Luckily today we’re not here to bring you the story of a man behind bars, as Pastor Tobias Tissen has been released after spending roughly 45 hours in custody.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-x
Though this is good news for the Manitoba minister, it is not without any drawbacks.
Pastor Tobias was able to negotiate the conditions of his release, meaning while he’s not able to incite, organize, or invite anyone to an event that contravenes COVID-19 health regulations, he is able to perform regular church services alongside his duties as a pastor.
Unfortunately, Pastor Tobias and The Church of God Restoration in Steinbach are still subject to a court appearance, which is expected to take place on November 4. At that time, we will find out what happens in regards to the $1-million ticket that could be handed out.
Pastor Tobias is being represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
While Pastor Tobias is being defended by lawyers from the JCCF, a number of other pastors — and Canadians across the country — are being represented through FightTheFines.com, where Rebel News viewers can crowdfund the legal fees to help defend civil liberties — and get a charitable tax receipt while doing so, from our partners The Democracy Fund.
Mr. Hawley refers in his letter to the arrests of Alberta pastors James Coates and Tim Stephens.
Mr. Coates spent a month in the Edmonton Remand Centre after he violated a bail condition not to hold church services that officials said were ignoring COVID-19 measures on capacity limits, physical distancing and masking. He was released March 22 after pleading guilty and was fined $1,500.
Mr. Coates, who is a pastor at GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, has argued provincial regulations meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 infringed on his and his congregants’ constitutional right to freedom of religion and peaceful assembly.
Earlier this month, a judge ruled his religious freedoms under the Charter were not violated.
Mr. Stephens remains in remand after being arrested last week following repeated public complaints over an outdoor service that officials say broke public-health orders. Calgary police and Alberta Health Services allege that Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church chose to keep holding services without respecting orders on physical distancing and capacity limits, even after his church had been twice ordered closed.
Litigation director Jay Cameron of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing Mr. Stephens, has accused Alberta Health Services in a statement of being “engaged in an intentional act of public deception and abuse of authority in arresting pastor Stephens and others.”
Today in federal court in Toronto, lawyers for Rebel News, alongside lawyers from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, are suing the federal government to put an end to Justin Trudeau’s illegal and unconstitutional COVID jail system.
Healthy Canadians arriving by air, who already tested negative for COVID before flying, have been required to quarantine for three days at the cost of thousands of dollars while they await a second PCR test upon landing in Canada. Upon the results of that second PCR test, these healthy COVID-free people are then required to finish out a 14-day quarantine at home.If travellers don’t submit to arbitrary COVID detention, which appears to be up to the discretion of the health agents at the border, or a second COVID test upon arrival, these law-abiding Canadians then face thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time. Completely healthy people are being arrested, detained and — as we found out today in court — denied the knowledge that they have a right to contact a lawyer, all in the name of “two weeks to flatten the curve.”
That’s exactly what happened to former Rebel News journalist Keean Bexte, who travelled to Florida on assignment for Rebel News. Upon his arrival back in Calgary, Keean was taken to a COVID jail hotel, despite having the ability to quarantine alone, his own mode of transportation to his location of quarantine, and a negative PCR test before he got on his plane back to Canada.
Even worse, these quarantine measures don’t apply to travellers who are arriving back to Canada by land. Apparently, the federal government presumes that so-called variants of concern only travel via airplane. But in fact, the government provided no evidence of the variants of concern entering via plane in their affidavits.
Rebel News will be following the case over the next three days, providing video updates and live tweeting the proceedings.
Law-abiding Canadian citizens are allowed to travel in and out of our country. They shouldn’t be punished financially by being sent to an overpriced COVID hotel, and denied their liberty and security of person just for trying to come home.
The federal government has limitless resources to fight Rebel News in court, but we think freedom is worth it. We’ve got great lawyers from JSS Barristers working on the case, including Sarah Miller, who is also working on our Charter challenge to the lockdown in Saskatchewan and representing Pastor Artur Pawlowski in Calgary.
British Columbia is one of the more open provinces in Canada, and yet it’s also one of the provinces that has come down the hardest on places of worship, as far as COVID-19 restrictions go. It may officially become the most oppressive province in Canada for freedom of religion very soon, if the injunction that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is now seeking against a few of the churches who have remained open is granted.
Perhaps that would be more understandable if churches, and other places of worship in B.C., had actually proven to be “super spreaders” as they’ve been treated, except that statistically, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
In a previous report, I showed you a peaceful protest of Catholics worshipping outside in Vancouver. These churchgoers are perplexed as to how all of their parishes (over 70 of them) have been kept closed, when they have been linked to zero COVID cases.
