Back in August 2001, The Vancouver Sun's Stephen Hume reported the Esquimalt and Songhees Nation bands had filed a lawsuit "claiming ownership of the land on which the province's legislature sits." The lawsuit - which asks British Columbia's Supreme Court to award the bands "unspecified damages and a declaration that the province is a trespasser on the land" - is scheduled to go to court in late September. And now, Public Eye has learned, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Bill Barisoff's office is looking to get in on the legal action. On March 31, Paul Pearlman of Fuller, Pearlman, McNeil advised the parties already involved in the case that the speaker's office would be making an application to join the proceedings. A senior staffer from that office - which has jurisdiction over the legislative precincts - declined to say why they needed legal representation seperate from government. But, according to the rumourmill, it understood the speaker wants to ensure the province retains ownership of the buildings, even if the land their on is transferred to the bands. The case is being heard by Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg.
April 27, 2006