BC Says It Has No Duty To Appoint Qualified Public Officials
Nor any legal obligation to supervise exercise of delegated government authority, say BC Attorney General's staff.
Magna Carta, the medieval covenant between the English King and his subjects, is held to be the foundation for Common Law from which the legal systems in the British Commonwealth and the United States have evolved to what they are today. One of the cornerstones of Canada’s governmental system is the federal and provincial Public Service Commissions, which stand for the Crown’s guarantee, that only the most qualified persons will be appointed to public office and these persons will be held to account for the exercise of powers vested in them.
Not so, say lawyers for BC’s Attorney General Mike De Jong, the Province’s top lawyer. In defence to a lawsuit filed in 2008 at the BC Supreme Court, government lawyers say BC Government has no legal duty to appoint qualified public officials or to supervise the exercise of delegated government authority.
The case concerns a travel agency’s allegations of negligence and misfeasance in public office against the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Authority (BPCPA), a corporation created by BC Government in 2004 to regulate the travel industry in British Columbia. Plaintiff claims that BC Government has been negligent in its duty to appoint qualified officials to public office and supervise their exercise of delegated government authority.
BPCPA recently changed its name to "Consumer Protection BC", apparently to improve its public image.
Officially represented “not an agent of the government”, “Consumer Protection BC” doubles up as a government agent or an independent corporation as the government sees fit for the occasion. The corporation’s executives are not selected by or accountable to the BC Public Service Commission, and command substantially higher private sector wages that are subsidized by the government. Their salaries are a closely guarded secret that this writer has not been able to obtain under the Freedom of Information Act.
In 2007 BC Government paid about $65,000 of taxpayers' money for a report that said BPCPA was doing a great job, and its only problem was it was not earning enough revenues from license fees. Government therefore brought other small businesses, such as the motion picture industry, under the corporation’s jurisdiction to help out the cash-strapped privatized bureaucrats.
The claim under "Cimaco International Sales Inc v.Her Majesty The Queen et al and Business Practices & Consumer Protection Authority" is currently proceeding through the BC Court of Appeal. BC’s Attorney General and his army of lawyers are fighting hard to ensure that it doesn’t come to a proper trial.