Judge denies proposed class action lawsuit against BC Liberals

The suit claimed the former government unjustly enriched itself by spending taxes on partisan ads

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has struck down a proposed class action lawsuit against the BC Liberal Party that claimed the former provincial government unjustly enriched itself by spending tax money on non-essential, pre-election partisan advertising.

Justice Ward Branch, in his April 10 judgment in Vancouver noted the plaintiff was David Trapp, 63, a Canadian citizen and B.C. resident who “pleads that he has paid taxes throughout his working life and retirement.”

Branch agreed with the BC Liberals’ counsel that the proposed class action should be struck on grounds it disclosed no “reasonable cause of action.” The claim had not yet been certified as a class proceeding.

Trapp alleged the former provincial Liberal government “engaged in taxpayer-funded partisan and non-essential advertising” prior to the May 14, 2013 provincial general election and continued to do so after it won. The same allegations applied concerning spending in the lead-up to the May 9, 2017 election.

READ ALSO: Lawsuit targets Newmark-Linked properties

READ ALSO: Jury selection scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford cop

READ ALSO: Convicted killer Paul Bernardo faces weapons possession charge

The judge also agreed with the defendants’ position that the political party “is not proper defendant and that the plaintiff has failed to plead a proper cause of action against it.”

Trapp proposed to launch a class action civil claim on behalf of “all individual, private, taxpaying citizens of the Province of British Columbia, wherever they reside,” claiming the former Liberal government breached its fiduciary duty to taxpayers by diverting tax money to the party to “commit the conversion.”

Branch noted that “once tax dollars enter the government’s coffers, it would not be proper to characterize those as ‘goods of the plaintiff.’ Rather they become the property of the government.”

He also found an “absence of a proper pleading of damage on the part of the proposed class.

“As the plaintiff emphasized in their argument, they are not actually seeking a return of their tax dollars, but simply a redirection of the funds to more worthy government causes,” he wrote in his reasons for judgment. “I find that this desire to simply control the government’s decision-making power does not qualify as ‘damage’ in the sense contemplated by a common law conspiracy claim.”

On the matter of “unjust enrichment, Branch said, Canadian law permits recovery for this if a plaintiff can establish there was an enrichment or benefit to the defendant and a corresponding deprivation of the plaintiff.

“The only ‘deprivation’ alleged is the failure of the government to expends its funds on other worthy causes, although the plaintiff does not specify what exactly those causes should be,” the judge observed. “I find that this is not the type of deprivation contemplated by an action for unjust enrichment. Taxpayers cannot generally control how government funds are spent. There is no guarantee that any monies spent on other objects would necessarily be spent on causes favoured by each and every taxpayer. Indeed, it is virtually assured that they will not be.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Editorial: It’s high time we made sure more voices are heard

Is voting rocket science? The number of voters who cast ballots in… Continue reading

Two new housing projects receive funding in Vanderhoof

34 affordable rental units to be built for seniors and families

‘The Art of Forestry’ on now at Pope Mountain Arts Centre

Local art show opening reception saw record turnout

Nathan Cullen named Parliamentarian of the Year

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP won the top-title Nov. 5

Province not doing enough for forestry sector, say Liberals

Although Minister of Forests says government working to diversify industry, rural economies

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Former B.C. crime reporter pens debut children’s book

Thom Barker channels his giant dog’s phobias into theme exploring critical thinking

Most Read