Controversial Toronto mayoral candidate sues Bell Media after ad refused
Faith Goldy, a former journalist, espouses anti-immigrant views and policies.
TORONTO—A controversial Toronto mayoral candidate known for her extreme views is suing Bell Media, alleging the company broke national broadcasting rules and breached her right to free expression in refusing to air her campaign advertisement on a local television station.
Faith Goldy, a former journalist who is now a fringe candidate in Toronto’s municipal election, wants the court to order the broadcaster to run the ad until the Oct. 22 vote.
In documents filed this week, Goldy alleges Bell Media initially agreed to air her campaign ad on its television station CP24 and accepted a deposit of more than $13,000.
She alleges the broadcaster later refunded her money and refused to run the clip, without providing an explanation for its decision.
The allegations have not been proven in court and Bell Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Goldy, whose campaign includes anti-immigrant policies, once penned an article suggesting there was “white genocide” in Canada. “Vote Faith Goldy for mayor and Toronto ceases to be a Sharia safe space,” she said in a recent tweet.
Her lawyer, Clayton Ruby, said Wednesday there is nothing in the ad itself that the broadcaster could object to, calling it “utterly innocuous.”
He said the case is a matter of free speech and equitable access to air time. “It’s of course particularly important for democracy in an election period,” he said. “If you don’t have the right to political speech then you really have very little.”
The documents allege Bell Media’s decision contravenes rules laid out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s public regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications.
“(The CRTC) has enacted regulations which mandate that all Canadian broadcasting entities allocate time for the broadcasting of programs, advertisements or announcements of a partisan political character and do so on an equitable basis to all accredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election,” the documents read.
“Unfortunately, the respondent has chosen to misuse its power in the context of our upcoming municipal election, by denying advertising airtime to the applicant.”
The documents further allege the company breached a contract by refusing to run her ad after accepting her application and deposit.
Ruby said a hearing has been scheduled for Monday afternoon to determine whether the Ontario Superior Court has jurisdiction to rule on the matter.
Goldy stirred controversy last month after posing for a photograph with Premier Doug Ford, prompting him to distance himself from her several days later following questions from the opposition.News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016