Cabana makes monster legal moves

James McLeod
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Former political candidate sues premier, seeks court ruling on Muskrat Falls

Brad Cabana sits in Supreme Court Tuesday during a recess. He is representing himself in a flurry of legal actions dealing with the provincial government and the Muskrat Falls project.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

The man who once tried to run for the leadership of two political parties in a single year now finds himself in the eye of a storm of litigation.

Brad Cabana was in court Tuesday in St. John’s to deal with issues around an ongoing defamation lawsuit filed against him by former premier Danny Williams.

But while he was in court, he filed a few legal applications of his own — namely, a $5-million lawsuit against Tourism Minister Terry French, Premier Kathy Dunderdale and the provincial government and a constitutional challenge trying to get the courts to force a provincewide referendum on the Muskrat Falls project.

Cabana will be back in court Thursday morning for a followup hearing on the constitutional challenge. He is representing himself.

He is essentially arguing that because the Innu Nation got to vote in a referendum related to the Muskrat Falls project, but the whole population has not been given the chance to vote in a referendum, the government is violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Innu Nation vote was not on Muskrat Falls specifically. It was on the New Dawn agreement as a whole, which also encompasses redress for the Upper Churchill development and an agreement-in-principle for self- government as part of a resolution to a land claim.

In his application to the court, Cabana asks the judge to rule “that the continued site work on, and continued development of the Lower Churchill River hydro-electric project by the (government) including expenditure of public funds thereon, without the expressed consent of the people of the province by way of a referendum, constitutes a violation of Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”


A spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources said it wouldn’t comment on a matter before the courts.

Cabana told reporters that he wants to see a wider vote on the Muskrat Falls project.

“I feel that is not something that 2,200 people (of the Innu Nation) should decide alone,” Cabana said. “I think the rest of the province deserves a decision on that as well.”

In a separate statement of claim filed with the court, he also raised comments made by Tourism Minister Terry French on VOCM Backtalk in August 2011 as the basis of a $5-million lawsuit.

The Telegram cannot reprint the allegedly defamatory statements or risk being legally liable.

In his application, Cabana calls the comments French made as “an extreme and severe character assassination, the most grievous defamation possible.”


Minister’s reaction

Reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, French didn’t seem too worried.

“He wanted to be leader of two political parties? Those three little jibes? He should sit in one of these seats for a couple weeks. Those things would be minor. I’ve got worse things in emails ,” he said.

French also scoffed at the fact that Cabana is suing for $5 million.

“I will tell you that if he sued the last 10 generations of Frenches, he wouldn’t get five million bucks,” he said. “He’s going to have to dig up a few of my dead relatives and see what rings they’ve got on.”

Cabana’s forray into the legal world Tuesday had more than a few hiccups, and ultimately, a line of legal argument he was trying to put forward was thrown out by Chief Justice David Orsborn.

The main defamation lawsuit between Cabana, Danny Williams and mining company Alderon Iron Ore Corp. is still going ahead.

Cabana was undaunted representing himself at the centre of all the legal furor.

“The essential facts are the facts, and the judge will decide,” he said. “It’s simple. Whether I put it across in one way or another way, the judge is going to make his mind up on the facts.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Rights, Canadian Charter, New Dawn Department of Natural Resources Alderon Iron Ore

Geographic location: Muskrat Falls, Lower Churchill River

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Recent comments

  • crista
    November 14, 2012 - 19:06

    to the ones reading and writing comments,can you see what;s going on.freedom of speech???? hard tax paying dollars????

  • Winston Adams
    November 14, 2012 - 16:02

    John Smith, Ray Guy said Danny Williams is a self made man who worships his maker! Good or what ? And you seem to worship everything Nalcor . Nalcor said gains from efficiency has reached a saturation point and so only intents to save 9 Gwh per year. I identified 3480 Gwh , 45 percent of our total generation, most of which is very economic to save. And you see nothing wrong with Nalcor's analysis. Wonder why?

