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Daniel Dale Serves Rob Ford, Vision TV With Libel Notice

Toronto Star reporter is taking legal action in the wake of the mayor's false claim Dale was on his property and acting inappropriately towards his children.

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is taking legal action against the mayor over remarks Rob Ford made in an interview with Conrad Black, along with the network which aired the interview and its owner, Moses Znaimer. In that interview Ford falsely accused Dale—who was visiting parkland adjacent to the mayor’s house to research a story about that property (the mayor was seeking to purchase it)—of an inappropriate interest in his children. “When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids…I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking ‘what’s this guy all about?’” The word Ford didn’t say but everyone clearly understood: pedophile.

Police looked into the matter, interviewing Dale and looking, at Dale’s invitation, through the pictures on his phone. They found no photos of Ford’s home or family, determined that at no point was Dale on Ford’s property, and that there was no evidence Dale had been acting in any way inappropriately.

Rob Ford has persisted in his allegations in recent days (the interview aired on December 9), telling reporters from multiple outlets that he stood by his remarks. And it is that repetition, more than the original comments themselves, that pushed Dale to take legal action.


“As the mayor likes to say: enough’s enough,” Dale wrote in an article explaining his decision. “It had become clear to me that, if I had done nothing, the mayor would make his smears some sort of political talking point. His comments to Black were no one-time slip.”

What’s happened so far is that Ford has been served with a libel notice, which is a preliminary requirement for pursuing an actual suit. According to the Libel and Slander Act a notice must be served within six weeks of the alleged libel. That notice gives the defendant a chance to respond—it provides Ford with an opportunity to retract his statements and apologize, if he is so inclined—before further legal steps are taken. “I did not want to do this,” Dale writes. “I didn’t want to be goaded into a legal battle that could last a long time. The mayor very much deserved to be sued, I knew, but I thought I could do more good for the city by challenging him at City Hall on policy than challenging him about me in a courtroom. Ford’s persistence changed my mind.”

Because the remarks Ford made were directed at an individual reporter, it was up to Dale rather than his newspaper to decide whether to pursue legal action. Now that he has, says Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke, the paper will be backing him completely. In an interview with CP24 aired just after Ford was served, Cooke said the actions was “being launched by Daniel with my personal and the Star‘s institutional full support. We will back Daniel with every dollar that it takes to deal with this issue.” He added: “It’s an appalling, appalling thing that the mayor has done and he needs to be challenged on it because he’s a bully and Daniel Dale…is a good reporter, he’s a young reporter, he’s a thorough reporter, he’s got a great reputation, he’s won awards in Canada for being the best young reporter in this country, and he’s standing up to the mayor.”

The interview in question is no longer available on Vision TV’s own website—they posted it briefly but took it down within hours. Here is a clip of the segment in question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFhlZdbyYQs&t=2m33s

Dale will continue covering municipal politics, he also explains. “With the full support of the Star, I will stay on the City Hall beat while pursuing this action… I can easily imagine the mayor and his brother attempting to turn the tables on the Star and calling for me to take a leave of absence…I will not let this affect my job. I will not be bullied off of my beat.”

UPDATE, 7:27 PM: We asked Dale to say a bit more about his decision to continue covering City Hall, and whether he worried it was a conflict of interest for him to do so. From his reply:

I would almost certainly not have sued the mayor for some criticism of an article of mine. Dealing with such stuff is part of the gig. If we set a precedent, though, that we must give public figures impunity to defame us in the most vile personal terms, or else we must leave our jobs, it could be open season—if the Fords or anyone else decide that they don’t want a reporter on the city beat, all they’d have to do is use their megaphone to tell malicious lies, and the reporter would be gone.

I have no malice whatsoever toward the mayor; I’d love to have a pleasant relationship with him, and I always have. (Man, we could have such fun football conversations!) I’d love if he’d apologize and retract quickly so we can all move on. Until then, I’ll be around, continuing to cover him fairly.

UPDATE: December 17, 2013, 12:25 PM Mayor Rob Ford issued an apology to Daniel Dale on the floor of council on December 17.

Comments

  • skandhala

    Oops, ‘Ford has been (served) with a libel notice.’

    • TorontoistEditors

      Fixed. Thank you!

  • dsmithhfx

    Good for Daniel Dale.

  • You_Dirty_Rat

    How many of these does he have to win before the left shut’s up and goes home.

    • Kivi Shapiro

      It’s not a left vs. right issue. It’s a wrong vs. right issue.

    • dsmithhfx

      I just called the exterminator.

    • OpportKnocks

      Win? Paul Magder v Ford was a split decision, as proven by the trial judge’s refusal to award costs.

    • vampchick21

      What exactly does Ford have to do to open your eyes to his inappropriateness for his position? Why do you continue to support him when there are many far better people with a similar fiscal agenda who aren’t drunken louts who smoke crack

    • Canadianskeezix

      You Dirty Rat, please learn how to spell.

  • Imelda Marcos

    Ford will never stop saying this, he’s a bully and that’s what bullies do, they lie, and they are unrepentant even when confronted with the truth. Even if he loses the libel suit, he will repeat this all next year during the election.

    • Moonmoth

      Hmm maybe. We’ll see how much Ford feels like slagging ppl with whatever vile notion floats into his brain, if Dale’s suit divests his very deep pockets of a few million.

      • Imelda Marcos

        Dale’s not going for millions, he wants a retraction and possibly an order from the judge for Rob to stop saying the thing. I doubt very much the Ford brothers will follow a judge’s orders, because they are both unrepentant bullies who think repeating a lie changes the truth. The only saving grace is, repeating the thing would probably land Rob a contempt of court charge (if Dale wins) and he could end up in jail during the election campaign, which would be funny.

