CTV News files statement of defence in Patrick Brown lawsuit

CTV News is pulling no punches on Patrick Brown.

The broadcaster has filed a statement of defence in response to the former Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader’s $8-million defamation suit. In the document provided by Brown’s lawyer, Howard Winkler, at the request of Simcoe.com, CTV called its decision to publish a report, in which two unnamed women accused Brown of sexual misconduct, “fair comment” and in the “public interest.”

“The named defendants had a duty to communicate the words complained of to the public,” Peter Jacobsen, a lawyer for CTV, said in the statement. “Each accuser felt that Brown had used his position of power over them and/or their vulnerability to pressure them into sexual relationships or engage in sexual activities with him. (The women were) several years younger than he was when they were inebriated and in positions subordinate to his. Brown was known by several people in the Barrie community to have had sexual relations with and/or to have romantically pursued women many years younger than he was.”

The details alleged in Brown’s lawsuit and CTV’s statement of defence have not been proven in court. Brown served as PC leader and Simcoe North MPP at the time the story broke in late January. He has continually denied the allegations.

However, the accusations led to Brown’s resignation as leader — a decision that triggered the leadership race won by now-Premier Doug Ford in March. Brown was also kicked out of the party caucus and barred from running for the PCs in June’s provincial election.

On July 3, Brown registered to run as a candidate for Peel Region chair in October’s municipal election.

CTV said the conduct of a person seeking to become premier is of “significant public importance.” CTV also referenced the Me Too movement in its decision to pursue the story.

While CTV reporters were initially made aware of potential accusations against Brown before the fall of 2017, allegations against American movie producer Harvey Weinstein “gave way to a new broad public awareness of the pervasiveness of previously unreported sexual harassment and assault endured by women as a result of the actions of men who abused their positions of authority.”

And, over the course of several weeks, reporters were “independently advised” of serious sexual-misconduct allegations against Brown, Jacobsen said.

After the broadcast, PC MPP Lisa MacLeod publicly stated she had flagged similar rumours about Brown in the weeks prior to his resignation, Jacobsen said.

The lawsuit includes CTV News president Wendy Freeman, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, three reporters, four unnamed producers and editors, CP24 and CTV’s parent company, Bell Media.

“The named defendants otherwise deny the allegations contained in (Brown’s) statement of claim unless explicit admitted herein,” Jacobsen said. “(They) explicitly deny the words complained of were falsely or maliciously broadcast or published.”

If successful, this would be the largest libel award in Canadian history.

In Brown’s 35-page statement of claim, filed in late April to a Barrie courthouse, his lawyers accuse CTV of “interference with the democratic process” due to the story’s proximity to the election.

On July 9, Winkler told Simcoe.com via email the defence “will only serve to aggravate the damages to which Mr. Brown will be entitled.”

“CTV has exposed itself to great risk in the litigation by reasserting the truth of what they originally broadcast and by attempting to rely on unsubstantiated rumour to defend their conduct,” Winkler said. “CTV attempts in its defence to minimize both the meaning of the words they broadcast and their impact on Mr. Brown. In our view, the defamatory meaning of the words broadcast and their devastating impact on Mr. Brown are a matter public record and beyond dispute.”

Winkler said Brown will continue to pursue the matter and “vindicate his reputation and seek appropriate compensation for the harm done to him.”

“CTV in its statement of defence does not assert that there is any truth to the rumours,” Winkler said. “In fact, they specifically admit that they could not verify them.”

However, Jacobsen said CTV believes its report was fair because it included Brown’s denial of the allegations. Brown was also asked to participate in an on-camera interview in an email sent to his communications adviser Jan. 24. But Brown did not agree to that request, provide a substantive response to questions or ask for more time to reply. Instead, Brown’s lawyer issued a statement and Brown held a news conference a few hours later, just prior to the airing of the story.  

