B.C. deputy minister files defamation suit against MLA Rob Fleming

Athana Mentzelopoulos, jobs, tourism and skills deputy minister, claims Fleming damaged her reputation in online petition

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming is facing a defamation lawsuit from a B.C. deputy minister after the NDP published statements that suggested the civil servant’s position and pay increase was politically motivated.

In the suit filed Aug. 15 at Vancouver civil courts, jobs, tourism and skills deputy minister Athana Mentzelopoulos claims Fleming damaged her reputation by naming her in an online petition related to the ongoing teacher’s strike.

That petition, still available Thursday on the B.C. NDP’s website, features an image with a mock credit card labelled “Christy Clark’s Friend Rewards Program,” with the name “Liberal Insider” attached. Below, Mentzelopoulos is directly named as benefitting from a $30,000 pay increase in 2013 and called Clark’s friend. The defamation claim also references an email sent to NDP supporters.

Mentzelopoulos was a bridesmaid at Clark’s wedding in the mid-1990s, something Mentzelopoulos’ lawyer said is irrelevant in her professional life.

“Athana’s been a career civil servant, she’s worked for federal government, she was recruited by the Campbell government,” said lawyer David Wotherspoon. “The fact she [Mentzelopoulos] was someone’s bridesmaid 20 years ago shouldn’t be used for political fodder.”

Wotherspoon said Mentzelopoulos requested a retraction and formal apology from Fleming, but that didn’t happen.

“She felt she had to take this step,” Wotherspoon said.

Fleming and his lawyers have three weeks to formally respond before the suit moves forward.

An NDP spokesperson said Fleming intends to defend himself vigorously, but was unable to offer further comment as the case is before the courts.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Multi-vehicle crash along the Malahat leaves traffic crawling

Southbound lane heavily delayed at Malahat Summit

Victoria man arrested in connection with Hillside murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

Raccoons making themselves at home on Saanich property

Resident blames neighbour for attracting pests to area

Peace Walk fundraiser for hospice runs on Sunday

Take a walk, have a snack, and help donate to a local charity

City of Victoria joins national food waste reduction program

The City is partnering in the Love Food, Hate Waste Program

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Royal Canadian Navy announces leadership changes in Esquimalt

Commodore Angus Topshee new commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, naval reserve also gets new leader

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

Saanich welcomes feedback on development charges

Info sessions set for July 25 on update to Saanich DCC bylaw

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Most Read