CANADA vs. USA, at least regarding elections

I was recently perusing my internet news feed and found a CBC article about an interesting election result for Parliament in Quebec province.

Patrick O’Hara defeated an incumbent member by 286 votes in recent national elections. O’Hara’s opponent conceded and congratulated him, but soon thereafter, based on a ballot box error giving O’Hara 410 votes, rather than the correct 40, filed a judicial appeal for recount. This recount gave the incumbent, Ms. Shanahan, 18,029 and Mr. O’Hara 18,017, a difference of 12.

O’Hara was informed that he lost the election driving to his home from an introductory program of Parliament, in Ottawa. Mr. O’Hara left me speechless with his comments in response, to wit:

“There’s a feeling of… what just happened? You’re in awe and shock.” Said Mr. O’Hara. He further stated, “Every vote counts and I’m living proof”, “…. And then you’re trying to figure out who are the 13 people that didn’t make it to the voting.”

Finally, the most powerful comment of all: it was a clean contest “before, during and after.”

Note Mr. O’Hara’s words. No claim of the election stolen, systems hacked, voter fraud and the like. It was a clean contest. This from a candidate, first declared the winner, but losing the election.

Would that reaction have occurred in the US? A civil response, respecting the electoral process? I vote no way. That being said, Mr. O’Hara, if I can ever vote for you, you’ll have my vote, with respect and admiration.

  • Allan Opsitnick


According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, of the 16 million World War II Veterans, about 240,000 survive today and, on average, 234 die each day.

I am lucky. My father, Joe Opsitnick, a WWII Navy vet, is alive and vital at 97. I was privileged to drive dad in the Pittsburgh Veterans Day parade on November 11 and then spend the weekend with him, my son and my cousins on an annual guys cards and more weekend.

My childrens’ other grandfather, John LoAlbo, deceased, was a WWII Navy vet as well, being born about six weeks after dad. My wife’s father, Joseph Kmetz, deceased, was a WWII Army combat vet.

It was said of the World War II generation that these were ordinary people performing extraordinary things. One cannot disagree with that statement.

There have been numerous armed conflicts after WW II and the service of all personnel must be recognized and honored.

– Allan Opsitnick

YER OUT!!!! of $500,000

As baseball season draws to a close, a brief discussion is in order regarding the intersection of law and our national pastime.

Early in the season, a defamation suit brought by veteran umpire Joe West against former major leaguer Paul LoDuca, a catcher with the New York Mets, concluded with a $500,000 award in favor of West and against LoDuca in the New York Supreme Court. Here’s what happened.

On a 2019 podcast, LoDuca said that West gave a larger strike zone to Mets’ pitcher Billy Wagner, in exchange for West using Wagner’s 1957 Chevy, when West was in town. According to LoDuca, when Wagner was on the mound and West and LoDuca were behind the plate, numerous pitches, well outside of the strike zone we called strikes.

West learned of this statement and sued. West met the elements of a successful defamation claim. The statement was untrue, the statement was “published”, i.e., made on a podcast and therefore broadcast along the internet, and harm occurred. West established that he was behind the plate on only 2 occasions in 2006 and 2007, the only seasons where LoDuca and Wager were Mets teammates and Wagner did not pitch on either occasion.

West claimed that the defamatory statement would hurt his changes of enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame. West has been an MLB Umpire since 1976. The Court agreed, awarding West $250,000 for past mental anguish and $250,000 to “compensate for expenses he will need to incur in retaining a public relations firm to formulate and operationalize a sufficient reputation remediation plan.”

One should watch one’s words on a podcast.

PS – Another defamation note. Eric Coomer, an executive with Dominion Voting Systems, a major supplier of voting systems throughout the US, sued the Newsmax company for defamation. Newsmax claimed that Coomer took part in an “Antifa conference call” to fix last year’s presidential election. Coomer and Newsmax settled this case.

Newsmax issued a retraction and apology on its website, confirming that there was no evidence to its claim regarding Coomer. The full terms of the settlement between Coomer and Newsmax were not revealed, common in such cases.

Allan Opsitnick