This case involved a damage action against the Federal Government alleging trespass, assault and negligent navigation arising out of the seizure of the Spanish fishing vessel “Estai” on the high seas in 1995. The decision involved a pre-trial application for an order that a Crown official answer a number questions with respect allegations that the Canadian Government was involved in vote buying in order to get the support of Cuba and other countries to support it in its successful bid at a N.A.F.O. meeting to obtain a large share of the Greenland halibut quota in 1995. The Crown opposed the application on the basis that disclosure would be contrary to the public interest and as such was exempt from disclosure pursuant to ss. 37 and 38 of the Canada Evidence Act.
The court denied the Plaintiff’s application on the ground that disclosure would have a “chilling effect” on Canada’s international relations. It also concluded that the answers sought from the Crown were irrelevant to the issues before the court.