record raises serious questions about the credibility of affiants and
the inferences to be drawn from competing primary facts, the
motion judge must avoid taking a “deep dive” into the ultimate
merits of the claim under the guise of the much more limited merits analysis required by s. 137.1(4)(a). If it becomes apparent to the
motion judge that a proper merits analysis would go beyond what
could properly be undertaken within the confines of a s. 137.1
motion, I think the motion judge should advise the parties that
a motion for summary judgment would provide a more suitable
vehicle for an expeditious and early resolution of the claim.7
 The specific inquiries required of the motion judge under
s. 137.1(4)(a) must be responsive to the language of the section.
The motion judge must first satisfy himself or herself that there
are reasonable grounds to believe that the claim has “substantial
merit”. Again, I emphasize that it is not for the motion judge to
decide whether he or she thinks that the claim has “substantial
merit”. It is for the motion judge to determine whether it could
reasonably be said, on an examination of the motion record, that
the claim has substantial merit.
 The use of the word “substantial” to modify “merit” in
s. 137.1(4)(a)( i) signals that the plaintiff must do more than
simply show that its claim has some chance of success. Attempts to
give meaning to the phrase “substantial merit” by referencing synonyms to the word “substantial” adds little to the interpretative
exercise. A claim has “substantial merit” for the purposes of
s. 137.1 if, upon examination, the claim is shown to be legally tenable and supported by evidence, which could lead a reasonable trier
to conclude that the claim has a real chance of success.
 The word “substantial”, however, like the rest of the provision, takes its meaning from the nature of the s. 137.1 procedure
and the procedural limitations imposed by s. 137.1. It is one thing
to describe a claim as having “substantial merit” in the context of
a motion brought in the early days of the litigation and on less
than a full record. It is quite another to describe a fully litigated
claim at the end of a trial, or even on a motion for summary
judgment, as having “substantial merit”. Plaintiffs are not
expected to present a fully developed case in response to a s. 137.1
motion. A determination of whether the claim shows “substantial
7 In its 2010 report, the Advisory Panel did not make reference to the enhanced
summary judgment rule as offering an effective tool to deal with “abusive suits
relating to expressions on matters of public interest”. Perhaps, the panel did not
foresee the enhanced role played by Rule 20 motions after the Supreme Court
of Canada’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin,  1 S.C.R. 87,  S.C.J.
No. 7, 2014 SCC 7.