Skip to content

Court denies Gull Bay's request for $25,000 in court costs in a 'pointless' lawsuit

Gull Bay said it incurred total costs of $100,000 fighting a court application that was eventually dropped.
Wilfred King
Wilfred King is the Chief of Gull Bay First Nation (TBNewswatch file)

GULL BAY FIRST NATION, Ont. — Gull Bay First Nation has failed to convince a judge that the people who challenged the band council's decision to postpone the 2020 election should pay its court costs.

The court challenge was abandoned in October 2021 by two Gull Bay First Nation members and the Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada (BMAAAC).

Gull Bay Chief Wilfred King then issued a news release calling the lawsuit pointless, and saying the financial burden it created for the First Nation was exacerbated by baseless allegations of misconduct. 

King announced that Gull Bay would seek to recover its costs, which he initially estimated to total about $100,000.

However in its court application it asked for $25,000, an amount it said represented one-third of its legal fees.

The applicants submitted that each party should bear its own costs.

The court has accepted that submission, except for ordering Gull Bay to pay the applicants $250 for disbursements.

BMAAAC's Alberta-based founder and CEO Rob Louie, alleges that the costs that Gull Bay claimed were "ridiculous," saying they "just didn't add up...especially since this matter was discontinued early in the court proceedings."

In an interview with TBNewswatch, King said "We were trying to get at least 25 thousand back. I knew it was on the high end...It's at the discretion of the judges. At the end of the day we were ordered to pay $250, so that's the unfortunate thing."

King maintained that the First Nation's court costs "weren't inflated at all."

But he noted that "All that time and effort, the court's resources, our own financial resources all became moot after Nov. 20 [2021] because the election was held and I was re-elected. So Mr. Wigwas and Mr. Brian King [the applicants] didn't accomplish anything. In fact, it solidified my position as Chief again for the next four years."

In addition to the $75,000 in legal costs, King said the First Nation incurred about $25,000 in costs related to administrative work preparing its statement of defence.

"I know I spent at least two weeks, and one of my colleagues spent about two weeks of her time preparing all the documentation," he said.

The lawyer for the applicants has described the case as illustrating how individual band members are at a significant disadvantage when trying to advance their basic rights against their First Nation.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks