"Ill-founded and abusive" is how superior court judge Michèle Monast described a Quebec woman's defamation lawsuit against Justin Trudeau. In a decision published on November 29, Monast shot down Diane Blain's case against the prime minister.
The lawsuit followed a 2018 incident at a Liberal party rally in Sainte-Anne-de-Sabrevois, Quebec, in which Blain asked Trudeau when he would "give back the 146 million [Quebec] paid" to support what she called Trudeau's "illegal immigrants."
In response, Trudeau told Blain that "this intolerance toward immigrants has no place in Canada, this intolerance toward diversity, you have no place here."
Throughout the event, Blain confronted him and asked several times if he was "tolerant of the Québécois de souche" — people who claim descent from French colonizers.
"Madame, your racism has no place here," Trudeau responded before RCMP officers intervened.
In her lawsuit, Blain sought a total of $90,000 in compensation from Trudeau for what a court document describes as "distress, stress, and inconvenience caused to her" as a result of the 2018 interaction, as well as a perceived "infringement of her freedom of expression and opinion and her right to be treated without discrimination," among other claims.
But Judge Monast wasn't having any of it.
In her decision to dismiss the lawsuit, Monast wrote that "Ms. Blain's assertion that Mr. Trudeau's comments about her were defamatory and that he damaged her reputation is not supported by any evidence."
She cited a testimony that she said "was replete with contradictions, exaggerations and implausibilities" and concluded that Blain's "lack of civility, the aggressive tone in which she asked her questions" and, among other things, "her hostile attitude" demonstrated "that she was trying to provoke him."
Monast called Trudeau's response to her first question "legitimate" and said "it was not unreasonable" for Trudeau to "consider, in such a context, that Ms. Blain's comments indicated some racism."
"She testified that she found it offensive and hurtful to be told that she was intolerant and racist toward immigrants because she does not consider herself to be an intolerant and racist person," Monast wrote.
"The statements she has made on various occasions, her social media posts, and the testimony she gave during her examination for discovery and at trial unfortunately indicate otherwise."
The judge concluded by accusing Blain of using the event to "gain notoriety and to promote her political ideas."
"It is not unreasonable to conclude, as suggested by Mr. Trudeau's counsel, that she initiated legal proceedings against Mr. Trudeau for the same reasons."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
At an early morning meeting between re-elected Mayor Valérie Plante and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Montreal City Hall on Friday, housing, public transit, the pandemic and most notably, public security in the city were the main topics of discussion.
Montreal's mayor once again implored the federal government to consider banning handguns across the country.
J\u2019ai eu une excellente rencontre avec @JustinTrudeau!\n\nNous partageons plusieurs priorit\u00e9s, dont la s\u00e9curit\u00e9 publique, l\u2019habitation, le transport collectif et le d\u00e9veloppement de l\u2019Est de Montr\u00e9al. Le gouv. canadien est un partenaire dans l\u2019essor de notre m\u00e9tropole. #polmtlpic.twitter.com/B825A1ugNK
"Canada needs to be a country that distinguishes itself from our neighbours to the south," Plante told journalists after her meeting with the prime minister. "Where gun trafficking and the normalization of guns is unacceptable."
In recent months, there have been several reports of firearm incidents, murders and other violent attacks. Most recently, on November 14, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near a Villeray high school. The SPVM said that it was the 31st homicide in the city this year.
Public safety and security were hot-button issues during the recent municipal election, as well, with all the candidates presenting plans to target gun violence in the city.
The mayor said Friday that "we should ban handguns and we should be even stronger on assault weapons."
Plante spoke of the need to support this position across Canada, even in places where sentiments about firearms might be different from Quebec's.
"I know that it's not popular everywhere, but here in Quebec, I think we have a consensus that it's the right thing to do," she said.
"Mr. Trudeau showed a lot of openness and he agreed that the federal [government] has to do more."
Many provinces have restricted access to non-essential services and events, such as restaurants and concerts, to fully vaccinated residents and visitors.
Provinces recognize the federally approved vaccine passport. The government states online that provinces and territories may actually "ask you to use this proof to access non-essential services."
What information is on the vaccine passport?
Similar to Quebec's VaxiCode app and pdf proof of vaccination, the federal vaccine passport will include your first and last name, your date of birth and your COVID-19 vaccination history (vaccine lot numbers, names of manufacturers and dates received).
Unlike VaxiCode or the provincial pdf, the Canadian vaccine passport will have the federal government logo in the top right corner.
The document will have a QR code in addition to this information.
How can Quebecers get their federally approved proof of vaccination?
The provinces and territories are distributing the federal vaccine passport.
Quebecers can find it the same way they would download the provincial proof of vaccination document.
A portal on the Quebec government website prompts visitors to enter identifying information. They can then opt to receive a link to their vaccination proof either through text or email.
The link takes Quebecers to a page where they can download proofs of vaccination for use within Quebec (the VaxiCode app or a pdf document with a QR code) and for use outside of Quebec, the federally standardized vaccine passport.
At a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced a series of new programs and COVID-19 benefits that will replace the current Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
Freeland said the programs will include "more targeted measures" in contrast to what she called the "very broad-based support that was appropriate at the height of our lockdowns."
Among those new programs is the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which will provide $300 a week to eligible workers who can't work because of a lockdown in their area between October 24, 2021, and May 7, 2022, according to a press release.
There are also rent and wage subsidy programs for the tourism and hospitality industry (up to 75%) and other "hard-hit" businesses (up to 50%) that "can show they have faced deep and enduring losses," Freeland said.
The CRB, which ends on October 23, provided income support for workers who were directly affected by COVID-19 and weren't eligible for standard employment insurance benefits.
For a period of 54 weeks, workers could "receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) or $600 ($540 after taxes withheld) for a 2 week period" if they qualified.
"Providing support to businesses and workers during lockdown allowed us all to do the right thing together and to save lives," the deputy prime minister said at the press conference.