The very minute percentage of the thousands of places of worship in B.C. that have had a COVID case linked to someone who attended services there pales in comparison to other industries and services that have remained open. Like the business of ski hills concentrated in the small tourist hotspot of Whistler, which was recently linked to 547 cases in just over a month.
Dr. Henry’s application for an injunction specifically targets only the Christians connected to the three churches whose names were not anonymized on a petition that was filed on January 7 through the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. The petition was filed on behalf of some of the churches in B.C. that have tried to remain open while adhering to comprehensive COVID-19 plans, including attendance limits and social distancing.
So, is Dr. Bonnie Henry retaliating against only the churches who made public their opposition to her order?
I interviewed Marty Moore, one of the JCCF’s freedom-defending lawyers who is representing these three churches, shortly after he landed in Vancouver. I got his thoughts on the injunction, and a better understanding of the data Henry uses to try and justify keeping nearly everything open but places of worship.
Federal government faces imminent lawsuit over unlawful confinement of returning Canadian travelers
Jan 29th, 2021
OTTAWA: The Justice Centre today announced that immediate legal action is being prepared against the Trudeau government over the declaration that Canadian residents will be subjected to mandatory quarantine, at their own expense, after returning from international travel, regardless of their negative COVID status. These measures are a blatant violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including the right to enter and leave Canada, the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to not be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, the right to retain legal counsel, and the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
In a letter sent today to the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, the Justice Centre condemns the Trudeau government for its disturbing and aggressive opposition to the constitutional rights and freedoms of Canadians.
Furthermore, it has come to the attention of the Justice Centre that the federal government is already arresting Canadians arriving in the country by air and transporting them to a secret location, even though they possess a negative PCR test. These citizens are being held unlawfully despite not having been convicted of any offence, not having had access to a lawyer, and not having appeared before a judge. Law enforcement officers are apparently refusing to inform family members of where their loved ones are being held. The letter notes that this policy aligns with the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes and is totally unacceptable.
The letter states the government’s arrest and detention of Canadians in this fashion is unlawful and unconstitutional, and demands the immediate release of any Canadian currently being so detained, permitting them to continue any necessary isolation protocols in their personal residences.
The legal warning letter notes, “This is not China or Cuba, , or theocratic Iran. We are not prepared to permit you and your government to turn Canada into a repressive replica of countries that have no respect for human rights and civil liberties.” The Charter enshrines the protection and guarantee of individual rights and freedoms, such as the rights to liberty, mobility, and privacy, into our Constitution. All government orders, including emergency orders, must comply with the Charter by not infringing any of the rights protected thereunder, unless doing so can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society according to law.
Government Orders mandate that, regardless of a negative COVID test result, any person entering Canada must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. In fact, they must submit a 14-day quarantine plan to a government official, which is subject to the discretion of the said official. This discretion is subjective and without parameters. The letter puts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government on notice that quarantine, particularly of healthy or asymptomatic individuals, is the functional equivalent of house arrest and will not be allowed to go unchallenged.
“We are deeply concerned with the federal government’s increasing disregard of the constitutional rights of Canadians”, stated Jay Cameron, Litigation Director for the Justice Centre. “Citizens are being arrested at the airport and transported to federal isolation sites without recourse to a lawyer or the review of the courts even though these travelers are in possession of a negative PCR test. Families are telling us that their loved ones are being held at these sites and that government agents are refusing to say where those sites are. These travelers are perfectly capable of isolating at home instead of being imprisoned by the federal government.”
“There is no rational reason to incarcerate Canadians simply because they exercised their constitutional right to leave the country as protected by section 6 of the Charter,” stated Justice Centre President John Carpay. “It is not rational to impose a 14-day quarantine upon asymptomatic individuals who are able to provide negative test results confirming their lack of infection. Moreover, the federal government has admitted it is well-aware that international air travel results in a negligible number of active cases.”
“The federal government is on notice that if it does not immediately rescind these measures, and release the Canadians being held under illegal arrest in federal facilities, we will imminently commence legal proceedings,” concludes Mr. Carpay.
No injunction to save Christmas, but court action continues
Dec 21st, 2020
EDMONTON: The Justice Centre is reviewing a ruling from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, which denied a preliminary application for a temporary injunction to restore Charter rights and freedoms being denied by restrictions imposed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) and Alberta Government.
