A B.C. Supreme Court judge has struck three of Gordon Wilson’s five claims for special damages in the former provincial politicians defamation lawsuit against Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston, Premier John Horgan, NDP MP Rachel Blaney and Jen Holmwood.
Wilson led the Liberal Party of B.C. from 1987 to 1999, when he crossed the floor to join the NDP government – with which he served as minister of aboriginal affairs, minister responsible for BC Ferries, minister of finance and minister of education.
His $5 million lawsuit, which is set to go to trial before Justice George Macintosh in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver for 10 weeks beginning April 14, 2020, alleges he was defamed by the defendants concerning his job performance as advocate for the LNG, or liquefied natural gas, program during Christy Clark’s Liberal government.
The lawsuit concerns, in part, a tweet by Ralston and a posting on Blaney’s Facebook page.
“The predominant purpose of the Defendants was to harm the Plaintiff and to expose him to hatred, ridicule and contempt, to lower him in the estimation of others and to cause him to be shunned and avoided,” Wilson’s notice of civil claim alleges. “In this regard, the Defendants sought to destroy the Plaintiff’s reputation so that he would have no professional credibility with the general public, or government or industry in British Columbia, nationally and internationally.”
His claims have not been proven or unproven in a court of law.
Horgan, supported by his fellow defendants, applied to have the court strike claims for special damages in the defamation case.
According to the law, a plaintiff seeking special damages must particularize them. Macintosh noted that in his Further Amended Notice of Civil Claim, filed on Jan. 22, Wilson “included no particulars of special damages. He said often in that pleading that he would provide particulars when he received them.”
Macintosh said in his reasons for judgment that the remaining claims for special damages that “are alive at this stage” concern “out of pocket” costs of counselling and, under loss of income, “LNG-Buy BC Advocate: $150,000 per annum” and termination of contract “together with its anticipated renewal with project announcements: Ongoing $150,000 per annum.”
Macintosh noted Wilson is “not barred from seeking, in future, to claim and particularize a further special damages claim in this case.”