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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Can a government sue itself?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24638points) January 28th, 2023

In Alberta our premier told the media that she was defamed from the CBC.

The CBC is a crown corporation (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ) funded by the government.

Can a government sue itself? What will happen?

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2 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

I don’t know Canadian laws, so I could most definitely be wrong!!! I hadn’t heard about this, so I did a quick read to see of what you are speaking. I see where she feels that she is being defamed, but I didn’t see where she was threatening to sue. Anyway, I did see the Alberta Defamation Act of 2010. It’s only about 10 pages. I think it was page 9 that discussed suing a news station. I would guess that IF she can’t sue as a government entity that she could maybe sue as a private citizen. What I found interesting is that ALL articles on this were published by the CBC which I found a bit disheartening as they are probably far from being biased!!!

Entropy's avatar

I don’t know the situation for you, but in general, in the US, the answer is YES. Most commonly this takes the form of lawsuits between federal and state/local governments where different levels of govt controlled by different people are looking to use the judiciary to enforce some rule or regulation they think the other is ignoring.

However (and i regret that I cannot recall a specific) I’m almost certain that a part of the same govt COULD sue another part. It obviously wouldn’t happen under normal circumstances, because all parts of the govt are under the direction of the same executive politician at any given moment in time. And so any disagreements would be resolved by appealing up the command chain.

But there are some ‘independent” parts of the government that could be external to that. In theory, this could lead to one part of the government suing another. But even that would be rare because those “independent” parts usually have authority over their little fiefdoms with sparse overlaps to another agency’s domain.

But there’s no reason it COULDN’T happen. It’s just really really unlikely that it WOULD.

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