The full hearing of the Justice Centre’s application will take place sometime in 2021. The date has not been set yet. The Court will be asked to consider fully all of the various harms which lockdowns have inflicted, and are inflicting, on Albertans. The CMOH and other government officials will be required to answer questions under oath, and to provide evidence to justify the violation of Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship.
In December, the Justice Centre filed a court challenge to Orders made by the CMOH, including an injunction application seeking a temporary suspension of certain lockdown measures until the Court fully considers the case. The Justice Centre is representing two churches and two individuals, alongside Rath & Company, who represents another individual.
Among other things, the Justice Centre argued that the Court should lift restrictions that effectively outlaw friends and family from gathering at each other’s homes to celebrate Christmas, and the public health order that prohibits outdoor hockey and other gatherings. Under this Order, grandparents cannot visit their grandchildren, and immediate family cannot be together if they do not live in the same household.
Since March 16, 2020, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) has pronounced 42 public health orders that have violated constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At the heart of the case is a challenge to the constitutionality of Orders issued by one person without any consultation or review by the Alberta Legislature, contrary to the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
The latest CMOH Order declares illegal the celebration of Christmas among friends and family in a private home, restricts weddings and funerals to only 10 people, and completely prohibits all outdoor gatherings.
“On this application for a temporary injunction, the government was not required to demonstrate that its violation of Charter freedoms were justified. The fact the injunction was not granted does not mean the lockdown measures that violate people’s Charter rights are justified – that will be decided at the main hearing, to come in 2021,” states Justice Centre staff lawyer James Kitchen.
“The Court upheld the CMOH Orders simply by presuming that the Orders must be in the public interest. In regard to this application, the Court did not consider evidence as to whether the Orders actually are in the public interest or not. This, too, will be ruled on in 2021,” continues Mr. Kitchen.
“Dr. Deena Hinshaw swore and filed a cursory affidavit, with very little evidence in support of her opinions. Cross-examination prior to the injunction hearing was not possible, but will take place in 2021,” continues Mr. Kitchen.
“Justice Kirker agreed that Albertans are suffering irreparable harm – harm that cannot be remedied or compensated for – from the indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions imposed by the CMOH Order,” notes Mr. Kitchen.
Rogue Ontario MPP Randy Hillier doesn’t mince words. He never has.
The Tory-turned-independent from the notoriously populist-conservative
Ottawa Valley has always been on the outside looking in, even when he
was on the inside of the PC Caucus. In November 2020 he was charged for
leading an anti-lockdown protest at the Ontario Legislature.
The Western Standard‘s Ernest Skinner spoke with
Hiller about his opposition to lockdowns, mandatory-masking, and why he
is putting his neck on the line to fight them.
1. Who is Randy Hillier, the MPP?
“Well, I’m an independent member the legislature and the
provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. I’ve been in
elected office since 2007. My political views don’t always get met with
enthusiasm as I am a bit of a maverick you could say. Besides that, I’m a
dad, a husband, a father of four kids, and have 6 grandkids.”
2. Would you consider yourself an outlaw or bohemian in the realms of your political views at times?
“Well, listen, I’m a very independent-minded person, and I speak
my mind, regardless of what others may or may not think, and that often
has me swimming against the currents of political correctness and
accepted dogma. I’ve often been in the penalty box, but I have an
absolute foundational view that to be in elected office, one must be
truthful and honest at all times, regardless of the consequences.”
3. We all know that you’re against the lockdowns. Can you
comment on your findings regarding deaths and collateral damage as a
direct result of them?
“Yes, the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms released a
report today (December 3) that lays out an exceptionally strong case of
the evidence that the lockdowns and this social experiment that we have
undertaken as a result of COVID[-19] have led to substantial and
significant harm, injury and fatality for those who were never at risk
of COVID. We are seeing at least a 50 per cent increase in deaths in
these other areas such as the suicides, addiction, overdoses, etc.”
4. How would you assess Chief Health Medical Officer Dr.
Theresa Tam’s handling of COVID-19 and her advice to Canadians since
“Professionally, I’d have to do use some diplomatic language, and just call her incompetent.
This is the same person who suggested that masks could not stop the
spread of COVID at the height of the threat, and then in July thought
they were the most wonderful thing. She also said you should wear them
when you are having sex, and one of the ways we can reduce the spread is
by engaging in masturbation instead of intimate relations.”
