Picture from Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
The Justice Centre has filed a constitutional challenge in the Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench on behalf of two individuals who were fined while attending a peaceful outdoor protest that exceeded Saskatchewan’s 10-person outdoor gathering limit.
On December 19th of 2020, Jasmin Grandel and Darrell Mills participated in a gathering protesting against the Government’s lockdown measures at the Vimy Memorial in Kiwanis Park in Saskatoon. Ms. Grandel and Mr. Mills were each fined $2800. They were among several individuals who received fines that day.
Jasmin Grandel is a young mother who “attended to share her concern with the lack of transparency regarding the information on which Government requirements and restrictions are based, including the requirement that her son wear a mask in kindergarten” the release says.
Darrell Mills, the other individual who was fined, is certified in Mask Fit testing and trained in supplied air breathing systems and attended the protest to voice his concerns about improper mask usage. He also voiced concerns about “significant burdens placed on persons with physical or psychological conditions which prevent them from wearing masks.”
The JCCF calls out a double standard
The release calls out the double standard that has been applied during Covid saying that “Saskatchewan police services have made a point to issue news releases about the tickets issued to anti-lockdown protestors. Meanwhile, numerous protests on other issues occurred in Saskatchewan during the course of Covid, and there is no indication that individuals protesting on these other issues have been issued any tickets.”
The release added that “Regina Police have issued tickets to Ms.Grandel for nearly every protest she has attended in Regina, including protests with as few as 20 in attendance.”
The report slams Regina Police Chief Evan Bray for violating the 10-person outdoor gathering limit he has chosen to arbitrarily enforce. It says “Ironically, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray showed up personally on June 5, 2020, to speak at a large anti-racism rally, attended by hundreds of people and many other police officers. At the time, the 10-person limit for outdoor gatherings was fully in effect.”
The Justice Centre alleges in their court document that “prohibiting outdoor protests in excess of 10 people violates the freedoms of thought, belief, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The legal action asserts that prohibiting outdoor protests in excess of 10 people is not justified.”
They also point out that Dr. Shahab, the Chief Medical Officer of Saskatchewan, has stated that outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
Marty Moore, Staff Lawyer with the Justice Centre said that “Prohibiting outdoor protests in excess of 10 persons strikes at the heart of activities central to the functioning of a free and democratic society, with little if any corresponding public health benefit.” He also stated that “This unconstitutional limitation is further being enforced in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner targeting those expressing their opposition to the government’s lockdown measures. The unjustified infringement of Canadians’ constitutional freedoms cannot go unchallenged.”
This is absolutely something that must be challenged. Our society must be allowed to protest and voice its concerns. What is concerning to me is the Saskatchewan Police’s seemingly arbitrary decision to ticket anti-lockdown protests but not protesters that have the “correct” things to protest. The Police Chief of Regina, Evan Bray spoke at an anti-racism event where tickets were not handed out – but speak out against your government and you’ll face a fine. How’s that for freedom Canada?
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