Thursday, January 31, 2013

>>> Honouring of Norval Morrisseau by the Government of Canada!?



Norval Morrisseau in front of "ANDROGYNY" (12'x20', 1983) at the National Gallery of Canada /© 2006 Bruno Schlumberger, CanWest News Service/
~ This painting had been donated by Norval Morrisseau to the Canadian people on April 15, 1983.

Created by world-renowned Canadian Aboriginal painter Norval Morrisseau, the Androgyny was installed in the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) in the Rideau Hall (Ottawa) that replaced Charlottetown Revisited, a work created by the Jean Paul Lemieux.

The loan of Androgyny to Rideau Hall was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Indian and Inuit Art Centre. The piece had been on display from September 18th, 2008 until June 20th, 2012 and was seen by hundreds of thousand of the Rideau Hall's guests and visitors...

... In my opinion the Government of Canada could have honoured Norval Morrisseau in a much better way if they had investigated themselves through legal authorities at their disposal these controversial and other issues that are damaging Norval Morrisseau's art market and consequently his legacy. The legacy and great body of artwork by the late Norval Morrisseau is a 'National Treasure' that will honour the commitment made by the Canadian Government in regards to our unique and diverse cultural heritage to be enjoyed by future generations of Canadians.

Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker

* The photograph in this post was taken in Ottawa in February, 2006 at the opening of the "Norval Morrisseau - Shaman Artist". The first solo exhibition featuring a First Nations artist in 126-year history of the National Gallery of Canada.

Monday, January 28, 2013

June Callwood on Injustice

June Callwood (1924-2007), ©  1966 Norman James/Toronto Star

"If any of you happens to see an injustice, you are no longer a spectator, you are a participant, and you have an obligation to do something."*

June Callwood, C.C., O.Ont., LL.D.


* - That didn't mean you had to intervene, she explained, but you couldn't pretend that you weren't a part of what was happening in front of you.

NOTES: June Callwood who was a guest host on CBC's 'Close-Up' interviewed Norval Morrisseau at 'The Pollock Gallery' in Toronto at his sell-out exhibition, on September 12, 1962. Norval Morrisseau was explaining to her the medicine dream he had that encouraged him to start seriously painting the legends of the Great Ojibway.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grant v. Torstar and the defence of responsible communication: implications for bloggers and users of other online media

~ On December 22, 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada has released a very significant decision which affects all media news reporting companies and bloggers in Canada: "Journalists and other media, including bloggers, will be protected from lawsuits if they diligently try to verify information on matters that are in the public interest."

"Freedom of expression is guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is essential to the functioning of our democracy, to seeking the truth in diverse fields of inquiry, and to our capacity for self-expression and individual realization."

>>> In the recent decision of Grant v. Torstar Corp., 2009 SCC 61 (“Grant”) and its companion case, Quan v. Cusson, 2009 SCC 62 (“Quan”), the Supreme Court of Canada sought to strike a more appropriate balance between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation by creating the new defence of “responsible communication on matters of public interest” (the “Defence”). The Defence allows defendants in libel cases where statements of fact are at issue to evade liability if they can show that they acted responsibly in reporting on a matter of public interest, even if the statements of fact are untrue. Prior to the decision, defendants could not avoid liability in these cases unless they showed that the statement was substantially true (the defence of justification), or that the statement was made in a protected context (the defence of privilege).

Importantly, the Supreme Court of Canada discussed and considered at some length ‘new media’ and the ability for ‘instant’ and easy publishing on blogs or webpage’s by ‘public interest’ groups. Thus, this Defence does not just apply to newspapers, but to bloggers, special interest and social networking groups:

[T]he traditional media are rapidly being complemented by new ways of communicating on matters of public interest, many of them online, which do not involve journalists. These new disseminators of news and information should, absent good reasons for exclusion, be subject to the same laws as established media outlets. I agree … that the new defence is “available to anyone who publishes material of public interest in any medium”. [Grant, at para. 96]

[Emphasis added]

