Minister had no authority to remove applicants from office

Federal court | Aboriginal Peoples

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Minister had no authority to remove applicants from office

Applicants were elected as chief and councillors of First Nation. Minister investigated allegations of corruption against applicants. Minister removed applicants from office and disqualified them from running again for two years. Applicants brought application for judicial review of Minister’s decision. Application granted. Minister had no authority to remove applicants from office and disqualify them from running in future elections because he did not make finding that anyone was guilty of corrupt practice. Decision was consistent with appearance of corrupt practice, which was not proper standard of proof under s. 78 of Indian Act (Can.). Ordinary civil standard of proof was most apt for s. 78 as it was not criminal provision, but more than mere appearance of impropriety was required.
Woodhouse v. Canada (Attorney General) (Oct. 21, 2013, F.C., James W. O’Reilly J., File No. T-1351-13) 235 A.C.W.S. (3d) 863.

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