By Tina Comeau
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has dismissed a motion by the former CEO of SWSDA who wanted access to cabinet discussions that were held around the time of his dismissal as a director of the Nova Scotia Trade Centre Limited.
Frank Anderson, as the plaintiff, had filed motions against the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, as a representative of the province, and also Percy Paris, the province’s former economic minister. He wanted the defendants to be ordered to answer questions in discovery proceedings relating to things that had been discussed in cabinet.
Anderson has accused Paris of defaming him through comments Paris made in June 2010 that were published in Halifax-based media after Anderson was removed as a board member of the Nova Scotia Trade Centre Limited.
In addition to wanting to be able to explore cabinet discussions. Anderson’s camp had also filed a motion for the production of what they saw as relevant cabinet documents. Those documents were provided to Anderson and his legal team.
Supreme Court Justice Heather Robertson concluded that the documents that were provided represented the single conclusion of cabinet on the issue.
But beyond that, “What opinions individual cabinet ministers may have expressed are irrelevant,” she determined.
The comments Paris made that Anderson claims were defamatory were made during a press scrum.
“What his cabinet colleagues had to say before this press scrum is irrelevant to the issue of the public of the alleged defamation,” Justice Robertson stated in a March 6 court decision.
She added it will be up to the trial court to determine if the statements made by Paris were defamatory and if Anderson's termination from the board defamed his reputation.
"Again, what views individual cabinet ministers expressed is not relevant to this quest," the Justice concluded.