BRITISH COLUMBIA

Feds must pay aboriginal spiritual leader 32k for breach of prison contract

08/20/2013 05:41 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT
VANCOUVER - A 49-year-old man who provided elder and spiritual services to imprisoned aboriginals will receive more than $32,800 in damages after a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the federal attorney general breached his contract.

Norman Diablo who is known as "Walking Bear" and lives west of Williams Lake, B.C. was contracted to provide the services to federal inmates from April 1, 2006 until March 31, 2007.

But the court ruling says Diablo didn't get along with a female colleague who felt he was rude to her in front of the inmates at the Mountain Institution in Aggasiz, B.C., and made comments like "women sure talk a lot."

The conflict was resolved at a subsequent resolution circle, with the parties agreeing Diablo would not work again in the same program as the female colleague, but his contract was terminated Sept. 21, 2006.

Justice Miriam Maisonville says an employer cannot terminate a contract if the alleged reasons for termination had been previously resolved and the solution was acceptable and acted upon by both parties.

Maisonville says Diablo is entitled to the amount of money he would have earned had the breach not occurred, and she has ordered the federal attorney general to pay him $32,864 plus interest.