This was a new term for me but here is an intersting case in BC. This was aired earlier this week on CBC tv. I wonder how long it will take for cases like this to affect public particpation processes on a wider scale?
I couldn't find enough information about the suit on my cursory internet search to see how applicable it is. It's hard to judge whether it truly is a SLAPP. I've seen citizens call developers liars and make all kinds of crazy accusations that could open them up to some type of libel in the States. There is a difference between protesting a development on real grounds and making up stuff about a developer to try to sway a Council's opinion.
My advice... pay into the CIP insurance plan to cover your bum, just in case (I know I am!)...
This is a case of the developer suing members of the pubic who spoke out against his application. Granted they did make a false accusation about a payment to a politician (they did not know it was false at the time) but even some who apolized publicly are still being sued.
So, does this provide another way for developers to get faster approvals? "Don't oppose my application or I will sue you for defamation!"
This isn't anything new... not even in Canada. There have been a few cases in Ontario from at least a decade ago. I think the big deal about this one is that the government just repealed the legislation that gave the public equal opportunity to comment... or something like that. Supposedly, because the suit was filed before the repeal, they will get to be heard under the laws at the time. Hopefully we will get some kind of direction from the courts this time... because when I researched past cases they were determined not to be precedent setting.
There was a case herre where a property owner sued a PC member for libel after being called a "slumlord." I think there is a difference between something like that (provided it can't be proved), or this case, and a true SLAPP suit. Citizens have a responsibility to be civil and honest/accurate in their claims, the same as the developer.