White nationalist and mayoral candidate Faith Goldy has forced the mainstream media to yet again talk about her campaign. Late Tuesday morning, she held a press conference with her legal counsel, prominent civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby. Ruby explained her lawsuit against Bell Media over its refusal to run Goldy’s campaign ad after the telecommunications conglomerate had already accepted a $13,000 cheque for an ad-buy back in late September.
CityNews, CTV, 680 News and the National Post all covered the press conference, where she was able to effusively perform her lines of her ad for free.
But she wasn’t done making the news on Tuesday. That evening her former colleague at Rebel Media, Laura Loomer, crashed a mayoral debate Goldy wasn’t invited to, disrupting the proceedings to ask John Tory, while live-streaming, why he won’t debate Goldy. She ended up briefly trending on Twitter. Loomer has her own history of incendiary remarks and disrupting events.
She and other Goldy supporters throughout the debate disrupted the event repeatedly, which ended up getting them and Goldy mentions in many of the reports from that night.
Next Monday afternoon, on October 15, the Superior Court will hear arguments on the proposed injunction to force Bell to play Goldy’s ads before the election is over.
Goldy informed me that she has also purchased ad space from Rogers, giving them a cheque on Thursday.
“I just taped my 680 [News] ads today. They went dark [but] after the press conference reached out again,” wrote Goldy.
In a National Post report on Goldy’s press conference and lawsuit the author pointed out that previous similar cases put forth before the Ontario Superior Court failed because it’s typically the jurisdiction of CRTC to rule on, but Ruby has pointed out that the CRTC could not possibly have a hearing within the narrow window of time left in the Toronto mayoral election. The Post piece also pointed out that the previous cases dealt with editorial programming, not paid advertisement.
Below is a brief, lightly edited interview with civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby from Tuesday night.
How long do you think it would take for the injunction to take effect if it’s successful?
We’re looking for dates to argue it this week or early next week. The courts indicate they’re going to give us a couple of hours…
Are there other remedies Goldy can seek if the injunction cannot be granted in time?
It will be granted or refused in time. We’re going to get this heard this week or more likely Monday or Tuesday next week. So there’s no problem with getting it heard.
Okay, and will there be a decision immediately made then?
No, he may make it immediately or he may take a day or two. Generally when there is an urgent case like an election they really move fast to get it decided.
Okay, so similar to when Doug Ford cut the size of city council?
Yeah, that was super fast.
Were you surprised at the lack of media coverage at your press conference?
No, I didn’t notice there was a lack [laughs].
Well, I mean, I guess as a print journalist I look on Google News to see if there are articles, and I didn’t see any articles. I guess CP24 did cover it for a couple of minutes.
They weren’t there, but CTV, and CityTV was there and , the radio station, they were there. And there was another guy from the [National] Post, so that’s pretty good. I don’t know who else was there, but there were a couple of others as well.
Okay, I did just see that the Post finally got an article up, I don’t know if you saw that yet?
No, I don’t look at that stuff by and large. If I don’t look at it immediately, I look at it maybe later.
Is this case unprecedented?
I don’t know. I don’t think there is one just like it. There have been cases where people wanted — when stations produced free-time broadcasts — and people who were not included tried to be included and they’ve had very little success. But I don’t know if one like this has come along where you’ve paid, you had a contract, you signed it, they signed it, it’s over, and then they say ‘Nope, we’re not going to run it.’
So if the injunction is rejected are there other legal recourse that Goldy can look into?
Not really. Not really. Essentially she’s asking for the same remedy both as a breach of contract and as an interpretation of a section of the Broadcast Act stipulations and under the Charter, which is, ‘Make them run my ad.’
Could your client raising funds from individuals outside of Ontario for her legal fees be deemed as violating the campaign finance laws in any way?
I’ve never looked at the campaign finance laws of Ontario for that, and I don’t know where she is raising the money.
Okay, because online she’s asking people worldwide — and I know she has a lot of followers throughout the Western world at least — to fund her legal bills with you so does–
I really don’t know.
You’re not concerned about that at all, that’s her own concern?
Yeah, that’s not my job. And I don’t know what the law is on raising money from Ontario or not Ontario.
So I saw on social media some people were criticizing you for taking Faith Goldy on as a client because of her associations to certain far-right figures and for saying incendiary things like calling for NATO troops to fire grenades at refugee ships entering Europe. What is your response to these critics when you take on a client like her?
I’m concerned with democracy and how it functions. I think it’s a dangerous situation when news conglomerates get to decide who can be heard and who can’t during an election campaign. I think that the law is such that we can stop that. Elections are only valid and only meaningful if they produce an informed electorate. And if they say to one or more candidates ‘We’re not going to allow you to speak on our media’ that reduces the whole point of elections.
Alright, so you don’t think the media should act as a gatekeeper for some people they find beyond the pale, you think the public should make [their own] decision?
They can do that in an editorial position. And they should, if they wish to. And most of the print media do. Stations by and large don’t, and I never understood that, in the States they do. But they’re certainly at liberty to do it, and I think that’s helpful. I think people should be thinking things through during an election, and you’ve got to have the material in which to think.
Okay, has your client asked you to look at all at her not being invited to any of the debates as well?
No, I haven’t.
I guess the law doesn’t really cover that, for private events.
The case where people have wanted in on debates where they weren’t invited have generally negative. … It’s a tough argument.