The lawyers representing two of the fired health workers and the sister of a third have given BC’s Ombudsperson a blunt directive.
Lawyers representing Ramsay Hamdi, David Scott and Linda Kayfish, sister of the late Roderick MacIsaac have written the Ombudperson telling him to either make sure he has the power to investigate the 2012 wrongful health firings, or drop the case entirely.
In the letter, lawyers Joanna Gislason and Gary Caroline call the investigation deliberately toothless and say they will resist any effort to legitimize the process with their client’s participation.
They go as far as to say they will vigorously contest any effort to compel their client’s testimony as an abuse of process.
This is in response to a letter by Jay Chalke stating the decision to release documents can only be made on a case-by-case basis.
He adds it is unprecedented for his office to cover legal costs and to involve lawyers.
The Ombudsperson is investigating the wrongful firings of the health workers who have since settled out of court, gotten their jobs back, or in the case of Roderick MacISaac taken his own life.
A blunt directive
Lawyer Gary Caroline says the Ombudsperson’s office lacks the teeth for a proper investigations he should either get the powers needed to do it properly or stand down entirely.
In a letter from his firm to Jay Chalke, Caroline says his office will “vigorously” contest compelling his clients testimony as an abuse of process.
“What the flabbergasting thing is for our clients is that they lost their positions. The government as an employer fired them. Now you have the employer deciding how best to conduct the investigation it is extremely frustrating.”
Caroline further drew a line in the sand.
“If the Ombudsperson doesn’t respond to our clients concerns and insists on serving summons on our clients what that will trigger is either we will encourage the Ombudsperson to take the whole issue to court and in the alternative we will do it ourselves.”
Letter from Ombudsperson to lawyers: