Vulgar language. An alleged Twitter smear. Demands for an apology. A lawsuit.
The fallout from the Alberta PC policy convention in Red Deer continues after a Jason Kenney leadership campaign worker filed a defamation lawsuit, alleging he was falsely described as using the word "c--t" against a volunteer.
In a statement of claim filed last month, Alan Hallman says his reputation suffered "irreparable harm" from a tweet by Stephen Carter, a main player behind Sandra Jansen's now-defunct leadership campaign. Jansen dropped out of the race following harassment and intimidation at the convention.
On Nov. 10, Carter wrote on Twitter:
"Will Kenney act and remove Allan [sic] Hallman from the campaign after calling a volunteer a 'c--t'? I didn't think so."
Hallman and Carter are longtime foes who have both acted as behind-the-scenes operatives for Conservative campaigns and have butted heads in the past.
Lawsuit a 'bullying tactic,' says Carter
In an interview, Carter said he will defend himself against the defamation claim because, he said, Hallman "said it."
The lawsuit is a "bullying tactic," he said.
"I believe it's a tactic being used to try to suppress speech around the leadership. And that's one of the reasons that I'm going to fight," Carter said.
The Twitter statement in question came a few days after Jansen dropped out of the race, saying people associated with the Kenney campaign harassed her. Jansen at the time said her social media feeds had been "filled with filth" and that "insults were scrawled on my nomination forms."
- Sandra Jansen, Donna Kennedy-Glans both drop out of PC leadership race
- Investigation finds harassment and intimidation at PC policy convention
Jansen crossed the floor to the NDP less than 10 days after the convention.
"The report that came out from the PC party showed there was intimidation and action taken against Sandra Jansen. I was there, I saw it. And I simply tweeted what I'd seen and what I'd heard. And as a result, I've been hit with this lawsuit, which is troubling," Carter said.
Carter is agile on Twitter, frequently sparring with Kenney supporters. The tweet in question came during an exchange about the tactics used at the policy convention.
Hallman did not respond to the tweet online but served Carter with a defamation notice a few days later.
"Mr. Hallman wants an apology and the lawsuit is over," said the plaintiff's lawyer, Jonathan Denis.
Denis is a former PC cabinet minister who served as the province's solicitor general under Premier Alison Redford. Carter served for a time as Redford's chief of staff.
The statement of claim states the tweet "intentionally and maliciously harmed the ability of [Hallman] to earn a living in Alberta" and that Hallman will suffer "lost income as a result of the actions of [Carter]."
Statements of claim contain statements that have not been proven in court.
No statement of defence has yet been filed, although Carter said he plans to do so.