British Columbia

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver loses defamation lawsuit

The judge ruled the article was so poorly written that it lacked sufficient credibility to be considered defamatory.

Judge says article about Weaver was derogatory, but too poorly written to be legally defamatory

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver lost a defamation lawsuit but the judge called the offending article "a poorly written opinion piece" that lacked credibility. (Mike McArthur/CBC News)

A 2011 defamation claim made by B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has been dismissed with the judge ruling an article critical of the politician was so poorly written that it lacked credibility. 

Justice Ronald Skolrood handed down the ruling in Vancouver on Tuesday. 

The case centres on an article written by Timothy Ball, a climate-change skeptic and retired geography professor with the University of Winnipeg. The article, "Corruption of Climate Science Has Created 30 Lost Years," appeared on the Canada Free Press website in January of 2011. 

Weaver, who was a professor of earth and ocean sciences at the University of Victoria prior to entering politics, argued the text implied that he was corrupt, incompetent and unfit to teach at the university level.

He said he found the article online and soon after retained legal counsel, demanding a retraction and apology from the website. 

The article was deleted four days later and was followed by a retraction and apology. 

Ball argued the article was about climate science and politics in general and not Weaver specifically. 

The judge agreed, but also found the text to be "rife with error and inaccuracies, which suggests a lack of attention to detail on Dr. Ball's part, if not an indifference to the truth." 

He further found that "the article is poorly written and does not advance credible arguments in favour of Dr. Ball's theory" and that because of that "the impugned words do not genuinely threaten Dr. Weaver's reputation." 

Skolrood dismissed Weaver's claim and left the two parties to agree on costs.