Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund: Facing RackNine Robocalls Lawsuit, NDP MP Asks For Help With Legal Fees

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NDP MP Pat Martin rises to question the government during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday February 27, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld | CP

The MP better known for using the internet to drop F-bombs and insults is harnessing the power of the web to help pay some heftly legal fees.

Pat Martin, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre, has created the 'Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund' website. With a Paypal button at the ready, the page is collecting donations to fund Martin's legal defence against a lawsuit from RackNine to the tune of $250,000, reports the Globe and Mail.

The website states "We are reaching out to supporters for help in meeting these costs and we appreciate any contribution you might make."

The Edmonton-based automatic calls firm is suing Martin and the NDP for comments Martin made accusing the company and its CEO Matt Meier of being behind illegal robocalls made during the last federal election. RackNine is seeking $5 million in damages for "exceptionally inflammatory and sensationalistic" defamation and "ongoing malice" by Martin and the NDP.

Martin denounced "hundreds of thousands of phony phone calls by the RackNine rascals" on Feb. 23. Comments made in the House of Commons are protected from defamation suits, however Martin stepped out of the House when he accused RackNine.

The calls claimed to be from Elections Canada and falsely informed voters in Guelph, Ont. that their polling stations had changed. RackNine carried the calls, but denied actually placing them or knowing anything about their content.

Faced with legal action, Martin backtracked in April and publicly apologized for his comments.

"I apologize for any damage my statements may have caused to Mr. Meier personally or to RackNine and I have been specifically authorized by the NDP to apologize on behalf of the NDP," he read from a prepared statement.

It came too late for RackNine's liking, who will go ahead with the lawsuit and said in a court filing obtained by CBC news that there was an "unreasonable delay in offering an apology by the Plaintiffs."

With files from the Canadian Press

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