ALBERTA

Naheed Nenshi Calls Cal Wenzel's Defamation Lawsuit 'Dangerous'

11/18/2013 08:30 EST | Updated 11/18/2013 08:33 EST
CP

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is calling a $6-million defamation lawsuit against him by a Calgary developer disappointing and dangerous, saying it is a threat to politicians and free speech.

He also said that Cal Wenzel, the developer suing him, was "the architect of his own situation," and is the one who decided he was "going to influence the election and to hold that secret meeting."

Nenshi has not been formally served with papers, Metro News reports.

"Politicians should be able to speak on matters of public policy without the fear of being sued," said Nenshi in a statement on Monday. "That is why I must vigorously defend myself in this lawsuit."

The City is asking its insurer to see if legal costs are covered, and Nenshi said he is not a wealthy man.

"This suit, including the outrageous damages that Mr. Wenzel is seeking is clearly designed to scare me and others," he said.

The response comes days after Wenzel, who was secretly recorded discussing a plan to defeat members of Calgary city council, filed a defamation suit against the mayor.

Documents filed in Court of Queen’s Bench allege Nenshi distorted the comments made by Wenzel for his own political gain.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

Wenzel said in a statement last week that he filed the lawsuit after Nenshi refused to formally apologize for “fear mongering” and “false” comments, according to the Calgary Herald.

A video surfaced in April which showed Wenzel telling a meeting of fellow developers which councillors he approved of and which ones he was supporting with campaign donations.

At the time, Nenshi called for an investigation into whether there was any breach of election laws.

Wenzel later said he had made no secret of how unhappy he was about the governance in Calgary, but said he never requested or received a favour from any alderman.

Nenshi said on Monday that he would be willing to discuss the "problem" with Wenzel and have a conversation "anytime, anyplace."

With files from The Canadian Press

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