5. What are your thoughts on Doug Ford and how he has used his powers since the start of the pandemic?
“He should be singled out for derision. He came into office with a
mandate of open economy, that Ontario is open for business, that he is
for the little guy. He’s also the one we’ve seen throughout this,
telling people that it was too dangerous to go to the cottage; we find
he’s going to his cottage. He tells people it’s unsafe to have a
wedding, and he’s going to weddings. It’s been an endless contradiction.
He told us we have to have a broad-based provincial approach to this
and then of course that changed to a regional approach. He’s been flying
off-the–cuff for nine months and everybody in Ontario has been harmed by this ineptness.”
6. Why do you think that “experts” such as Dr. Tam, Dr.
Fauci, and others keep staying on the same path even when they reverse
course and contradict themselves? Can you also talk a bit about the
wearing of masks.
“Well, I see them as bureaucrats; they’re not engaged in
practising medicine even though at some point they may have had a
medical degree. We all know that if you are going to wear a mask the
benefits have to outweigh the consequences. We know very clearly now
that the asymptomatic spread is not an issue. If you are going to
contract the virus it’s going to be because you are in a confined space
with proximity to infected people for a prolonged period of time. Many
studies tell us that”
7. Have you personally spoken with experts in the field of
vaccines and viruses that disagree with the lockdown and mandatory-mask
“Today, [December 3] I’ll be speaking with Dr. Roger Hodkinson who has been slammed by big tech and social media for speaking out at an Edmonton city council meeting.
I’ve spoken with Dr. Matt Straus, Dr. Kulvinder Kaur, Dr. Stephen
Malthouse and these are credible doctors. Tens of thousands across the
world have signed on to the Great Barrington Declaration,stating
unequivocally that this social experiment of masking and lockdowns in
isolation and confinement is not a solution. Another thing is social
media has been engaged in actively suppressing dissenting views, and
we’ve also seen it from our mainstream media – CTV, CBC,
anybody who has a dissenting opinion – is disregarded as some sort of
conspiracy theorist. We had Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the Chief Medical
Officer of Health in Montreal state it’s like a bad flu season, and even
our own Minister of Long Term Care stated categorically that it was
like a bad flu season; but both the MSM and our social media have been
active in suppressing that information and knowledge to the general
8. Regarding your colleagues in the legislature; are there
others that you know of that agree with your thoughts and views on
“A great many. These are people that I know in the NDP, the
Liberal Party, the CP, who all share my views and my sentiments or a
great many of them. They are fearful of speaking out. They’re fearful of
being removed from their caucus, being kicked out of their parties,
fearful of losing the added perks and benefits of being a parliamentary
assistant or a minister.”
9.What would be your overall personal
assessment of what people in general are feeling, and the ramifications
for the ones in charge of steering the ship?
“People are living in fear, because they have not been exposed to
alternative views and dissenting opinions. They are not aware of the
facts and evidence that show beyond a reasonable doubt that this
situation is exaggerated. At the end of the day – as more and more of
these exaggerations are dispelled – people will come to realize that we
made some very horrible and tragic decisions during COVID[-19] and there
is going to be a price to pay for those officials who failed to do
10. What advice would you give to people that are confused by
the contradictions and questionable advice that our leaders are giving
“There’s an individual whose name is Dr. Michael Yeadon. He’s a
former chief scientist for Pfizer. He has put out a video which is
about 30 minutes long. It is an astonishing, all-encompassing video
that covers things such as masks. It covers clearly why the tests that
we’re doing are creating so many false-positives and that we ought not
to be basing our public policies on a test that is faulty, and faulty to
such a high degree. He would be a good one to go to for people that
have very limited time to investigate on their own.”
Ernest Skinner is the WestRock Columnist for the Western Standard
City looks at bolstering COVID-19 penalties amid weekly protests
[Apparently anti-free speech voices like Councillor Druh Farrell want more repression against freedom fighters trying to exercise their Charter right of freedom of assembly.]
Coun. Farrell said anti-COVID-19 restriction protesters have been ‘intimidating’ nearby businesses, and asked if limits would be placed on the illegal weekly demonstrations at city hall that have attracted several hundred peopleAuthor of the article:Bill KaufmannPublishing date:Dec 08, 2020 • Last Updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read
Calgary city council voted Monday to consider increasing fines and to review its mask bylaw, which made wearing masks in public indoor places mandatory as of last Aug. 1.
The review includes the possibility of raising the current $50 fine, an amount Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said is insufficient.
“Those measures we put in two weeks ago look to be insufficient in bending the (infection) curve,” said Hinshaw.