Damage to Brown’s reputation would have been caused by stories published by other media outlets in the weeks after his resignation as leader, including those concerning a probe by Ontario’s integrity commissioners into Brown’s failure to disclose rental income and a mortgage loan, and an investigation by Hamilton police over Brown’s involvement in a PC candidate’s nomination, Jacobsen said. 

UPDATE: Burglars take stolen batteries, pump to Barrie recycling depot

Surveillance video from a Barrie business helped police make an arrest Aug. 21.

The suspects were caught on camera at St. Onge Recreation on Hart Drive, stealing 15 to 20 marine batteries on Aug. 17 and a boat pump on Aug. 15.

A 32-year-old Barrie man is charged with theft under $5,000 in connection with the thefts. Barrie police did not release his name. A second suspect is still at large.

When St. Onge staff learned of the thefts they called recycling depots and learned the stolen goods had been taken to a recycling depot on John Street first thing Friday morning.

The second suspect is described as:

Male, white

• Dark brown hair, salt and pepper scruffy beard

• Wearing a black T-shirt, black shorts and black boots

Anyone who may have information, please contact Const. L. Sawicki at 705-725-7025 ext. 2706 or [email protected] Any information can be provided anonymously to  at 1-800-222-TIPS or leave an anonymous tip online at .

Adjala-Tosorontio mayor says OPP, CRA not investigating township

Adjala-Tosorontio Mayor Mary Small Brett is denying accusations made by Coun. Floyd Pinto and members of the public claiming the township is being investigated by the OPP and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Small Brett sent a letter to Simcoe.com to address “rumours out in the public” she has heard over the past year and more recently in regards to “alleged illegal activity” involving the township and its staff.

“After recent conversations with the OPP and staff I can confirm that, to my knowledge, there are NO ongoing OPP investigations against the township, or any of its staff members,” she wrote. “In addition, the township is not being investigated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The residents have every right to be informed with facts.”

The mayor’s comments come after Coun. Pinto publicly stated that council allegedly discussed income tax evasion in regards to the CAO’s mileage payments during an in-camera meeting held in February 2017.

which was held to vote on the recommendations of an integrity commissioner’s report that found Pinto and Coun. Meadows broke council’s code of conduct on several occasions.

Pinto said he contacted the OPP early last year to investigate concerns about “mileage payments made to senior staff without proper complete documentation.”

When Pinto last met with the OPP he was informed they were forwarding the matter to the CRA.

Pinto said the OPP also recommended council pass a motion to contact the CRA to conduct a forensic audit, but the majority of council voted against it when he and Meadows attempted to do so in April of last year.

It was at this same meeting in April 2017 when deputy mayor Doug Little brought forward a motion for the councillors to be investigated for breaking council’s code of conduct.

Nottawasaga OPP Staff Sgt. Brian Humber confirmed there is no current investigation and said the detachment received a number of complaints since 2014.

He said the latest one was in regards to the tax issue and that it was referred to the CRA.

A CRA spokesperson could not confirm or deny whether an investigation is taking place and said the agency could not legally discuss the details of any specific cases.

CAO Eric Wargel’s mileage payments became a subject of controversy in 2016 after Pinto found out he was receiving payments ranging from $500 to $700 per month without providing detailed invoices.

Following the in-camera meeting held in February 2017, council changed Wargel’s compensation to a monthly vehicle allowance of $600 per month.

Prior to this change, Wargel’s mileage payments never appeared as part of his benefits in the annual Sunshine List since becoming CAO in 2010.

Deputy Mayor Doug Little told simcoe.com Wargel’s mileage payments adhered to the rules set out by the CRA, but only became taxable after it was changed to the monthly allowance.

When asked why the change was made, Little said it was for transparency and to “make it easier for budgeting.”

The Sunshine List for 2017 shows Wargel made $136,280.93, plus $8,438.70 in benefits.

However, the township’s treasurer said his salary and benefits were accidentally lumped together, which means his salary was roughly $127,800.