Although the extension of the Defence to non-journalist bloggers and users of other online media is an important recognition of the growing relevance and legitimacy of these groups, the Defence is – at least currently – unlikely to protect most members of these groups. To gain the protection of the Defence, the defendant must establish two elements: (1) that the publication is on a matter of public interest; and (2) that the publication was responsible, in that the defendant was diligent in trying to verify the allegation. The trial judge will determine the first element. If the judge concludes that the first element is met, the jury will determine the second element, having regard to several factors:

• the seriousness of the allegation;
• the public importance of the matter;
• the urgency of the matter;
• the status and reliability of the source;
• whether the plaintiff’s side of the story was sought and accurately reported;
• whether the inclusion of the defamatory statement was justifiable;
• whether the defamatory statement’s public interest lay in the fact that it was made rather than its truth; and
• any other relevant circumstances

In assessing whether the defendant was diligent, the jury will be guided by “established journalistic standards”:

[M]any actions now concern blog postings and other online media which are potentially both more ephemeral and more ubiquitous than traditional print media. While established journalistic standards provide a useful guide by which to evaluate the conduct of journalists and non-journalists alike, the applicable standards will necessarily evolve to keep pace with the norms of new communications media. [Grant, at para. 97]

[Emphasis added]

This indicates that the same journalistic standard must be applied to every defendant irrespective of whether or not they are journalists. As a result, the Defence will likely not apply to non-journalist bloggers and users of other online media unless they perform the due diligence expected of a journalist in the circumstances.

The problem for many members of these groups is that they are generally not guided by established journalistic norms. Although they may approach online publishing in good faith and with a level of diligence reasonably expected of non-journalists, this level of diligence is unlikely to meet the required journalistic standard. For example, although journalists will generally make a point of seeking the plaintiff’s side of the story and speaking directly to witnesses and experts, non-journalist bloggers – who are generally unpaid for their efforts – will rarely have the time, resources, training, or willingness to do so. As one American commentator argues,

Blogging and journalism clearly differ. The former ‘implies that a disinterested third party is reporting facts fairly’ (Andrews, 2003: 64). Blogs are ‘unedited, unabashedly opinionated, sporadic and personal’ (Palser, 2002) – in many ways, the antithesis of traditional US journalism. Some say that is the best thing about them. ‘Journalism is done a certain way, by a certain kind of people,’ but bloggers “are oblivious to such traditions” (Welsh, 2003). [Jane B. Singer, “The political j-blogger: ‘normalizing’ a new media form to fit old norms” (2005) 6(2) Journalism 173 at 176]

[Emphasis added]

Even if a non-journalist blogger or user of other online media does engage in the level of diligence required to meet the journalistic standard, they may unknowingly fail to do so in a way that produces a strong record of evidence from which a court can conclude that they did act diligently. As a result, many of these defendants may simply not have access to the protection of the Defence.

Nonetheless, Grant does not foreclose the possibility that courts will apply a different diligence standard to non-journalist bloggers and users of other online media as the “norms of new communications media” evolve. Although the court isn’t clear on this point, these groups might be able to gain the protection of the Defence in future cases even if they haven’t performed their diligence in the same way that a traditional journalist would have:

While established journalistic standards provide a useful guide by which to evaluate the conduct of journalists and non-journalists alike, the applicable standards will necessarily evolve to keep pace with the norms of new communications media. [Grant, at para. 97]

[Emphasis added]

Even if the standard applicable to these groups does not shift to allow them to gain the protection of the Defence, juries – who have been tasked with the responsibility for assessing whether the defendant was diligent – may be sympathetic to these groups and apply the journalistic standard less rigidly.

In summary, although the Defence extends to non-journalist bloggers and users of other online media, many members of these groups are unlikely to be protected by the Defence because it requires that they performed the due diligence expected of a journalist. Nonetheless, the law does not necessarily foreclose the possibility that courts will apply a different diligence standard to these groups in future cases, or that juries will less rigidly apply the existing journalistic standard.


