My name is Michael-James Pennie and I’m the President of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society.
I’m writing to you today to inform you that you are making one of the biggest mistakes of your political career and that is the implementation of No-Fault Insurance.
We are the #1 victim rights organization for the wrongfully killed in the province.
We are comprised of both families who’ve lost a loved one, as well as students (local, national, international) all volunteering to help make BC a safer province.
BC is the last province in Canada, including the Yukon, yet to modernize our 174-year old wrongful death laws. Presently, only those who meet the discriminatory criteria of having both an income and dependents have worth under the law. Every one else has no value, and accordingly, there is no accountability to wrongdoers when they take the life of another.
In the last few months we’ve reached nearly 90,000 British Columbians with our videos on the subject and you have likely heard from many of them already who have written to you.
While I have met with some of you last year, presented to the NDP Caucus, and was introduced to the legislature during question period by Minister Eby, I have become incredibly disappointed by the NDP’s position with respect to the treatment of victims.
Given Minister Eby’s initial expression of interest in modernizing our wrongful death laws, we were shocked when the NDP government announced the No-Fault proposal, which takes victim rights in the completely opposite direction.
Over the last few months I have personally spent in the hundreds of hours reviewing the history of the No-Fault proposal both current and from the 90’s (which failed), numerous UN, Canadian, and BC government reports on road safety, and have evaluated numerous studies comparing automotive insurance regimes across Canada and the US, including the Ernst & Young ACCOUNTING firm report (by the way what do accountants know about road safety!?)
At this point, there are few individuals better equipped to give you an honest take on the No-Fault proposal, especially from a victim rights perspective.
I have written to Minister Eby NUMEROUS times, desperate to speak with him about everything that I discovered given the data and I was REFUSED.
Here is the truth about what you have voted for:
#1 As of 2017 the most expensive regimes in Canada all had No-Fault.
#2 Nearly every US state that has implemented No-Fault, after several years had an insurance system that was more costly than the original tort model.
#3 Without incentive and deterrent effects, accident rates rise after the implementation of a No-Fault model.
#4 The new legislation eliminates pain & suffering damages for victims. As a result, this discriminates against victims, and even further disproportionately by race, age, against the disabled, students, caregivers, and the unemployed (more specifics on this in the link shared at the bottom of this letter).
#5 Under the new legislation, if people are treated unfairly by ICBC they have to navigate a labyrinth dispute resolution process. Given the fact that there is no pain and suffering damages available, and no ability to sue, they will not be able to retain a lawyer on contingency to understand their rights and have professional advisement, or representation. Only the wealthy will be able to afford to retain counsel out of pocket. This discriminates socioeconomically.
#6 ICBC has double the workforce as any private insurer of the same customer base size. There is no proposed restructuring being made to offset any costs.
#7 ICBC and the Attorney General’s Office have spun and manipulated the facts and data to mislead the public. The No-Fault proposal is full of half-truths, errors, and empty promises.
In fact, in reading the No-Fault proposal, it’s almost as if the Attorney General’s Office and ICBC were so excited by the loophole of there being no cost or accountability in wrongfully killing someone in BC under the Family Compensation Act, that they decided to ensure that there is also no cost when you merely injure them as well!
And with respect to our wrongful death laws, it has now become abundantly clear that the NDP does not intend to modernize this legislation. If there was ever a better opportunity, it would have been at the exact same time ICBC was changing its business model!
We’ve also come to learn that members of the BC NDP have also lied about our Wrongful Death Law Reform Society, saying that we are merely a front group for the Trial Lawyers Association in an effort to discredit the important work that we’re doing. We have little to no contact, or coordination with the TLABC. We rely on individual donations from members of the public. We are 100% volunteer operated. We have worked with dozens of families providing much needed support and advisement after the government has failed them. I have personally volunteered for our Society for the past 5 years, invested thousands of hours, and tens of thousands of my own hard earned dollars. You politicians get salaries and pensions, the TLABC employees may get their paycheques, but we get nothing from our work except the hope of one day making the province safer and more accountable to victim families.
Getting back to the subject of No-Fault I’ve prepared a detailed article here – https://intheirname.ca/blog/no-fault-may-be-the-most-discriminatory-piece-of-legislation-ever-proposed-in-bc-again/
I have discussed in the article how we can shore up ICBC utilizing root cause prevention and restructuring.
I am telling you RIGHT NOW to back out of the No-Fault legislation.
I am telling you that this will be one of the BIGGEST mistakes of your career that you will have to be accountable to British Columbians for.
Given this new information if you support this legislation there is no way that you can do so on a clear conscience.
This letter will be published and shared online. We will be maintaining an MLA directory on our website outlining your voting position on this legislation. Some of you may have also noticed that our website is the first result in Google when you type your name in.
While the truth may be difficult to swallow, I’m here objectively for victim rights and to get the modernization of our wrongful death laws past the goal line, instead of ideologically moving in the opposite direction. At the very least, I trust that you may now make an informed decision.
President – BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society