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Marine Drive Member Battle Heads to Supreme Court

A kindly source sent the latest note to Marine Drive members through to me today in regards to the ongoing battle between a handful or female members and the club. Though I still favour the club’s right to do as it pleases, the optics of this are awful and aren’t going to get any better.You can find my earlier commentary on the subject here.

Here’s the letter to members from Brian Butters, Marine Drive’s President:

Marine Drive Golf Club has received official notification that some female members who filed a human rights discrimination complaint against the club have applied to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal lower-court rulings that favored the club’s position.

In January, B.C.’s highest court – the B.C. Court of Appeal – issued a judgment that the Human Rights Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to deal with a complaint because Marine Drive is a private club whose services are not customarily available to the public.

That ruling upheld a similar finding by the B.C. Supreme Court that the club can determine for itself whether gender-specific lounges can exist. The issue involves a demand by these female members that they be permitted service in the Men’s Lounge.

The application to seek leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the lower court decisions was filed in Ottawa last week. The club will be filing its legal response to the application within the next few weeks.

At that point, a three-justice panel of the Supreme Court of Canada will determine whether an appeal should proceed. If leave is denied, the case ends immediately in Marine Drive’s favor. If leave is granted, a hearing before a full panel of Supreme Court justices would take place, likely in 2008.

The Board of Directors will endeavor to keep all members informed of developments in this case as they occur.

Brian Butters, President

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Glad to see that the discriminatory policies of Marine Drive may be tested at the Supreme Court level. Then we will really know whether this is a private club matter.

    I wonder the reaction from the members of Marine Drive if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the female member’s action. I would love to be a fly on the wall of that male lounge in the days before it becomes open to the woman. Here’s hoping the Supreme Court forces Marine Drive to enter the 1980s…

  • Weekend… glad to see you are back on the blogs continuing your ‘fact finding’ mission from January.

    While we are on the topic of fact finding, do you care to comment on the fact that two women have now removed their names form the the original complaint? Do you think this is because they have realized that this whole complaint is frivolous and a waste of everyones time?

  • Tigre:

    I cannot comment on your question because I have no idea. Perhaps they have been targets of harassment from male members of the club and they have had enough? Maybe, they got tired of the fight…maybe they are moving so they do not want continued involvement…who knows?

    What I do know is the issue is now before the Supreme Court for consideration. Hopefully, they will agree to review the matter and have a final decision on whether the policies of the club are discriminatory.

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