Source: Defamation Law Blog
--------------/Defamation news and legal analysis with a Canadian focus/

What media has to say?- Supreme Court backs press in major libel ruling,
CBC: New Libel Defence Allowed: Supreme Court,
The Canadian National Newspaper Exopolitics Headlines:
Canada’s Supreme Court establishes new libel defence.

"These rulings have caused a fundamental change in Canada’s defamation law. While journalists, bloggers and others do not have free reign to impugn the reputations of others, the notions of free speech and freedom of expression have been broadened to ensure a more vigorous debate of political and other issues that are clearly important to society."

-~ For additional information click HERE.

>>> Reference posts:
- Ontario Libel and Slander Act R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER L.12,
- Constitutional Law: 'Freedom of Expression in Canada',
- Law Tips for Bloggers (Part I) /Burden of Proof in a Civil Lawsuit/,
- Law Tips for Bloggers (Part II) /Defamation Law/ &
- Law Tips for Bloggers (Part III) /SLAPP Suits/.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Universal Power of Morrisseau Art

"My art speaks and will continue to speak, transcending barriers of nationality, language and other forces that may be divisive, fortifying the greatness of the spirit that has always been the foundation of the Ojibwa people."

Norval Morrisseau

"Untitled" /In Honour to Ojibwa Indian Motherhood/,
© 1977 Norval Morrisseau /Click on image to Enlarge/
~ the first Blog Master's Norval Morrisseau Acquisition 

Blog Master speaks...

It has been 13 years TODAY since I acquired my first Morrisseau painting on Janyary 23, 2000. I would like to take advantage of this occasion to welcome the newcomers to this internet platform and thank all regular visitors for continuing support.


There are many of you who possess important valuable information such as paintings, photographs and other printed/written materials which will greatly assist our common goal. I urge you to provide this information to me for public record. Norval Morrisseau has become one of Canada's greatest all time artists and is recognized for his importance Worldwide.

Your assistance is needed now! Your actions will greatly benefit your art as an investment and safeguard Norval Morrisseau's Legacy.


Ugo Matulić a.k.a. Spirit Walker

> For the purposes of this blog I would like to be referred to as Spirit Walker. Miigwetch!

* The painting in this post: "Untitled" /In Honour to Ojibwa Indian Motherhood/, 31"x26", © 1977 Norval Morrisseau; PROVENANCE: Private Collection of Ugo Matulić a.k.a Spirit Walker; acquired on January 23, 2000 from an art dealer Mr. Anthony Martinenko (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and it was sourced from the Private Collection of Mr. Rolf Schneiders (Thunder Bay, Ontario).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Medicine Man Speaks... The Legacy of Norval Morrisseau

 "Spirit of Manitoulin" (Manitou), 48"x94", © MISHIBINIJIMA

I was summoned on the weekend of Dec. 28, 2012 by my healer for other reasons where I took the opportunity to ask him about the legacy of Norval Morrisseau which he was aware of... the right person to do something about it is you " Mishibinijima":

"You speak no ill words or feelings to anyone, you are always trying to help people and you are powerful man in the art world where people come from ends of the earth to see you and your art.

The only way to bring new light into Morrisseau is to bring people closer into a circle, make this circle tight as possible and let no light escape. Every time the circle makes it's appearance, you make sure the sacred smudge is used within the circle. I see you standing in a circle of light which are people helping each other who belong in this tight circle and make sure everyone signs a book before being part of this circle. This circle will have it's own support from within and try not to speak to people who try to barge in, this is where the poison light is."

My personal visit was eye opening and I felt the challenge gigantic along with it's responsibilities, were does one begin which will get very expensive. The best way is to begin with "FACTS" and to work with art collectors with forensic documents towards their art collections and go from there.

MISHIBINIJIMA - January 1st, 2013


Source: M I S H I B I N I J I M A - International Artist and Consultant
/Text & image used with permission of the artist/

* The painting presented in this post (Acrylic & diamond on canvas): "Spirit of Manitoulin" (Manitou), 48"x94", © James A. Simon MISHIBINIJIMA /Collection of the artist/