Premier John Horgan apologizes to former Liberal LNG advocate Gordon Wilson


The premier found himself having to apologize to a former B.C. Liberal Party leader today. John Horgan had said earlier that Gordon Wilson had done little or no work as B.C.’s LNG advocate. The Christy Clark-appointee was fired without compensation. Now Horgan admits he was wrong, but will it be enough? Mary Griffin reports.

It was supposed to be a good news announcement about adult education in Victoria on Tuesday.

Instead, Premier John Horgan started off the press conference by offering an apology to the province?s former LNG advocate, Gordon Wilson, for implying Wilson had not done any work during his tenure.

“I offer an apology to Mr. Wilson,? Horgan said at the announcement at Comosun College.

?And I’m hopeful that we can all move on and get on with programs that will help people.”

But Wilson says he is not letting it go.

“It’s been extremely damaging,? Wilson said.

In 2013 former premier Christy Clark hired Gordon Wilson as B.C.’s LNG advocate at an annual salary of $150,000.

His job included community meetings such as the one in Sidney last year on a proposed Steelhead LNG facility for the Saanich Inlet.

With the change in government, Wilson lost his job in July.

NDP Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston said Wilson did little but cash his cheques.

“My lawyer is advising that I definitely sue the government,? Wilson said.

He believes it is an open and shut case of defamation, and defamation with malice.”

But a quick search of the government’s own open information website turned up a long paper trail documenting Wilson’s time in the position.

All of that is public information thanks to an FOI request two years ago by the NDP Opposition.

“It’s much more difficult for someone who is a public figure to suggest that they were being defamed,? Victoria Lawyer Paul Pearson said.

?However, it’s not impossible.”

It is unusual for B.C. premiers to be sued but it does happen.

In 1965, a judge found former Social Credit premier W.A.C. Bennett guilty of slander.

And in 2012, former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm lost a defamation lawsuit in BC Supreme Court.

Wilson said he’s not backing down.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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