See you in court, Premier Campbell!

News release

Union files defamation suit against Liberal leader, three cabinet ministers for comments about health workers’ contracts

The Hospital Employees’ Union today initiated legal action against Premier Gordon Campbell and three of his cabinet ministers alleging that the four politicians defamed the union and its leaders in public comments they made to justify the Liberal’s unilateral contract-breaking law which was forced through the legislature two weeks ago.

The action was filed in B.C. Supreme Court today, and seeks a wide range of damages. In addition to the Premier, Labour Minister Graham Bruce, Minister of Health Services Colin Hansen, and Minister of Finance Gary Collins are also named in the suit.

HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt says the Premier and his cabinet ministers each made public remarks in the print media, and on radio, television, and the internet that were patently false and defamatory to HEU’s 46,000 members and leaders.

“In these statements,” says Allnutt, “Premier Campbell and his colleagues misrepresented facts, and misled British Columbians about provisions of our contracts and how we’d conducted bargaining. They did so to justify their draconian attack that eliminated key elements of our legally binding collective agreements.

“We’re seeking justice through this legal action because their comments were wrong, and we want them to tell the truth,” Allnutt says.

Prior to last year’s election, Premier Campbell had promised to respect and honour existing collective agreements with health care workers. Allnutt says that the Campbell government’s move to gut key provisions of those contracts that had existed for as long as 30 years amounted to a “fundamental betrayal of trust by Premier Campbell.”

HEU continues to move forward on another legal front to overturn Bill 29. The union expects that it will formally launch a Supreme Court of Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge to the Liberal’s contract breaking legislation by late February or early March.

Copies of HEU’s lengthy statement of claim can be obtained from the B.C. Supreme Court Vancouver Registry, 800 Smithe Street.

-30- For more information, contact: Stephen Howard, director of communications 604/240-8524 (cell)