Ezra Morse, president of the Qualicum Nature Preservation Society, seen here speaking to the crowd during a March for the Future event in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)

Ezra Morse, president of the Qualicum Nature Preservation Society, seen here speaking to the crowd during a March for the Future event in Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)

Qualicum Nature Preservation Society files motion to dismiss defamation claim

Filing pursuant to newly implemented Protection of Public Participation Act

The Qualicum Nature Preservation Society has filed, in B.C. Supreme Court, for dismissal of a civil claim of defamation launched by lawyers for developers Richard and Linda Todsen.

Society president Ezra Morse’s lawyer, Chris Tollefson, filed the motion to dismiss on July 6, pursuant to the newly implemented Protection of Public Participation Act.

The couple, owners of Todsen Design & Construction Ltd., filed claims in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on May 14. According to court documents, they seek relief for damages from statements made by Morse; and Deborah McKinley, administrator of the Facebook page Concerned Citizens of Qualicum Beach.

McKinley indicated via social media that her response to the claim against her was “that it had no legal basis and asked that it be dismissed.”

READ MORE: Marathon public hearing held regarding OCP amendment for proposed 16-parcel subdivision in Qualicum Beach

Todsen Design and Construction Ltd. has a zoning application in to the Town of Qualicum Beach for a 16-lot subdivision at 2075 Island Highway and Eaglecrest Drive. The development has received opposition from residents and environmental groups.

The QNPS wants the motion to dismiss expedited and the proceeding to be held in either in the Victoria or Vancouver courthouse.

“The precedent may reverberate for decades,” said Morse. “Our community really has become ground zero in the battle for free speech and environmentalism.”

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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