By Richard Peachey.

On Friday, we received a second letter from Vince Dimanno’s lawyer (shown at the bottom of this post). Here’s my response:

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Mr. Heath:

This will acknowledge receipt of your emailed letter of November 7, 2014 to my wife, Gerda Peachey. I am writing this email on her behalf.

Despite your repetitious demands to “retract” and “apologize,” it is our position that sufficient and appropriate action has already been taken in response to your emailed letter of November 6, 2014.

Gerda’s post of Nov. 6 has adequately clarified and explained what she intended in her post of Nov. 2. As well, a note with a link to the Nov. 6 clarification has been inserted at the end of the Nov. 2 paragraph about which you and your client raised concern.

Furthermore, this action was taken in a very timely fashion, minimizing the possibility of anyone’s ongoing misunderstanding of the Nov. 2 post, thereby also reducing the credibility of your assertion that Gerda’s words were “intended to” falsely or libelously harm your client’s reputation. “Right-thinking” members of society will no doubt recognize the validity of this logic.

You allege that Gerda has attempted to “walk back” her “defamatory comments.” We do not agree with this language. She has simply issued a clarification, which is in no way intended as any kind of retraction or “walking back.” Furthermore, we hold that her comments, especially as clarified, are not “defamatory” in the sense of being untrue.

Nor are Gerda’s comments about Mr. Dimanno and the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association (ARA), in general, to be dismissed as “incorrect opinions.” Her comments are based in documented facts and in the testimonies of many who were involved in the ARA — the organization of which your client continues to claim he is “currently the Presidentas if that were something of great significance and political importance.

You write, “Your statement ‘your refusal to open an association bank account’ is not defamatory, you say, because it refers (apparently) to a previous, undefined period of time, despite being written in the present tense.” But there is no finite verb within that phrase (“to open” is an infinitive), and consequently there is no “present tense.” The word “refusal” is a regular noun (not a verbal noun); it does not exhibit “tense.” I’m a little embarrassed to have to explain this to you.

You then offer an irrelevant illustration: “Ms. Peachey, if I write about ‘John Doe’s refusal to pay taxes for 15 years’ publicly, and Mr. Doe makes a claim in defamation against me, it is no defense for me to claim that I was referring to his childhood.” Obviously, people don’t “refuse” to pay taxes during their childhood! But more importantly, the issue during the current municipal election is not what Mr. Dimanno may have done during “his childhood.” It’s about what he did do as an adult, within just the last eight years, in the ARA. And it’s about his present claims to be “currently the President” of an organization that, in the view of many, your client managed very badly, and concerning which he has told and is presently maintaining untruths, as documented here and elsewhere.

You state, “It is telling that, in this case, you choose to not provide an alternative meaning for ‘pocketing.’ ” This is simply false. In her clarification Gerda explained that your client “retained personal control of donated ARA funds.”

Mr. Heath, you wrote in your letter that “this is not a game.” But when you toss out insulting pomposities such as “hue and cry,” “logorrheic writing,” and “remarkable exercise in disingenuousness,” it is clear to me that you are engaged in rhetorical and psychological gamesmanship.

Gerda Peachey cares deeply about truth, democracy, and good government. That is why she is taking such pains, and such personal risks, to expose your client’s questionable character and unsuitability for political office. If you cared about democracy as much as she does, you would be encouraging her rather than offering comfort to a man like Mr. Dimanno. For a few dollars. Shame.

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