  • John Smith
    November 14, 2012 - 12:28

    As I have said before...I do not belong to any political party...nor do I support any political party...I just call them as I see them...that's all. Brad Cabana is a self serving, grandstanding mope....Former Premier Williams is a self made millionaire, who is a lawyer, Rhode scholar, and is on record as being the most popular premier in Canadian history...and I admire him for what he has done, and continues to do for the province. Brad Cabana is not worhty to shine his shoes...nor are most of these jealous wannabes who comment here.

    • Scott Free
      November 14, 2012 - 13:04

      ummmm....I wonder...could John Smith and Tony the Tory infact be the same person after all? could they be Little Man Dan's alter ego? could it be Danny himself? Who esle would be so pathetic to heap such lofty praise and see everything Danny does as 100% perfect? John Smith, you are sooooo sad.

    • Little Man Dan
      November 14, 2012 - 13:07

      get down Johnny! get off me you lapdog lackie; you're drolling on lap; ggggrrr

    • happily retired
      November 14, 2012 - 15:04

      It seems to me that the pathetic ones are those who would make a hero out of Brad Cabana. His narcissistic actions are motivated by staying in the spotlight rather than actually doing something to help the province. I cannot understand those who are so full of hatred that they would line up behind this pathetic, arttention-starved individual against Danny Williams. Like him or not, Williams did more for this province in his sleep than cabana ever will. Are petty politics that important to you? No wonder Dean MacDonald is staying away from this rubbish.

  • Jimmy Parsons Jr.
    November 14, 2012 - 12:26

    the Copa Cabana should really zip it. His efforts to get his 2 minutes of fame has passed. Honestly Brad, book a trip to a cabana and stay there. Us NL'ers are tired of your shot at glory, you've failed, twice. Accept it, move on, and stop filling the news with your foolishness.

  • Who is John Smith?
    November 14, 2012 - 11:25

    Are John Smith of The Telegram fame and Tony "The Tory" of VOCM fame one and the same individual. Their tripe sounds exactly the same.

    • FYET
      November 14, 2012 - 12:11

      And GodGuardTheeNL on CBC....your tax dollars hard at work folks!

    • Scott Free
      November 14, 2012 - 12:12

      My guess is that John Smith is an insider, possibly even a cabinet minister in the Con Party; paid handsomely to get the Tory spin out. While Tony the Tory was only pumped with drivel to deliver and his false fame was enough payment as a boost to his ego.

  • Max
    November 14, 2012 - 10:37

    Folks this is fast becoming nothing but a political football, I must admit I have no great fondness for Brad Cabana, he has proven to be nothing but an aspiring Politico, who will engage in any action which might help him obtain the Leadership of either of our Political parties. At the same time I don't believe former Premier Danny Williams, has good grounds for a Libel suit, and this appears to be nothing more than a misguided attempt to silence Mr. Cabana . I have voted PC in the past , but won't be voting for this party in the next Provincial Election, as I feel they are not acting in the best interest of Newfoundlanders.. They are afraid of a close scrutiny of this deal, and appear to be trying to push it through at any cost. I am a retired Senior, and can ill afford the increased consumer cost associated with this deal. The Conservatives appear to be trying to stifle any voice of objection, and Press this deal through, despite the objections of Newfoundland ratepayers and voters. I firmly believe they will obtain their goal, but their actions and callous disregard for the Newfoundland voter will result in them losing the government in the next Provincial Election. Newfoundlanders are not happy with the actions of this party, and passing of this Hydro deal will seal their Political Fate. Newfoundlanders will be reminded of the PC's stubborn folly, each time they receive an Electricity Utility Bill.. We may not have the ability to stop them, but the Newfoundland voter should make sure they are firmly assigned to political oblivion, for failing to listen on this matter. In this age the voter should not tolerate pigheaded, blind political ambition , that runs diagonally opposed to their (the Voters) best Interest.

