The former liquid natural gas advocate for the BC provincial government is seeking $5 million in a defamation lawsuit from Premier John Horgan, Surrey-Whalley BC NDP MLA and Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston, and federal NDP MP Rachel Blaney.
According to the lawsuit filed in BC Supreme Court by Gordon Wilson’s lawyer, all three individuals said public statements that falsely insinuated he did little work over the last four years under BC Liberals rule prior to being recently fired by the new BC NDP government.
“The defendants, together and individually, undertook a campaign to destroy the plaintiff’s reputation from the position of authority and credibility granted to them by their offices,” reads the lawsuit, adding that Wilson’s firing was the only publicly announced firing out of 133 BC Liberal appointee terminations.
At the time of his firing earlier this month, Ralston said: “It’s very difficult to see that he accomplished anything other than to cash his cheques.”
Horgan later told CBC Radio that “no briefings, no reports, [and] no memoranda” were created by Wilson despite earning $150,000 per year for the role.
And Blaney also jumped in with a Facebook post attacking Wilson: “This is the reason people are so cynical about politics. No notes, nothing tracking the work he had done. Taxpayers paid $550,000 for what?”
However, the provincial government’s Open Information website shows over 180 pages of briefings, reports, and memos from Wilson during his first year on the job alone.
Under media reports of a threat of a lawsuit, Horgan and Ralston publicly retracted their comments and apologized last week.
“That statement was inaccurate, and based on incorrect information provided to me,” said Ralston in a Facebook post on August 12.
“In fact Mr. Wilson did provide reports setting out what he had done to earn the money that he was paid. I regret making the statement, I retract that statement in its entirety, and apologize to Mr. Wilson for my error in making that inaccurate statement.”
Wilson was a resource economics professor at Capilano College, now known as Capilano University, prior to becoming the leader of the BC Liberals in 1987. Under his leadership, the BC Liberals increased their seats from zero to 17 in the 1991 election.
But he crossed the floor in 1999 to join the BC NDP under Premier Glen Clark, and took on various cabinet roles such as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister Responsible for BC Ferries, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Education.