BURLINGTON, B.C. – A federal court judge on Friday overturned a ruling from B.c.
Premier Christy Clark that forced Premier Kathleen Wynne to resign, saying her decision to leave office at the end of June was an “act of cowardice” that had “devastated” her party and the province.
The B.com.au Federal Court ruled that Clark’s resignation was unconstitutional and was a “gross abuse of executive power.”
The B.ca Supreme Court overturned the B.canada Superior Court ruling last month, saying it did not have jurisdiction over a province that had never before heard a legal challenge to Clark’s leadership.
A judge ruled that the BCTF was not required to comply with the terms of its contract to represent Clark, but that the party was still entitled to a hearing in the BCA Superior Court.
“Ms. Clark has not resigned from her office as of June 18, 2017, nor does she intend to,” said the ruling by Justice David Wooten.
“Therefore, Ms. Clark’s conduct on that date, even though it was clearly in the public interest, has been unconstitutional.”
Clark was appointed Premier of British Columbia in January, following a chaotic election in which her Liberals lost seats in both the legislature and the legislature’s upper house.
Wynne said Friday that she has been “heartbroken” by the ruling.
“I have had a great deal of grief, loss, anger, and sorrow,” Wynne told reporters.
“This is an act of cowardishness, and I am deeply saddened that this judge has concluded that that is the case.”
Clark, a former Toronto Star reporter, is now the leader of the New Democrats.
She had already resigned her cabinet position in February as a result of the election debacle.
In his ruling, Wootens said Clark’s decision to resign was not legally required but was “grossly and unnecessarily” reckless and irresponsible.
The court also said that Clark failed to comply entirely with the BCTV’s terms of the agreement to represent her, and the party’s terms.
Wynnes said she has accepted responsibility for the decision to remove her, but stressed that her leadership has been a source of great joy to her constituents and that she was “deeply disappointed in the outcome of the judicial review.”
“I am not going to be distracted,” she said.
Clark’s lawyers, Bruce Fife and Michael Leblanc, could not immediately be reached for comment.