  • Brian T

    Hooray for Daniel. This is a modern day David and Goliath story. Casting Rob Ford as a Philistine is most appropriate.

  • ChristopherJansen

    Good for Daniel. When you have no skills you can at least secure your future.

    • Dinah Might

      Sounds like you’re expecting Dale to win. (Which he should)

  • toronnamamma

    Yeah. Except he wasn’t doing that.

  • Canadianskeezix

    Lise, you appear to completely miss the point. The issue is not whether it is okay to trespass into someone’s backyard to take photos of their children. The issue is whether it is okay to make up a story about someone doing that, and then slander them by implying they are a pedophile.

  • Canadianskeezix

    Jeff, care to elaborate on why Dale is a “jerk”?

    • HotDang

      It’s because only jerks don’t like being accused of pedophilia.

    • vampchick21

      Because Jeff is an idiot with the attention span of a gnat.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Saying something doesn’t make it true, dumb-dumb.

  • vampchick21

    Do you even pay attention to reality? Dale wasn’t in Ford’s backyard and he wasn’t taking pictures of Ford’s kids. Ford LIED. Why on earth are you supporting Ford?

    • nevilleross

      Because she’s a big dummy like most of the other members of Ford Nation.

  • vampchick21

    No. He’s showing that Ford straight up lies and says horrible things about people and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. You are showing that you are incapable of accepting reality.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    Uhh, cops investigated, even looked at Dale’s phone. Know what they found? 1 photo of the little bit of park beside Ford’s house. That’s because Dale’s phone battery ran out. You’d know that if you cared to read about the story. You’d also know that Dale was at no time on Ford’s property. Stop believing Ford’s lies. The man is a bully who will slander anyone if it makes him look good.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    As awful a person as Ford is, he’s not so stupid that he truly believes his version of events. It’s almost as if he wants a lawsuit, especially if it’s backed by the Star. Ford likes to play the victim and he can portray this whole thing as a vendetta by the media, thus raising questions about everything that the media has written about Ford. Of course, with an election coming he’s going to need money for his own campaign and not for lawyers but he probably figures he can make this lawsuit go away any time with a simple retraction. That he’s so willing to defame a reporter for his own gain only underscores what an appalling scoundrel our Mayor really is.

  • dsmithhfx

    You must be waiting for Rob’s public apology and retraction. I think his mom’s beating it out of him just now.

  • vampchick21

    Sigh. I’m really sick and tired of this. For the last goddamn time, Dale was NOT in Ford’s backyard, looking into it or taking pictures. Given all the press coverage the incident got and the magic of Google you would think you could figure that out for yourself instead if buying into ANYTHING said by a proven liar.

  • Welshgrrl

    Bit late for that Rob!

  • http://gniw.ca/ Ambrose Li

    Kudos to Daniel Dale. This is sexual discrimination and does not just affect reporters but also scientists and artists. Ford must be stopped.

    • dsmithhfx

      What?

      • http://gniw.ca/ Ambrose Li

        This was brought up in the last GRAND conference. Artists doing observations in a park get stopped by police. This kind of “if you take a picture of a small kid you must be a pedophile” attitude must be destroyed. It is pure sexual discrimination and nothing more.

        • Imelda Marcos

          I don’t think there’s anything wrong with discriminating against the sexual habits of pedophiles. Artists, no. Pedophiles, yes.

          • http://gniw.ca/ Ambrose Li

            The problem with this logic is that police are not distinguishing between pedophiles and artists. This supposed sexual habit of pedophiles is indistinguishable from normal research performed by artists and designers.

          • Imelda Marcos

            When you use the word “supposed”, everything you say after that sounds like “bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”.

          • http://gniw.ca/ Ambrose Li

            Doesn’t matter. The fact is taking pictures of small kids is something that artists and designers do. Therefore it is just “supposed”.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Uh…

          • nevilleross

            He’s got a point, rek. Don’t believe me? Go to this blog (http://photographyisnotacrime.com/), read the articles, and then tell me that what Ambrose is talking about isn’t true.

            The thing is, taking pictures in public is supposed to be protected under the Canadian Criminal Code, but the police are just arresting people for no good reason based on this assertion, Ambrose’s quip about ‘sexual discrimination’ aside.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Calling it “sexual discrimination” is what’s throwing me.

  • Rider

    For sure, but that didn’t happen, read the police report on the surveillance video.

  • Rider

    You shouldn’t be lurking on the internet with false information of events. Do some research before opening your mouth to void looking like a fool.

  • Rider

    Ford never would have made up this story if Daniel was a macho straight man. but Ford has outdated views on LGBTQ people and thinks that he is better then them. They are vile and disgusting and that if a man sleep with a man he must also sleep with children. Well help Ford, the rest of us stopped believing that decades ago.

  • nevilleross

    Jeff, please stop being such a right-wing Ford Nation sheep, and face reality.

  • http://www.google.com/+ScottBogert Scott Bogert

    If it is in a recorded interview, that is libel isn’t it?

    • EG

      Slander is spoken, libel is written. If he did both directly, not second person reported then it’s both. I’ve
      Only heard him speak.

      • http://www.google.com/+ScottBogert Scott Bogert

        I understand that libel is written, but can making a statement in a recorded interview be considered libel, too? It is “written” down on hard disks for all to see over and over again.

  • dsmithhfx

    Rob just retracted his lying ass & apologized to Daniel Dale.