Marine Drive Court Battle Ends: Supreme Court Supports Club

The ongoing court battle between a handful of female members at Marine Drive GC in Vancouver and the club over a men only lounge has ended with the Supreme Court dismissing the appeal of the women who had challenged the club. This has been one of the most discussed issues I’ve ever posted on. You can find an earlier posting here.

This comes from a note sent to me from Marine Drive:

Legal action ends in Marine Drive’s favour

Marine Drive Golf Club has prevailed in the Supreme Court of Canada over the
issue of whether the club is a truly private club.

The Supreme Court of Canada today dismissed the appeal of 36 female members and
guests who filed a human rights discrimination complaint against the club in
2004 because they were denied service in the Men’s Lounge.

The B.C. Supreme Court and the B.C. Court of Appeal had earlier upheld the
club’s position in separate judgments. The Supreme Court of Canada decision
today brings an end to the legal action.

The Board of Directors very much appreciates the support of the vast majority of
the club’s members on this matter. We have believed throughout that our position
would be upheld and that the principle involved was vital to protect.

As a private club, Marine Drive can now continue to determine for itself the
best ways to look after the needs of our members, as we have done since being
established in 1922.

I truly hope the end of these acrimonious and costly legal proceedings will
present an opportunity for our club to heal itself and restore an atmosphere of
civility, respect and decorum. I would appeal to all members to work toward that goal, for the betterment of the club we all love.

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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.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It is sad that discrimination still has a home behind the walls of a private club. Welcome to the 1950s.

  • While the result is the same, the press release from the club isn’t quite accurate.

    The SCC did not “dismiss” the appeal, as this suggests that they actually rendered a decision in the case.

    Instead, they didn’t grant leave to hear the appeal.

    The SCC grants leave to hear an appeal in relatively few cases, and these are typically in situations that are considered to either be of national importance or that involve conflicting decisions of lower courts that haven’t been reconciled.

  • Weak,

    Good to see you came back for this finality of this issue. You mention it is sad that discrimination still has a home behind the walls of a private club. Well at least after all this time you have agreed that the club is private, and with doing so does not fall under the human rights tribunal jurisdiction is BC. So why did it take you so long to admit it? Why did you have to take a frivolous lawsuit through 3 courts just to realize what you already knew? I think that is the real sad part in this case. Oh well, justice and common sense has prevailed and hopefully these people will find a public golf course to play other than Marine Drive.

  • I have already agreed that the club is private but do NOT agree that it should not be held to a community based standard of non discrimination.

    As noted in the post above, the SCC did not hear the case because the case does not have “national importance or involve conflicting decisions of lower courts that haven’t been reconciled.” Not hearing this case does not mean Marine Drive is void of discriminatory policies. It is that the discriminatory policies are not one of “national importance”.

    This is not unexpected given the issues revolve around a private club. Nonetheless, the discriminatory policies, and the ability to implement discriminatory policies in the future remains. The black mark on Marine Drive Golf Club is indelible.

    Justice and common sense have not prevailed. Anytime people are discriminated against, in either a public or private setting, there is no common sense, let alone justice.

  • If you already knew the case was not of ‘National Importance’ why would you guys have taken it to the SCC? Seems like this group of women are not the smartest individuals in Vancouver, although this is not something MDGC has just found out. Must have been quite the dummy financially funding the cause (although we have known that for quite some time too).

    Have a great day and please, once again, find somewhere else to play golf. I certainly would not want to belong to a club where I felt the policies were so out of line that I was compelled to sue my fellow members.

  • Tigre:

    I do enjoy reading your comments especially the assumptions you make. Without any insight or knowledge, you have made assumptions around who I am, where I play, and the groups I am associated with. Your logic follows your assumptions which are wrong. Truth be told, I have no association with the woman members at Marine Drive, nor any members at Marine Drive and do not even live in BC.

    I feel strongly about this situation because it seems readily apparent there are discriminatory policies at Marine Drive and there should be no discrimination, regardless of a public or private setting. This hogwash of a private club setting their own rules without regard for publically accepted levels of non discrimination is a sad commentary on Marine Drive and its membership.

    As I said earlier, the black mark on Marine Drive is indelible. Sad really for such a long standing well known Canadian golf club.

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