In Liliane Squinas v Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation, et al. 2023 FC 612, Ben Clarke successfully opposed an application for an interim injunctive relief while acting for the Respondent Nation. This motion arose in the context of an application for judicial review of two Band Council Resolutions that were passed by the Respondent Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation to suspend the Applicant Liliane Squinas from her position as Chief. The resolutions were issued in response to a whistleblower complaint that Ms. Squinas had been involved in financial impropriety relating to the use of band funds. An independent investigation was subsequently commenced and remains ongoing.
On April 26, 2023, Ms. Squinas applied for an interim stay of the resolutions, which would have the effect of re-instating her to the position of Chief prior to the hearing of the judicial review and the completion of the LDN’s independent investigation. Ms. Squinas argued that Council acted without authority when it suspended her, and that it was imperative that she be re-instated to conduct urgent business on behalf of the LDN.
Ben Clarke successfully argued that Ms. Squinas had not demonstrated that the Nation failed to act in accordance with its long-standing customs and traditions in passing the resolutions, or that governance of the Nation had or would suffer in her absence. Justice Mosely of the Federal Court of Canada agreed and dismissed the motion, holding that Ms. Squinas failed to demonstrate that the Council had acted outside the bounds of its established traditions and customs, that Ms. Squinas or the Nation would suffer irreparable harm if she was not reinstated, and that the Nation’s interest in maintaining the integrity of its investigation into Ms. Squinas’ conduct outweighed her interest in being re-instated as Chief pending a determination on the merits of the judicial review.
The judicial review continues. Mr. Justice Mosely’s full decision can be read here.