Lougheed Estate v. Wilson
para. 31. What is important is that the facts be sufficiently stated or otherwise known
to the readers that they are able to make up their own minds on the merits of the
comment. If the factual foundation is unstated or unknown, or turns out to be false,
the defence is not available: WIC Radio SCC para. 31. The Court identified this
requirement for a factual foundation as an important objective limit to the defence.
 The trial decision in WIC Radio, indexed at 2004 BCSC 754 (“WIC Radio
BCSC”), provides a more detailed consideration of the requisite factual foundation to
sustain the defence:
 There is a further qualification on precise truth of a factual foundation.
The rule is that “the commentator must get his basic facts right” (London
Artists Ltd. v. Littler,  2 All E.R. 193 (C.A.) at 198), and “The basic facts
are those which go to the pith and substance of the matter...”.
 This passage was quoted and adopted in Ross, supra, at para. 71. As
well, in Kemsley, supra, the House of Lords pointed out that, where the facts
are not stated in full in the publication but are stated more fully in particulars,
the failure to prove some of them does not defeat fair comment so long as
those proven are a sufficient foundation for a person to hold the views in
 Lord Porter said of particulars set forth in pleadings at p. 506:
Twenty facts might be given in the particulars and only one justified,
yet if that one fact was sufficient to support the comment so as to
make it fair, a failure to prove the other nineteen would not have of
necessity defeat the respondents’ plea.
 This expression was adopted by the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vander
Zalm, supra, at page 231.
 Further, in Brown, supra, at pp, 15-50 & 15-51, it is noted that the factual
foundation must be “substantially true” and not “materially misstated”. In
Ross, supra, the court held that the words were comment, and that the
factual underpinning of them was based on facts “either stated in a
communication or generally known” and proved to be “substantially true”.
 Much of the Supreme Court’s discussion concerned the objective test for
honest belief. The person making the defamatory statement need not believe the
defamatory imputation so long as he or she is able to prove objectively that
someone – even someone “prejudiced … exaggerated or obstinate [in] his views”
(WIC Radio SCC at para. 62) – could honestly have expressed the impugned
opinion on the proven facts. The Court recognized that the objective test was not a
high threshold but reasoned that the latitude it permitted contributed to debate on