Holding court

Parents — encourage your children to be lawyers. I haven’t seen any statistics,  but by the look of things, legal disputes involving governments are a growing industry.

“Majority” governments, like the kings of old, can pretty well do whatever they want to. Unhappy citizens can pout, protest, or go to court. More and more are going to court, and they often win.

Sometimes governments run afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Harper government lost two cases recently for Constitutional no noes. The courts didn’t like the retroactive “tough on crime” law, and found the proposed appointee to the Supreme Court to be ineligible.

The BC Civil Liberties is challenging the government in a number of cases.

On another front, Taseko Mines Ltd. has launched a suit claiming the federal environmental assessment panel acted unfairly in rejecting the New Prosperity Mine proposal.

Both the federal and provincial governments have had trouble with anti-union legislation.

The federal public service union is challenging Bill C-4 which, they say, has “gutted” their collective bargaining rights and the courts ruled against the B.C. government and in favour of suits by health workers (2007) and more recently the teachers’ union. Three environmental groups are taking the BC Oil and Gas Commission to court for violating B.C.’s Water Act.

Closer to home, Williams Lake city council parted with $300,000 in legal fees last year for one thing or another,  and the Harper government is reversing the process by challenging itself regarding a Tribunal decision that found the Williams Lake Indian Band has claim to city land.

There probably would be more such lawsuits if they weren’t so costly, few individuals have the money to take on a government. Governments, on the other hand, have unlimited access to our pocketbooks.

Looking at the positive side, the citizen challenges, along with protecting our freedoms, do create jobs through the court process.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Clark on climate, clawbacks, credit cards
Hunters protest shift favouring non-residents
Impose health rules on prostitutes: report
Part III: Youth Dealing with Depression
B.C.-only wines to come to some grocery stores
UPDATE: West Kootenay pair killed in snowmobile accident
Easy win for hugs
COLUMN: On being alive for three decades
COLUMN: Take the time to spend time together

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.