Former B.C. Liberal leader and NDP cabinet minister Gordon Wilson has filed a defamation lawsuit against Premier John Horgan and Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston over their claims about his work for former premier Christy Clark.
The statement of claim alleges Ralston and Horgan made a “premeditated” effort to damage Wilson’s reputation by saying they could find no reports filed by Wilson while working to connect B.C. businesses with the proposed liquified natural gas industry. The lawsuit claims $5 million in damages.
Ralston issued a formal apology last Sunday, after both he and Horgan apologized verbally for their statements to reporters and on social media. The suit also names Rachel Blaney, federal NDP MP for North Island-Powell River, for comments she made on her Facebook page.
Horgan initially described Wilson’s record as “no reports, no briefings, no memoranda.” Documents were located on the government’s freedom of information website shortly afterwards, detailing extensive reporting by Wilson. The documents were released in response to a freedom of information request by the NDP, and were somehow overlooked before Ralston made his initial statement.
Wilson’s lawsuit states he was in negotiations for a new position as an advocate for the LNG industry, and Ralston and Horgan’s comments “effectively labeled [Wilson] as an outsider with no credibility with the current government.”
In the previous legislature session, NDP MLAs repeatedly taunted Clark about the appointment of Wilson to the role, noting that he and his former MLA wife Judi Tyabji were Clark friends and supporters. Tyabji wrote a favourable biography called Christy Clark: Behind the Smile in 2016.