She said the benefit payments include about $7,200 in his annual vehicle allowance, with the remainder being life insurance payments.

Wargel previously told simcoe.com “there is no tax evasion going on” and that council has “adopted new policies to create greater clarity and better direction with regards to all staff mileage payments, including the requirement for more information on mileage claim forms.”

Pinto said he continues to have discussions with the CRA on this matter.

In the past the mayor has accused Pinto and Meadows of proving misinformation to residents on issues like the mileage payments and post-retirement benefits for staff.

The post-retirement benefits were cancelled in early 2016 after the councillors starting raising concerns.

“These changes itself indicate that Councillors Pinto and Meadows identified problems and were making changes that were in the best interest of the Township,” Pinto said.

In the fall of 2015, Pinto asked the OPP to investigate the decision made by a previous council to extend benefits for municipal employees to age 80, which is not typical for most municipalities.

When the report was completed the following year, no criminal wrongdoing was found, but the OPP identified “deficiencies in corporate policies and procedures.”

Last July, Pinto shared documents he obtained through a freedom of information in an attempt to gain more information on 13 remuneration enhancements OPP investigators identified as being approved without following the township’s bylaw.

The OPP said the documents “afforded some evidence that individual members of council were aware of some of the enhancements” but they had no information showing council provided direction for the remuneration.

After the report was released, Small Brett said to the best of her knowledge the enhancements were negotiated between staff and the former mayor before coming to council, verbally or otherwise, before going through the budget process.

Council accepted the OPP’s recommendation to review policies and procedures regarding remuneration and put it into practice, including the implementation of an audit committee.

Innisfil entrepreneur creates food delivery service

Fresh out of university, Innisfil’s James Tonks has created his own business after seeing a need in the community.

“Innisfil doesn’t have a food delivery service, and there is some demand for it,” Tonks said.

Four years ago, , with a 95.6 per cent grade average. After going to the University of Waterloo for computer science, Tonks has created What’s For Dinner Today, supplying food, from both independent and franchised restaurants, to the Innisfil area.

“I started at the end of June. You can order online from lots of different restaurants that don’t normally deliver,” Tonks said.

Through his website , customers can easily place an order and will be charged a small delivery fee to get the items to their doorstep.

“In Alcona, there’s a $4.95 delivery fee. In Lefroy and Stroud, it’s $6, and in Gilford and Big Bay Point area, it’s $7,” he said.

Unlike some of the bigger companies, Tonks said, menu prices aren’t jacked up for customers.

He’s already delivering from nine local restaurants, and more are joining soon.

So whether you’re in the mood for pizza, wings, Chinese, burgers, pasta or breakfast, he’s got it covered.

What’s For Dinner Today is already making four to five food deliveries a day.

The delivery service runs from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day, depending on how late the restaurant is open.

Tonks aims to deliver the food within 40 minutes.

According to Eggsmart owner Dan Dufour, customers are happy with the service.

“They tell me everything is steaming hot and fresh,” Dufour said. “I’m sure once business picks up, there may be some hiccups, but I’m happy about it.

“It helps me to remain competitive, and it’s going to help grow our brand.”

He’s pleased to be supporting a local entrepreneur but said the Skip The Dishes company does plan to infiltrate Innisfil in the new year.

“This currently isn’t offered in Innisfil, and something like this will help all the businesses involved,” he said. “Everybody is going to third-party delivery, and it’s here to stay.”

For more information about the delivery service, visit .

Patrice Mccammon — Wasaga Beach councillor

My name is Patrice Mccammon, I am asking for your vote for Wasaga Beach councillor on Oct. 22.

I am a full-time resident (20 years). My career in business included district manager for the Canadian Federation of Independent  Business, a non-political organization. 

After my retirement I increased my volunteering and fundraising with Rotary, hospice, food bank and Wasaga Beach Blues. On the strength of these and other accomplishments, I was honoured with Citizen of the Year in 2014 and received the Order of Wasaga Beach in 2015.