  • Winston Adams
    November 14, 2012 - 10:24

    John Smith, you seem to be a copy cat. I referred to you as 'Little John' because you always said our power bills would go up a litttle with Muskrat fallls, and it will actually go up a lot. Now you say Dan is indeed a little man. And indeed. Cabanna has courage with his court action. Peter Cashin was no fool when he took on 3 judges, all laywers during the confederation debates and won in court, he represented himself. However , to think that the judge may only rule on the facts- he assumes there will be no judicial bias. Time will tell.

  • saelcove
    November 14, 2012 - 10:06

    John smith is one of williams minnows

  • Andy Dufresne
    November 14, 2012 - 09:44

    And this is the guy who just a couple short years ago wanted to be our Premier? He lost the leadership bid and he's been sooky ever since. If I can't be your leader, I'll sue you! Three words Brad, JUST. GO. AWAY.

  • This should be good.
    November 14, 2012 - 09:27

    Will Peter Penashue have to testify? Isn't he the guy who, against the wisdom of his own mother, he brokered the deal with the Innu that gave the NL government the go ahead for Muskrat to begin with? Soon after, he was catapulted into federal politics where he's been at the center of one media firestorm after another. Will there be a jury? Can’t wait to get more details!

  • FYET
    November 14, 2012 - 08:45

    I actually admire Mr. Cabanas perseverance. At least he has the guts to stand up against the bullys in our current administration. If they have nothing to hide then let the people have the facts and decide how we would like to proceed with the likes of Muskrat Falls. If the project is so great it will stand on it's own merit once the questions have been asnwered. It's not just a few bucks we're talking about after all. We are not as uneducated and inept as they would like to think! I'm very interested to see how this turns out.

  • Michael Hancock
    November 14, 2012 - 08:15

    Good luck Brad, you'll need it.

  • Roger Smith
    November 14, 2012 - 07:50

    Here's a youtube clip of what Terry French said:

  • Johnson
    November 14, 2012 - 07:40

    Cabana is right.Muskrat Falls should be decided by the whole province.At least this guy has some courage and fortitude to speak up against tyranny and a dictatorship.

    • Kate
      November 14, 2012 - 08:06

      The people have voted on it.. It was under discussion in the last election and the people, in voting to support Kathy Dunderdale and the PCs, voted FOR Muskrat Falls.

    • Jon
      November 14, 2012 - 14:46

      Kate, the election was NOT a vote on Muskrat Falls, nor was it a vote to give the PC's a mandate to ram it through. That viewpoint of yours is SCAR, not to mention undemocratic.

  • Too Funny
    November 14, 2012 - 07:39

    What's that saying "He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client".

  • crista
    November 14, 2012 - 07:29

    you ask what the government is hiding ,you should ask who and what they are are hiding????

  • James
    November 14, 2012 - 07:04

    It is particularly sad that a political misfit like Brad Cabana has more courage than Liberal leader Yvonne Jones and NDP leader Lorraine Michaels combined. Muskrat falls needs a full and complete vetting. what is the Dunderdale government hiding?

  • John Smith
    November 14, 2012 - 06:56

    I wonder who's bankrolling Mr. Cabana's latest foray into the public spotlight? My hope is that Mr. Williams keeps up the fight against Mr. Cabana...and doesn't let it die as he did with the suits against the other...gentlemen...Mr. Marchochio, and the Sierra club.I hope they make an example of Mr. Cabana for the world to see. Mr. Cabana seems rather preoccupied with fame...and with being on the public stage...I feel sorry for him, and his family...a sad state of affairs to be sure...

    • Little Man Dan
      November 14, 2012 - 08:01

      Get off me Johnny; you lapdog lackie! you're embarassing me. you paid Tory wag.

    • Robert
      November 14, 2012 - 08:20

      My thoughts exactly! I really have to wonder who pays for this and I just hope it is not the good taxpayers of Newfoundland.

    • Little Man Dan
      November 14, 2012 - 08:25

      note to equally interesting question is who is paying John Smith to churn out the Tory spin and at what cost to the taxpayers?

    • John Smith
      November 14, 2012 - 08:43

      note to Little man Dan...I have to complement you on your pen name....because it is an apt are indeed a "little" Man....