Lawsuit against former N.L. premier Grimes dropped

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Roger Grimes says a defamation lawsuit filed against him has been dropped, and the circumstances surrounding the action were similar to court actions recently launched by Danny Williams and Alderon.

Then-Tory transportation minister John Hickey launched the suit against Grimes for comments he made on an open-line radio show in 2007.

Grimes, who led the province from 2001 to 2003, made comments about double-billing by Hickey.

"We asked one simple question — could you show us here in this public transcript, exactly which words you find to be offensive or libellous? — we never ever got a response," Grimes said.

"There wasn't a case."

After being in limbo for five years, the lawsuit has been dropped — something Grimes says he knew would happen all along.

Grimes suggested that the legal action against him — and the lawsuits filed by Williams and Alderon against Sierra Club Canada, environmentalist Bruno Marcocchio, and blogger Brad Cabana — were similar, in that they were attempts to silence critics.

Grimes says when someone says something that Williams doesn't like, he threatens to sue.

That was the case five years ago, he says.

"The public record sort of indicates that the lawsuit was filed by the minister because the premier suggested he do it," Grimes said.

Grimes believes Williams is taking the same approach this time.

"This is one of the weapons in his arsenal in dealing with people — threaten a lawsuit," the former Liberal premier said.

"For some people, that does strike fear into their hearts — in some cases even shuts them up. It didn't happen in my case, and I'm not sure that's going to happen in the case of the Sierra Club or Mr. Cabana either."

Grimes says he was notified by the court last month that his case was discontinued.