The skill acquired through my worklife, volunteer work and fundraising have positioned me effectively to work with diverse groups of people with minimum friction and maximum productivity. I pride myself on being a non-partisan thinker and I am, ready and able to work with a government who desires a bright progressive future for Wasaga Beach. 

If elected, I have pledged to conduct myself in a professional and reasonable manner, and not let personal differences cloud my judgment. I support our current downtown plan and believe in the long term benefits it will bring to our  community. I am also committed to the success of our new walk in clinic, the funding of and construction of our new library and arena and the approval and construction of our high school. 

Only by working as a united council can we these initiatives come to fruition. I encourage you to visit my website and leave me a comment or suggestion, or to give me a call any time time at .  I will be happy to discuss concerns or suggestions. Your vote for me will help to ensure we stay “ Focused on our future.” 

Here is where Clearview is flying the rainbow flag

After a brief absence, the rainbow flag and its message of inclusiveness is fluttering out over Clearview Township.

In an Aug. 1 ceremony attended by council members, representatives of the Canadian military, and members of Fierté Simcoe Pride, Mayor Chris Vanderkruys and Brandon Rhéal Amyot hooked up the flag to a pole outside of the township’s Station 1 and raised it to the top.

Amyot, the president of Fierté Simcoe Pride, noted it had been a couple of years since the township has been able to raise the flag, but they credited the municipality for “taking a leadership role in making a safe and inclusive Simcoe County.”

The municipality was one of the first in the county to raise the flag several years ago at the start of Simcoe Pride.

Fierté Simcoe Pride held a series of rainbow flag raising events in communities across the county to kick off two weeks of Pride activities.

“Flag raisings are very important for the LGBTQ community, to see the visibility in the area,” noted Alana Keenan, who travelled to the event from New Tecumseth. “It’s important for the LGBTQ community to come out and support each other … it’s great to see so many coming out.”

South Simcoe police investigate Bradford home break and enter

South Simcoe Police Service is investigating a daytime break and enter July 24 at a Bradford residence.

Police were called to a home in the Holland Street West and Barrie Street area

about 7:30 p.m. after residents arrived home from work to discover a burglary. Numerous items valued at thousands of dollars were reported missing by the residents.

Anyone with information regarding this break and enter is asked to call

905-775-3311, 705-436-2141 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Police remind that break and enters are often a crime of opportunity. The more difficult it is for thieves to access a home, the more likely it is that

they will move along. 

South Simcoe Police Service suggests a few basic steps residents can take to protect their property:

*Always lock your doors and windows as well as your vehicle doors and garage doors. Secure all basement and ground-level windows and patio doors.

*Do not leave keys or garage door openers inside of your vehicle when it is parked in the driveway.

*Do not announce your travel plans or absence from home on social media or your phone’s voice mail.

*Do not discuss the contents of your home with others or leave boxes and packaging for expensive items on display in recycling bins.

*Ensure your exterior lights are functioning.

*Trim all shrubs and trees so that doors and windows are in clear view.

If going away on vacation or an extended absence, police suggest asking a trusted neighbour to watch your house and make your home appear lived-in by observing these tips:

*Using timer-controlled lights.

*Having mail and/or paper delivery temporarily stopped or delivered elsewhere.

*Having trusted people periodically attend for lawn cutting and garbage can placement, etc.

*Arranging for neighbours to park in your driveway.

*Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and self-tapping screws in the upper track of patio doors and windows.

*Consider installing a home security system with an audible alarm and video surveillance and ensure that everybody in the house knows how it works.

*Consider storing valuables in a safety deposit box.

*When someone rings your doorbell or knocks on your door, make them aware that someone is home, even if you don’t feel comfortable answering the door.

For example, call out to the person that you are unable to currently answer the door right now.

