What’s the cost of advocating for better ethics and transparency from public health while trying to maintain a good reputation these days?
For two Canadian pro-medical freedom doctors, it’s a whopping $1.1 million. That’s the amount Brampton, Ont. doctors Kulvinder Kaur Gill and Ashvinder Kaur Lamba have just been slapped with to pay for the costs of their dismissed defamation suit.
Both front-line physicians, who are passionate patient-centred care advocates with Concerned Ontario Doctors, were early critics of sweeping COVID-19 lockdown restrictions which have since been proven to have caused harm to people across the globe.
Like many well-respected doctors who publicly advocated against the politicization of COVID and for freedom of medical choice, a stream of cancel culture mobsters used social media and state-backed media to hurl insults at the two professionals and accuse them of spreading misinformation.
In an attempt to fight back against what the two frontliners considered “personally vile” and “defamatory comments” made against them mostly on Twitter, Dr. Gill and Dr. Lamba hired lawyer Rocco Galati with the Constitutional Rights Law Centre, who then filed a $12.7 million dollar defamation suit in December 2020.
The suit ended up being dismissed in February of this year. The suit named 23 defendants consisting mostly of physicians and media outlets, including a general surgeon named Dr. Angus Maciver.
While the suit was primarily over tweets related to the declared COVID pandemic, it also included “crude Twitter remarks” Maciver had made about Dr. Gill and Dr. Lamba back in 2018.
Unlike that previous matter, where Maciver was found guilty of professional misconduct, suspended for one month, and ordered to pay $6,000 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), Justice J. Stewart, who presided over this recent multi-million-dollar defamation suit, found Maciver’s comments to be “pure name-calling” and “not defamation.”
Judge Stewart used Ontario’s anti-SLAPP law, which is designed to combat strategic lawsuits from being used to intimidate people and organizations from making critical comments on matters of public interest, to quash the libel suit against Maciver and the other 22 defendants.
After filing an appeal to the ruling for the plaintiffs, Galati and his firm filed a motion to be removed from the case due to health issues. Despite Dr. Gill and Dr. Lamba opposing Galati’s removal from the case due to “the complexity of the evidentiary record underlying the appeal and the appeal's connection to their other legal proceedings,” Justice Eileen Gillese ruled in Galati’s favour and granted that he and his firm be “removed from the record as counsel.”
In turn, both physicians acquired new and separate counsel. Lawyer Jeff G. Saikaley, with Caza Saikaley S.R.L./LLP, now represents Dr. Gill, and lawyer Asher Honickman is now counsel for Dr. Lamba.
Rebel News reached out to Mr. Galati to provide an interview or statement regarding the tossed defamation suit but did not receive a statement at the time of publication.
Given that all parties in the defamation case had been granted full indemnity (protection from costs for the winning party), the judge ruled in October, that a $1.1-million award for the 23 defendents’ legal costs be paid by the plaintiffs.
Since Dr. Lamba had only joined the suit against two out of the 23 defendants, it is Dr. Gill who is currently on the hook for the vast majority of the costs.
Court dates for the above matters and more for Dr. Gill will continue over the coming months. Her lawyer, Mr. Saikaley, tells Rebel News that his client will be seeking an appeal for Justice Stewart’s decision for the costs, and is currently awaiting a date for the appeal from Ontario’s Court of Appeal, in respect to anti-SLAPP motions that have been filed by the defendants.
Rebel News also contacted Lisa Bildy with Libertas Law, who has been contracted by The Democracy Fund to represent Gill for various proceedings about complaints and investigations involving the CPSO.
Bildy says the proceedings are mostly tied to COVID-related tweets from Dr. Gill, which were often retweets of scientific studies or comments on lockdowns and mandates.
Bildy added that “it is of vital importance to Canadians that physicians be able to sound the alarm and provide alternative opinions, particularly in an environment where polarization and politicization of public health policy has contributed to widespread group-think.”
Rebel News reached out to Dr. Lamba and her counsel for comment and did not receive a response.
If you’d like to help cover Dr. Gill’s fight with the CPSO to be able to speak freely without fear of professional demise, you can make a tax-deductible donation to The Democracy Fund here to help cover the costs of having Bildy’s team represent her.