CAO files $1M defamation lawsuit against councillor, TV station

Leeds and the Thousand Islands CAO Greg Borduas. (TLTI via Newswatch Group, File)

LANSDOWNE, Ont. – The chief administrative officer for Leeds and the Thousand Islands Township has filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit against a township councillor and a Kingston television station.

A statement of claim, filed by a London law firm with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of CAO Greg Borduas, is seeking $500,000 in general damages for defamation, $200,000 in aggravated damages, $200,000 in punitive damages and $100,000 in special damages.

Coun. John Paul Jackson and Corus Entertainment Inc., the parent company of CKWS-TV, are named as defendants.

The statement of claim, dated Oct. 4, alleges Jackson had widely shared information about alleged conduct and a subsequent investigation by the township over allegations of workplace harassment.

An investigation by a municipality appointed external investigator would later clear CAO Greg Borduas of any wrongdoing.

The claim further alleges Jackson had disclosed information from private council meetings surrounding the investigation, violating the municipal code of conduct.

An integrity commissioner would later find Jackson guilty of breaking the municipal code of conduct and docked him 90 days pay – the stiffest sentence allowed.

The defamation allegations laid out in detail in the statement of claim also surround a number of Jackson’s Facebook and social media postings about Borduas.

The lawsuit also accuses Jackson of disclosing private information and making false and willfully misleading statements during at least two interviews with reporter Morganne Campbell of CKWS-TV in Kingston, owned by Corus Entertainment.

Borduas claims Corus/CKWS-TV “failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth of the story by following the standards of responsible journalism” and that the TV reports were “calculated to disparage” him.

The lawsuit states Borduas has suffered injury to his integrity, character and damage to his professional reputation.

None of the statements of claim have been proven in court.

Depending on how they choose to proceed, the defendants will have 20-30 days to respond to the claim.

On the advice of his lawyer, Coun. John Paul Jackson declined to make a statement but did tell Brockville Newswatch he “will be challenging these vexatious charges with as much effort as we fought to see the missing documents that led to his unfortunate situation.”

An email to Jay Westman, manager of news and television operations for CKWS Kingston, on Tuesday afternoon was not returned.

Borduas has asked for the matter to be heard in the City of London, where his law firm is located and near his residence in Ingersoll, Ont.

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