B.C. government won’t disclose Gordon Wilson lawsuit costs

Former BC Liberal leader expanding his 5-million dollar lawsuit
WATCH: Former BC Liberal leader and LNG advocate Gordon Wilson is expanding his $5-million libel lawsuit, adding several media outlets along with the premier. And now taxpayers could be on the hook for the hefty legal fees. Aaron McArthur reports.

The B.C. public may never know exactly how much taxpayers are on the hook for in the legal battle between former LNG advocate Gordon Wilson and Premier John Horgan.

Both Horgan and Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston have been sued in a $5-million libel lawsuit that goes back to comments made last summer.

WATCH HERE: Story behind Premier John Horgan’s apology to LNG advocate Gordon Wilson

Story behind Premier John Horgan’s apology to LNG advocate Gordon Wilson
Story behind Premier John Horgan’s apology to LNG advocate Gordon Wilson

Wilson contends his reputation was damaged after both Horgan and Ralston said publicly that the former BC Liberal leader did very little in his LNG role and produced no reports.

A search on the B.C. government’s own website showed 180 pages of reports, memos and progress updates filed by Wilson to the former Liberal government during his first 15 months on the job.

Story continues below advertisement

Both Ralston and Horgan publicly apologized for the comments. That has not been enough for Wilson to drop the libel suit.

READ MORE: Gordon Wilson makes $5M settlement offer in defamation lawsuit

Ralston and Horgan have the right as MLAs to file indemnity applications to have taxpayers pay their legal fees.

But Attorney General David Eby said the specific cost of those legal fees does not have to be laid out publicly.

“The policy has been in place for a long time,” said Eby, “The way that the public has accountability on indemnities that each year in the public accounts there is a report out on how much the public has spent on indemnities.”

“The members who access them, their names are not released. The individual amount for cases is not released because it could compromise the case.”

WATCH: From the Vault — Gordon Wilson profile

Wilson recently expanded the lawsuit, looking to add a long list of media organizations as defendants in the case: The Vancouver Sun, the CBC, CKNW, The Globe and Mail and the Victoria Times Colonist.

Premier John Horgan was asked about the costs on Tuesday.

“I can’t determine what citizens will do. Mr. Wilson has charted his course,” said Horgan. “All citizens have the right to use the courts and we will just have to see how it works out.

Story continues below advertisement

“We haven’t really begun court proceedings that I am aware of. I don’t know if the costs are significant or not.”