Here’s a quick recap of where things stood yesterday afternoon:
- Ian Scott had posted a conjecture to his Web site that Warren Kinsella took exception to, and resulted in some legal unpleasantness between those individuals (still ongoing). [Update: now resolved ]
- I did some research into Ian’s post, and while I agree that the content itself may have been considered in poor taste, I determined that it did not rise to the standard required for bringing a charge of libel before the courts in Canada (my opinion has been repeatedly validated by those who have experience with Canadian defamation law and who were kind enough to contact me).
- I also reviewed the content of Mr. Kinsella’s Web site, and it is my opinion that some of his writings surpassed Ian Scott’s when it came to general tastelessness. His treatment of David Janes (a private individual), was particularly nasty. I publicly posed a question to Mr. Kinsella asking him to account for the double standard that was on display. At this time, my question remains unanswered by Mr. Kinsella.
- Warren Kinsella, feeling some heat in the Canadian blogosphere, posted a rebuttal to the Musings area of his Web site. I found his post to be ill-considered, and I took exception to it. As one of his publicly visible detractors (on this particular subject), I was upset when Mr. Kinsella essentially lumped all of his critics together as mouth-breathers, angry white men, and racists (implied, not his actual words) in general.
- I rebutted those comments here on PolSpy. Included in my critique was an excerpt of the text from Ian Scott’s site that caused the legal friction between Mr. Scott and Mr. Kinsella.
- I received my first e-mail from Mr. Kinsella on this matter at 1:26 PM yesterday afternoon. It boiled down to a polite request for me to remove the text that I had quoted from Ian Scott’s site from PolSpy.
- I quickly consulted with a knowledgeable individual who used to work as a practicing lawyer, and it was his opinion that my actions were on the right side of the law. I set about composing my reply.
- I e-mailed my response to Mr. Kinsella at 4:27 PM as a PDF file attachment. To my embarrassment, I forgot to attach the file to the first message and had to send another. You can find a copy of that letter here. While gathering opinions for my reply, I was advised that it is good form to offer a reasonable compromise early on in a legal dispute. I was told that Canadian judges do not appreciate the Court’s time being wasted, and that it would reflect extremely poorly on the plaintiff if a matter was brought before a judge that could have been painlessly settled outside of a court room. My compromise was that I would strike the excerpted text from Ian Scott’s site that Mr. Kinsella took exception to from my post, if he would be willing to edit the text of his rebuttal post so as not to paint all of his critics with such a broad and offensive brush.
- After sending the reply to Mr. Kinsella and posting a copy to this site, I checked my e-mail to find that he had sent me a second message with a time stamp of 3:22 PM. I replied to it at 4:31 PM. The contents of both e-mails can be found here, but I have removed Mr. Kinsella’s contact information from his message to prevent undue harrassment.
Kinsella makes the first move…
Last night before heading to bed, I found this post on Ben Sharma’s site indicating that Mr. Kinsella had made the change that I requested to his Web site. A quick glance at the page properties indicates that Mr. Kinsella uploaded the change to his site at 5:12 PM yesterday afternoon. I am uncertain as to what time zone his Web server sits in or how accurate its clock is, so there may be a discrepancy between the time I noted and the time Mr. Kinsella actually uploaded the file.
Even though I had received no notification from Mr. Kinsella as to his change, it was obvious that he had kept his end of the bargain. Since my name is not Jean Chretien and the commitments made did not involve the Goods and Services Tax, I felt morally compelled to uphold my end of the agreement as well. I immediately removed the excerpted text from my post as per Mr. Kinsella’s request. I notified him of this by e-mail at 1:26 AM today. You can find a copy of the text of that message here. There has been no communication between myself and Warren Kinsella since that time.
Warren, if you are reading this, thank you again for meeting me in the middle. It takes a big man to do that.
I have received e-mails from people asking if Warren Kinsella had “threatened me” with legal action. I would like to make it clear that I was not threatened at all by Mr. Kinsella. He comported himself well in his limited e-mail communications with me, and I have no complaints on that score.
I am disappointed that he has yet to acknowledge my last two e-mails as I feel that would have been the gentlemanly thing to do. However, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this matter, as he is a husband and the father of many children who undoubtedly keep him very busy.
To all those who sent me the “yeah, get that Kinsella bastard” e-mails I’ll say this: grow the FUCK up, okay? I took my stance because I truly believed (and still do) that I was on the right side of the law. I felt it was my duty as a father and a Canadian citizen to try and preserve a freedom that I considered Mr. Kinsella to be putting at risk.
The compromise arose as a result of a combination of legal advice, and a desire to do the decent thing. No, I absolutely do not believe Ian Scott’s conjecture about Mr. Kinsella’s parentage to be in violation of Canadian libel law. Yes, I do believe that the comments caused Mr. Kinsella and his family distress and I am sensitive to that fact. Given Mr. Kinsella’s willingness to compromise on statements he made that caused me distress as well, I believe things worked out as they should (a gentleman’s agreement outside of a court room).
At no time has this ever been about “getting” Warren Kinsella—my objections were to his actions, not to Mr. Kinsella himself.
As to the frequently cast aspersion of ‘mouth-breather’ that we have seen entirely too much of over the past two days, here is an insight I have gained from this affair that I would like to pass along:
Better to breathe through your mouth than talk out of your ass.