Can a vendor be held liable on a promise not to deliver a parcel to the vendor in spite of the Village Council’s refusal to do so?

Alberta, Canada


The following excerpt is from Ed Sinclair Construction & Supplies Ltd. v. Grunthaler, 1978 CanLII 750 (AB QB):

In Turney v. Zhilka, 1959 CanLII 12 (SCC), [1959] S.C.R. 578 at 583-84, 18 D.L.R. (2d) 447, Judson J. speaking for the court said: “The obligations under the contract, on both sides, depend upon a future uncertain event, the happening of which depends entirely on the will of a third party — the Village council. This is a true condition precedent — an external condition upon which the existence of the obligation depends. Until the event occurs there is no right to performance on either side. The parties have not promised that it will occur. In the absence of such a promise there can be no breach of contract until the event does occur. The purchaser now seeks to make the vendor liable on his promise to convey in spite of the nonperformance of the condition and this to suit his own convenience only. This is not a case of renunciation or relinquishment of a right but rather an attempt by one party, without the consent of the other, to write a new contract. Waiver has often been referred to as a troublesome and uncertain term in the law but it does at least presuppose the existence of a right to be relinquished.”

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