Manitoba

Cannabis company holds off on legal action against Fletcher but MLA remains defiant

Manitoba medical marijuana company Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. says it's leaving options open for now on suing MLA Steven Fletcher, despite issuing a deadline last week asking him to remove social media posts it deemed "defamatory." Fletcher is defiant and now wants an apology.

Steven Fletcher's anger at ultimatum over social media posts hasn't been blunted

After being accused by Delta 9 of posting inappropriate material last week, MLA Steven Fletcher is now accusing the cannabis company of intimidation and is demanding an apology. (CBC News)

Assiniboia MLA Steven Fletcher won't delete social media comments posted about conflict of interest legislation and Manitoba marijuana company Delta 9 Cannabis Inc.

Nor will he apologize, as the company requested he do immediately. Fletcher is instead looking for Delta 9 to say it's sorry.

Fletcher's stance comes despite the company backing away from a promise of legal action it threatened last week if the independent MLA didn't pull the posts from Twitter and Facebook. 

"I'm not going to follow [the directions in] their threatening and intimidating letters. They were wrong to send them. I will take the integrous course of action," Fletcher said.

Delta 9's legal counsel had set a deadline of the end of business last Friday for Fletcher to pull the pair of posts and apologize for posting what the lawyer described as "defamatory" and "inappropriate" material.

One of the posts on Fletcher's timeline from May 17 related an increase in the company's share price and the former federal cabinet minister's zeal for updated conflict of interest legislation for Manitoba.

"Strange that Delta 9 stock price went from $0.20 in Oct 17 up to $3.20, that is over 1,000 per cent increase in stock price overnight," read the post. "Those in the know could have made a fortune, I guess we'll never know. All we do know is that proper conflict of interest legislation is far overdue."

On Tuesday, Delta 9 director of communications Gary Symons gave a statement easing back on the threat of legal action.

Symons told CBC News that the company is leaving its options open for now and whether they take legal action will depend on Fletcher's future actions. 

"We do note that in his statement in the legislature Mr. Fletcher corrected the record by saying 'I am not suggesting Delta 9 did anything wrong,'" said Symons. "Given that he realizes and has now said we did nothing wrong, it is unclear to us why he would drag our name to a debate over conflict of interest legislation."

The company still wants Fletcher to retract the statements made on Facebook and apologize, but Symons said "as long as he doesn't make any more defamatory statements, then we will likely let the matter lie."

Fletcher, for his part, is now demanding an apology in return.

"They are basing everything on intimidation and I am doing it based on integrity," Fletcher said in a brief interview. "I am looking for an apology and will have more to say about this in the legislature."

The independent MLA was kicked out of the Progressive Conservative caucus last year and tabled his own conflict of interest legislation.

On Tuesday, Fletcher tabled the letters he received from Delta 9 and ones he wrote to the Manitoba and Ontario Securities Commissions in the Manitoba Legislature last week.

He blames Delta 9's law firm, MLT Aikins, for giving the company bad legal advice and is asking for the two commissions to investigate the situation.

"I wish Delta 9 nothing but success but I am jaw-smacked at the foolish letter sent by their legal counsel," Fletcher wrote in a letter to the Manitoba and Ontario securities commissions.

Legal letter to FletcherMobile users: View the document
Legal letter to Fletcher (PDF KB)
Legal letter to Fletcher (Text KB)
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On mobile? Read Fletcher's letter here and read the letter from Delta 9 here