Summary of the Judgment by the Federal Court, November 20, 2014 Regarding the Dismissal of Mayor Reece

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On November 20th, 2014, the Federal Court of Canada confirmed Garry Reece as Mayor of Lax Kw’alaams. Six members of Council had attempted to remove Mayor Reece by a petition under the Election Regulations, and had attempted to do so by appointing their own new Appeal Board to replace the Appeal Board properly appointed pursuant to the Election Regulations by the previous Council. That Board had purported to remove Mayor Reece on August 6th, and to replace him with John Helin, who has been acting as Mayor since that time.

Mayor Reece, Andrew Tait, Lawrence Sankey, Barb Henry, Stan Dennis, Victor Kelly, and Robbie Hughes (a majority of Council) sought a declaration from the Federal Court that the decision of the board to dismiss Mayor Reece was “unreasonable, unfair, contrary to natural justice, arbitrary… without jurisdiction and/or invalid.”

Judge Manson of the Federal Court heard the matter on November 6, 2014, and released his Judgment on November 20th, confirming the attempted appointment of a new Board was unlawful, confirming that Mayor Reece is still Mayor, and that John Helin was never validly appointed. Mayor Reece welcomed the Judgment, thanked the Court for its assistance, and looks forward to getting back to important Council business. The Court’s Order, made November 20th, 2014 is as follows:

  1. The dismissal of the Previous Appeal Board was unreasonable, and contrary to the Election Regulations and invalid;
  2. The process for the appointment of the New Appeal Board was unfair and unreasonable;
    As such, the New Appeal Board was not properly constituted and did not have jurisdiction to accept and decide the Band Council’s petition;
  3. Given that the appointment of the New Appeal Board was invalid, the decision to remove Garry Reece as Mayor is quashed and the appointment of John Helin is invalid. Garry Reece remains Mayor.
  4. The Application is otherwise dismissed

You can download the Judgement here:

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