POLITICS

Maj. Marcus Brauer, Canadian Soldier, Loses Bid To Recover Losses Linked To Home Sale

05/08/2015 02:02 EDT | Updated 05/08/2016 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - The Treasury Board has rejected the latest effort by a 24-year veteran of the Canadian military who has fought for years to recover $88,000 he lost on the sale of his home when he was ordered to relocate to another base.

Maj. Marcus Brauer said Friday that the board has reviewed his housing claims and found the market in Alberta where he was living was not depressed at the time, effectively quashing his appeal for full compensation of his loss.

The letter from an official says the board determined Bon Accord was not a depressed housing market in 2010 when Brauer sold his home to relocate to Halifax. As a result, it says Brauer is not entitled to more than the $15,000 he received for the loss.

"It just demonstrates how unjust this system is," Brauer said.

"I'm not about to let this go. There has to be some accountability in this government. ... This is not justifiable."

Brauer, a father of five, said he plans to sue the federal government over what he says is a responsibility to follow its own policies and compensate members who suffer losses.

Heather Domereckyj, a spokeswoman for the board, says in an email that the second review of the Bon Accord market "was conducted in an independent, impartial manner by the department and relied on the advice of third-party experts in its conclusion."

New Democrat MP Robert Chisholm, who represents the Halifax-area riding where Brauer lives, said he is disappointed with the decision.

"I can't believe the lengths the government will go to to fight against and frustrate and work against Canadian Forces men and women," he said.

"This has not only financial implications, but also emotional and career ramifications for Marcus."

This latest decision comes almost a year after a Federal Court judge in Halifax ordered the Treasury Board to review its initial decision in 2012 not to grant Brauer full compensation for the loss.

Judge Richard Mosley quashed the Treasury Board's decision and sent the case back to the board for review. He also awarded Brauer his legal costs.

Mosley said in his ruling that the board's decision was "unreasonable" and "not justified."

Brauer's lawyer Daniel Wallace argued that housing prices in Bon Accord dropped 23 per cent over the three years he lived there, which is three percentage points above the 20 per cent threshold for a depressed market in the military's policy.

He also said Bon Accord, which has its own mayor and boundaries, should not be lumped in with Edmonton. The board disagreed, arguing the municipality was part of the Edmonton market where housing prices had dropped just 2.9 per cent.

Ottawa spent almost $65,000 fighting the case, including $25,376 on Brauer's legal fees and disbursements, $33,270 for the federal government's legal fees and almost $6,000 for a third party review of the housing market.

Another Canadian Forces member has launched a proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government to fight for compensation for housing losses.

Neil Dodsworth, the plaintiff, lost $72,000 on the sale of his house Edmonton when he was posted to Kingston, Ont., in 2009. Ottawa has filed a motion to strike down the matter.

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