Columbia.
Guilbeault’s press secretary did not respond to a request for comment.
Levant filed a lawsuit against Guilbeault in 2021 after being blocked by Guilbeault on X. He alleged in the suit that it violated his ability to engage in debate and effectively act as a journalist with regard to Guilbeault, a Liberal member of Parliament and federal cabinet minister.
Levant and the federal government reached an agreement that Zinn approved requiring Guilbeault to immediately unblock Levant’s account and keep it unblocked for as long as he’s a member of Parliament.
The case hinged on whether Guilbeault’s account should be treated as personal or government-run.
Because the decision was reached by mutual agreement, or a consent order, it does not necessarily set an iron-clad precedent for future cases of ministers and MPs blocking citizens and journalists on X.
Law professor Michael Geist wrote in September that it nonetheless sends a message that “government ministers should not block access to their feeds given the implications for freedom of expression.”