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VIDEO: P.E.I. Opposition MLAs say they were threatened with legal action after questions about alleged privacy breach

A screenshot of video from the legislative assembly shows Opposition MLA Darlene Compton on Friday as she gives an emotional statement about what she says are threats of a lawsuit. Compton said she was threatened with legal action after asking questions about an alleged privacy breach involving the Green party and the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation.
A screenshot of video from the legislative assembly shows Opposition MLA Darlene Compton on Friday as she gives an emotional statement about what she says are threats of a lawsuit. Compton said she was threatened with legal action after asking questions about an alleged privacy breach involving the Green party and the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation. - Submitted

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Opposition MLAs say they have been threatened with legal action over questions raised about an alleged privacy breach related to last year’s byelection in Charlottetown.

Belfast-Murray River MLA Darlene Compton stood in the legislative assembly Friday where she said when she arrived at the Opposition office Thursday she was faced with the threat of a lawsuit.

“If that’s an attempt to stifle me, so be it.”

Compton raised questions earlier in the week about the Green party and allegations it used personal information that was given to the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation.

Related: P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation spokesman denies privacy breach allegations

The questions were directed to Justice Minister Jordan Brown and Compton said members of the public contacted the Opposition with concerns the Greens used the information during last year’s byelection in Charlottetown-Parkdale.

Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker denied the allegation, as did party president Anna Keenan.

Below is a YouTube video released by the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation in response to the allegations: 

IFrame

MLAs are protected by parliamentary privilege when they make comments on the floor of the legislature, which is in place so they can ask questions and speak without fear of legal action.

Compton and Georgetown-St. Peters MLA Steven Myers both rose to address what they said were breaches of their privilege as members of the legislative assembly and attempts to stifle them from asking questions about the issue.

When she raised the questions, Compton mentioned Green party president Anna Keenan and Jordan Bober, who worked on Green MLA Hannah Bell’s campaign.

Myers also rose to say he was threatened with a lawsuit.

Compton and Myers tabled several posts from social media Friday that they said showed the threats.

In one post from Bober, he said he hoped Compton would realize her error and retract what he called slanderous and unfounded allegations.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been slandered and it is so exasperating to be slandered by someone abusing their privilege as an MLA uttering that slander, which allows them to lie and slander without legal repercussion.”

A series of posts from Keenan that were tabled included one in which she said she was seeking legal advice and that Compton made comments about her outside the legislature.

In one of the tabled documents, Keenan said she was the target of defamation and libel.

Compton, whose voice shook at times as she spoke, said she has been accused of slander, libel and abusing her privilege as an MLA.

“That shows a direct contempt for this house,” she said.

Poll: What's your reaction to the alleged threats against the PC MLAs? 

The Guardian contacted Keenan who said she didn’t want to comment because she hadn’t seen Compton’s remarks from Friday and she was still seeking legal advice.

The Opposition also tabled a post from P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation representative Mark Greenan, in which he referred to statements Myers was making that were “false, defamatory and libelous.”

Myers said those were legal terms.

“That is an implied threat of a lawsuit,” he said.

There were further comments Myers said were a threat and an attempt to intimidate him into not doing his job.

“This is an attempt to threaten me from not doing my sworn duty of this house and my constituents,” he said.

Speaker Buck Watts said he would take the matter under advisement.

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