Costs to repair Collingwood’s iconic grain terminals could top $10 million

The Collingwood Grain Terminals is an iconic landmark in the community and has stood for 89 years.

However, it appears the 2019 council will have a decision to make on its future.

At its June 25 meeting, council received a report on the condition of the facility and was told repairs could be upwards of $10 million.

Will Teron of Tacoma Engineers was hired to assess the building and said while the foundation of the terminals is strong, the roof and “exterior coating” has failed and is “no longer providing that protection for the concrete.”

Teron said the windows and doors are generally in poor condition and said they couldn’t get into the marine tower because of the bird droppings, which he said are two inches thick.

He suggested four options for council going forward, the first being full remediation and repair over the next five years.

This would cost between $8 and $9.7 million and would include environmental abatement, roof replacement, concrete restoration, window and door repair, interior system repair and foundation waterproofing.

He said the work could be phased, but the cost would increase because of ongoing deterioration and inflation.

Coun. Kevin Lloyd asked, “What is the deterioration rate over the next five years, 10 years and what is that going to cost us?”

Teron said the building is likely deteriorating at a rate of about two to four per cent annually.

The third option would be to abandon the facility.

“None of the repairs would be implemented and the building would be completely vacated,” he said.

The final option would be demolition, which he estimates would cost about $5 million.

He said they approached three different companies on estimates to demolition the building.

The terminal was constructed in 1929 by Collingwood Terminals Limited and features 52 grain silos.

The building was declared surplus several years ago and there was a proposal by two local businessmen to grow mushrooms in the facility.

Council passed a motion to receive the report and refer it to the 2019 budget discussions.

Proposed building fee harmonization would increase Midland rates

Building fees in Midland would increase significantly if the town aligns their rates with Penetanguishene.

The two municipalities have proposed an agreement, which would harmonize building permit fees and charges in both towns until 2021.

“We had the same staff enforcing the same code, to the same service level and to a great extent that should occur at the same fee level between the two municipalities,” said Wes Crown, director of planning and building services.

Midland’s rates have not increased since 2005, while Penetanguishene fees recently increased.

In Midland, the average building fees for a 1,500-square foot deck would increase from $1,808 to $2,371, while the average fees for 6,348-square-foot office building would increase from $3,652 to $6,425.

Crown says the proposed fees would still be lower than the majority of fees charged across Simcoe County.

Lisa-Marie Wilson – SCDSB Trustee Barrie Ward 7-10

My name is Lisa-Marie Wilson and I’m running for Simcoe County District School Board Trustee (Public) for Wards 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Foremost, I am a parent to two wonderful children. My oldest is attending Wilford Laurier University and my youngest will be returning for one last semester in high school after graduating this June.

I have always been passionate about the well-being of children and youth, and my personal and professional lives have reflected this passion.

I received my degree in psychology from York University and my diploma in social service work from Seneca College.

I then began my professional career in public service working for the Ministry of Community & Social Services then the Ministry of Children & Youth Services and now currently with the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services.

My formal education and extensive professional training I believe have afforded me the skills required to represent the people of Wards 7-10 along with my dedication, integrity, energy and passion.

I plan to build on the current board foundation by continuing to focus on keeping our children safe with a zero tolerance for all forms of bullying and preparing our children for the future emphasizing acceptance and diversity. Studies show that children can flourish in an environment where they feel accepted.  

I promise to make myself accessible to listen to your concerns and be your voice bringing those forward to the school board. There are no issues that I am uncomfortable addressing on behalf of the people.

I have previously volunteered in various capacities in my community from coaching Barrie children’s soccer to helping with the Out of the Cold program. 

I try to live each day by the motto “be the light in the world you want to see.”

I ask on Oct. 22 that you take the time to vote and that you vote for me

Lisa-Marie for School Board Trustee.

I thank you in advance for the opportunity to represent you in wards 7, 8, 9 and 10  

Regards,       

Office: 55 Melinda Cres., Barrie ON L4N 5T7

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