GULL BAY – INDIGENOUS – Gull Bay First Nation (Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek) announces that on October 8, 2021, the applicants in Wigwas et al v Gull Bay First Nation filed a Notice of Motion for leave to discontinue the matter with the Federal Court. This court matter began on March 31, 2021, when the applicants brought an application for judicial review to the Federal Court.
The primary legal issue in this case was whether the decision of the Gull Bay First Nation Band Council to postpone the election due to the COVID-19 pandemic was reasonable. The applicants are asking the court to excuse them from paying costs for the litigation that they are now abandoning.
“They are discontinuing and trying to use the court to escape paying the significant Band costs incurred for their pointless lawsuit,” said Chief Wilfred King of Gull Bay First Nation.
In April of 2020, the Canadian government enacted the First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations (Prevention and Diseases), SOR 2020-84, to allow First Nations to postpone their elections to prevent the spread of disease. On April 20, 2021, the Canadian government announced that it would take steps to fix any potential legal issues preventing First Nations from taking this type of vital safety
measure. Despite this announcement, the applicants, Brian King, Rod Wigwas, and the Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada, pushed ahead with their
litigation forcing the First Nation to expend considerable resources preparing for court.
“Gull Bay is pleased that emergency measures were implemented to protect our nation from the pandemic. Unfortunately, these emergency measures were not able to prevent our Nation from incurring significant costs for the Federal Court application for judicial review — costs that were effectively wasted because of this poorly advised lawsuit. The financial burden on the Gull Bay First Nation was increased by baseless allegations of misconduct being made by the applicants, which have also now been abandoned. Gull Bay intends to seek to recover the Band’s costs,” said Chief King.
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