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2015 BCSC 165 Weaver v. Corcoran

Canada's National Post has been found liable for fabricating stories meant to discredit a climate-scientist (Andrew Weaver), following break-ins targetting at his laboratory...

[78] Mr. Corcoran indicated the first information he had with respect to the break-ins at the University of Victoria was from CBC, The National Newscast on December 2, 2009. Mr. Corcoran obtained the script of that broadcast. He was forwarded a copy of Ms. O’Toole’s article on December 3, 2009, and sent it to Mr. Foster, along with a link to Mr. Lupick’s article “Climate scientists under attack before Copenhagen summit”. As quoted earlier, Mr. Lupick’s article included the following:

He claimed to have knowledge of repeated attempts to hack into computers, used by Environment Canada’s Canadian Center for Climate Modeling and Analysis which has offices in the same building as Weaver’s.

“There are people who don’t like that message and they are trying to undercut that message by selectively targeting individuals”, Weaver said.

[79] Mr. Foster indicated his knowledge with respect to the break-ins at the University of Victoria included CBC’s The National Newscast on December 2, 2009, in which Dr. Weaver noted his office had been broken into twice in the past year; and the article by Ms. O’Toole published on December 4, 2009, which referred to office break-ins in the last year noted by Dr. Weaver. This, Mr. Foster read on December 3, 2009, as the article was forwarded to him by Mr. Corcoran on that date. Mr. Foster then wrote the article Weaver’s Web.

[80] Mr. Corcoran sent an email to Matt Gurney, a National Post colleague, titled “Add to peter”, in reference to Weaver’s Web, as follows:

Was Weaver’s office the only office broken into? If other offices in non-climate department of the University also had computers stolen, might this suggest that the thefts Corcoran indicated that he would not insert something into Foster’s column without him being aware of it. Were they not related to climate change? Is it unreasonable to suggest that Weaver’s charge against the fossil fuel industry is totally without merit?

[81] This passage was added into the article Weaver’s Web.

[82] In the evening of December 8, 2009, Weaver’s Web by Mr. Foster was published on the Internet. On December 9, 2009, the National Post published Weaver’s Web in the print edition of the Financial Post comment section.

[83] The second and third paragraphs of Weaver’s Web noted amongst other things:

One demand being peddled by the powers-that-warm in Copenhagen and elsewhere is that we should all concentrate not on the damning emails, but on who was responsible for their “theft,” which had to be carried out for money, which in turn obviously came from the fossil fuel industry.

These guilty until proven innocent villains have also been fingered by Canada’s warmest spinner in chief, Dr. Andrew Weaver. Weaver, who is Canada research chair in climate modeling and analysis at the University of Victoria, claims that his office has been broken into twice, that colleagues have suffered hack attacks, and that mysterious man masquerading as technicians have attempted to penetrate the University’s data defences.

[84] Mr. Foster noted the CBC National Newscast, the O’Toole article, and a December 2009 Edmonton Journal article by Mr. Thompson, led him to writing the second paragraph of Weaver’s Web. Mr. Foster wrote that Dr. Weaver had “fingered these guilty until proven innocent villains” in the third paragraph as Dr. Weaver had pointed to a vague group which Ms. O’Toole identified as the fossil fuel industry. In addition, Mr. Foster noted he referred to the DeSmog Blog which claimed oil and gas industry were involved in the Climategate scandal. Mr. Foster stated in the fourth paragraph he suggested Dr. Weaver was making unfounded allegations by saying Dr. Weaver has no problem pointing to the shadowy culprits – the fossil fuel industry.

[85] When Dr. Weaver read this article, he was dumbfounded; shocked; and did not know how someone could write this about him...

2015 BCSC 165 Weaver v. Corcoran

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