First Step Clinic Announces It Has Filed a Statement of Claim Suing Oshawa Councilor Louise Parkes for Defamation

    OSHAWA, ON, June 2 /CNW/ - First Step Clinic announced today that it has
served a Statement of Claim suing City of Oshawa Councilor Louise Parkes for
comments she made to radio station KX 96 FM on Tuesday, February 26, 2008. The
Statement of Claim alleges that during the interview Councilor Parkes made
several malicious, false and defamatory comments about First Step Clinic, its
physicians and administrators. The Statement of Claim seeks $1,900,000 in
personal damages on behalf of the clinic owners and physicians.
    Upon learning of Councilor Parkes' comments on KX 96 FM, First Step
Clinic served three Notices of Libel on Councilor Parkes on February 27, March
20 and April 4, 2008 demanding that she retract her statements in the hope
that the two parties could begin a constructive dialogue for the benefit of
the Oshawa community.
    "We have asked Councilor Parkes three times, in writing, to publicly
apologize for her comments so we would not have to take any additional legal
action following our February Notice of Libel," said Komal Khosla, Vice
President of Operations, First Step Clinic, "Regrettably Councilor Parkes has
not seen fit to even respond to us or our physicians."
    "Her decision to not respond left us no alternative but to seek further
legal recourse due to the defamatory and damaging nature of her comments,"
continued Khosla. "As stated in the Statement of Claim, her statements to KX
96 FM were untrue and damaging to the reputation of the clinic and those
associated with it. Furthermore, the statements have caused undue stress to
our patients, staff and physicians. If successful, we intend to take a portion
of the proceeds from the suit and direct it to further addiction research and
support for Oshawa patients. Also, we are absolutely committed to continuing
to work collaboratively with the City of Oshawa and other community

    Opened in 1997, the First Step Clinic provides addiction support services
to citizens of the Oshawa area and is centrally located in the city's downtown
to provide maximum patient accessibility. Like many doctors' offices in
Ontario, patient care is provincially funded by the Ontario Health Insurance
Program (OHIP). All First Step physicians are in full compliance with the
Methadone Maintenance Treatment Guidelines of the College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

For further information:

For further information: Peter Jacobsen, Bersenas, Jacobsen, Chouest,
Thomson, Blackburn LLP, (416) 982-3803

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