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

Three UBC Okanagan students awarded women in tech scholarships

Computer science and math students hope the award will inspire others

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Rockets break four game losing streak in Edmonton

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1

Okanagan Floral Design students create elaborate Christmas arrangements

The students are making the floral arrangements as part of the Homes for the Holidays tour

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read