Student newspaper issues retraction, apology over articles describing Edmonton MP as racist

Federal Conservative candidate Kerry Diotte speaks after winning Edmonton Griesbach and taking it away from NDP's Janis Irwin, in Edmonton Alta, on Monday October 19, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The University of Alberta’s student newspaper issued a retraction and apology this week a little more than five months after Edmonton-Griesbach MP Kerry Diotte sued it over articles that described him as a racist.

“On Nov. 3, 2018 and Nov. 5, 2018, the University of Alberta Gateway newspaper published articles online about Edmonton-Griesbach Member of Parliament Kerry Diotte that described him as ‘a racist,'” The Gateway said in a retraction it published on its website on Monday.

“That characterization of Mr. Diotte is false, damaging to his reputation and caused Mr. Diotte and his family unwarranted embarrassment,” the retraction went on to say.

“The Gateway sincerely apologizes to Mr. Diotte for this wrongful characterization and retracts the offending articles.”

READ MORE: Edmonton MP suing university newspaper over articles on his associations with controversial right-wing commentator

Listen below: (From 2018) Bashir Mohamed on The Ryan Jespersen Show.

In a statement issued to Global News on Thursday, Diotte said he now considers the matter to be resolved.

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“I’m glad that my lawyer and theirs could come to a mutually agreeable solution without a protracted court fight,” the former journalist wrote. “I’m a strong believer in free speech but it’s important to remember there are legal lines that can’t be crossed.

“Those legal lines against libel apply whether you’re a mainstream journalist, a blogger or a commentator on Twitter.”

In November 2018, Diotte announced he was suing The Gateway over the two articles and for alleging he supported prominent white nationalist Faith Goldy in her campaign to become mayor of Toronto, an allegation he said is false.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about Faith Goldy.

Diotte has come under fire from some on social media for a February 2017 tweet on his Twitter account showing him posing in a photo with Goldy.

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“Great chat with @FaithGoldy @manningcentre conf. Tnx for Making the Media Great Again. @TheRebelTV #cdnpoli #cpc#yeg,” the tweet reads.

Goldy is a former reporter for The Rebel. She was fired by the far-right online media outlet after appearing on The Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi podcast. She was also a candidate for mayor in Toronto’s recent municipal election.

Last month, Goldy was banned from Facebook as the social media giant ushered in a new policy meant to curb hateful and extremist ideologies on its platform.

READ MORE: Faith Goldy banned from Facebook after site enforces extremism, hate policy – now what?

Watch below: Some videos about Global News’ policy on hateful and extreme ideologies.

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Last year, Bashir Mohamed, an outspoken social media commentator in Edmonton, told Global News he had received a notice from Diotte’s lawyer calling on him to retract tweets he posted about Diotte and Goldy or face legal action. At the time, Mohamed said he hadn’t taken down the tweet and had not received any further communication from Diotte or his lawyer.

Amarjeet Sohi, the federal infrastructure minister from Edmonton, tweeted earlier this week that Diotte recently said he isn’t afraid to sue Sohi for his tweets that raise questions about whether Diotte supports Goldy.

“But I’m not going to back down,” Sohi tweeted. “I’ve always stood up against racism and hatred and I stand by my call for Diotte to apologize for praising and standing shoulder to shoulder with Faith Goldy. #yeg #cdnpoli”