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Former senator Ron Ghitter has won an apology and undisclosed payment from Canadian Alliance MP Rob Anders and Ezra Levant, a former senior adviser to Preston Manning, for defamation.

However, Mr. Anders said he was pleased that he had succeeded in driving Mr. Ghitter, a former Progressive Conservative senator from Alberta, to resign from the Red Chamber.

And Mr. Ghitter, who resigned his Senate seat last month for personal reasons, said he holds Mr. Manning responsible for the personal attack against him.

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Mr. Anders and Mr. Levant, an ex-Reform Party aide and former editorial writer for the National Post, issued an apology to Mr. Ghitter yesterday for making false and defamatory statements about him.

Later, Mr. Anders appeared unapologetic, saying the offending statement was part of a campaign to drive Mr. Ghitter from office and suggesting that the settlement was merely a tactic to save trial costs.

"I'm happy that Ron Ghitter resigned and that's part of what we were seeking when we started this whole thing. The whole reason we started this in the first place was we wanted to see Ron Ghitter resign his seat in order for an elected senator to take his place," Mr. Anders said.

The Calgary West MP said the settlement -- which included a donation to two charities and payment of Mr. Ghitter's legal costs -- cost less than what the trial costs would be.

"Lawsuits are often a balancing of pride versus economics. And so we swallowed a little bit of pride in order to be able to get a resignation and also be able to scrutinize the Senate," he said.

In September of 1998, Mr. Levant penned a fundraising letter, signed by Mr. Anders and circulated to 31,000 Albertans, which accused Mr. Ghitter of being lazy and un-Albertan.

Mr. Ghitter demanded an apology and when the two refused, launched a defamation suit. Yesterday, with the suit scheduled to go to trial, Mr. Anders and Mr. Levant recanted.

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CORRECTION

Ezra Levant, a former senior policy adviser to Preston Manning, is an editorial writer for the National Post. Incorrect information appeared yesterday. (Wednesday, April 12, 2000, Page A2)

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