Former Canadian political candidate and journalist suing Jewish groups for defamation over 9/11 comments

Jun 24, 2009 04:30 AM

WINNIPEG – A former Liberal candidate who was dumped before last fall's federal election is suing cabinet minister Peter Kent, the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith of Canada and four senior members of the two organizations.

Lesley Hughes claims the defendants made untrue and defamatory accusations that she was anti-Semitic. She says that, as a result, former federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion revoked her candidacy in the Manitoba riding of Kildonan-St. Paul last September.

The allegations made by Hughes in her statement of claim have not been heard or proven in court.

Hughes acknowledges in her lawsuit that she wrote a column in a Winnipeg newspaper in 2002 that suggested Israeli businesses in the World Trade Center had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hughes claims senior members of the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith persuaded Dion to revoke her candidacy on the grounds she was anti-Semitic.

She also claims that Kent, then a Conservative candidate and now minister of state for foreign affairs, issued a news release Sept. 26, 2008, saying Hughes held "extreme, anti-Israel ... conspiracy theories" and was "unfit to serve for public office."

Hughes claims she "is no longer employable in her role as a freelance journalist/broadcaster."