Miller v. CBC and Harper
From Ad IDEM / CMLA
February 17, 2003
CBC prevailed over Janice Miller in a lawsuit brought on her behalf by Doug Christie. CBC's broadcast news report on November 19, 1996 focussed on Canada's hate movement, and particularly Terry Long, a previous Canadian leader of the Aryan Nations organization; and Charles Scott, a self-proclaimed Christian preacher. Miller has been married to Terry Long since l970. The broadcast referred to her four times, but the key reference was the following:
In 1986 at the annual Aryan Nations Congress in Hayden Lake, Idaho, Terry Long was acclaimed Canada's High Aryan Warrior Priest. The Longs dressed their kids up in pint sized Klan uniforms for the celebratory cross burning.
Miller began her action on August 12, 1998, within the two year limitation period. She pleaded that:
7. ...the allegation of causing their children to be dressed in pint-sized Klan uniforms was false and malicious and defamatory ...the aforesaid statement by implication associated the plaintiff with the other public demonstrations and racist's political beliefs of her husband depicted in the broadcast.
8. The truth was, and remains, that the plaintiff was not associated with public activities of her husband and did not dress her children in pint-sized Klan outfits or in any way cause them to participate in Ku Klux Klan activities.
A motion for summary judgment was brought by CBC after discoveries. Satanove J. held for CBC on the basis of substantial truth.
 In light of this uncontradicted evidence which came from the plaintiff's own mouth, I find the sting of the libel to be justified, or substantially true.
 I find that sub-paragraph (a) through (e) of paragraph 8 of the statement of defence has been made out by the examination for discovery evidence above. I agree with the defendants that the information that the children were dressed in a way consistent with the event is immaterial. Once again, I believe what the viewer takes away from the Broadcast is that the Longs were there as a family, fully supporting Terry Long as he was powerfully proclaimed a racist leader, all of which would shock the sensibilities of the ordinary, reasonable person. As this was proven to be true, the detail of how the children were dressed is irrelevant.