Also Monday, Coun. Druh Farrell said anti-COVID-19 restriction protesters have been “intimidating” nearby businesses, and asked if limits would be placed on the illegal weekly demonstrations at city hall that have attracted several hundred people.
“I’ve been getting reports from businesses and some of the residents who live in the area that participants in these protests are going into shops, disrupting (them), in order to intimidate customers as well as staff,” Farrell told council.
Calling the demonstrations “plague-spreaders,” Farrell said the behaviour is harming businesses along Stephen Avenue which anti-restriction activists use as a marching route.
“This is happening frequently. Is there a plan to limit the protests and the damage they cause?” she said, adding she’d prefer a short, sharp so-called circuit breaker business lockdown to smother the virus.
A city bylaw official said peace officers were monitoring the latest protest — as they have in the past — and tickets for those violating a provincial health order, limiting outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, are being prepared.
“We have a number of investigations pending from this week’s demonstrations and we anticipate laying more charges,” said Richard Hinse, director of Calgary Community Standards.
“If (businesses) feel threatened, we can get officers there to assist them.”
There will now be more bylaw personnel to do just that, as the city announced Monday its Level 2 Community Peace Officers have been given clearance by the province to enforce public health orders.
“This change means there are now more than 100 peace officers working alongside Calgary Police Service to support the City’s pandemic response in situations where individuals are in blatant violation of the Public Health Act and bylaws,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, Chief Bylaw Officer, Calgary Community Standards.
Article content continued
The protesters contend city and provincial mask-wearing mandates and restrictions on gatherings and business operations violate civil liberties and harm livelihoods. Many of them also allege the impact of COVID-19 — which has led to hospitalizations in Alberta more than tripling in the past month — is vastly exaggerated and that measures to quell it are more damaging than the virus.
The legal group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed a constitutional challenge to the pandemic restrictions in Alberta and several other provinces.
Its lawyers have said they’ll work to overturn those tickets, which have included penalties of $50 and $1,200 and have been handed out to at least six participants from a Nov. 28 demonstration.
Nenshi, however, condemned the demonstrations as dangerous, while the city and province grapple to contain the virus.
“You have every right to be an idiot but you don’t have the right to crash shopkeepers, scare away people from their stores at this time of year and to expose your children,” he said.
More protests by Walk for Freedom and other like-minded groups are planned for next Saturday.
EDMONTON — A conservative legal group is challenging new restrictions on gatherings in Alberta, saying they are a violation of Charter rights to assembly. The province implemented the group gathering restrictions this week as it faces record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, headed by lawyer John Carpay, has been involved in a number of high-profile cases over the years and has recently taken up a number of anti-COVID-restriction causes.
The Justice Centre is also representing Canada Galaxy Pageants, a beauty pageant for women and girls based in Toronto, against a new human rights complaint made by Jessica Yaniv, a transgender person.
“We’re publicly objecting to new restrictions on Charter freedom to associate,” said Carpay in an interview with the National Post.
As yet, they aren’t filing a lawsuit or anything of that nature — just raising objections.
On Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, announced private gatherings would be capped at 15 people in Edmonton and Calgary, in response to surges in COVID-19 cases that are putting a strain on the hospital system and leading to the deferral of surgeries and other medical services.
As of Thursday afternoon — before Hinshaw’s daily case update — there were 126 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, 19 of them in ICU. There were 4,793 active cases, and 313 Albertans have died.
Carpay argues most of the deaths and severe cases were among the elderly — the average age of death is 82 — and therefore it’s difficult to justify the restrictions.
Carpay contends the order is based on “cases” of COVID-19, “including thousands of ‘cases’ among people who are not experiencing any symptoms or illness,” he said in a statement about the challenge. He argues today’s cases include completely healthy people who have a positive test, and he disputed the reliability of PCR testing.
Alberta Health Services says the National Microbiology Lab found Alberta’s tests to be 100 per cent accurate.
Hinshaw’s order says voluntary measures in Edmonton haven’t successfully brought the case counts down, necessitating more stringent steps.
Carpay sees it otherwise. “It’s a fundamental freedom that I have as a citizen to invite 16 or 20 people over to my house if I so choose, if we choose to associate with each other,” he said.
“Whether it’s six people or 10 people or 20 people, when the government tells you how many friends you’re allowed or not allowed to have over to your house, that is a very obvious and very direct infringement of freedom of association,” said Carpay.
In her media briefings, Hinshaw has repeatedly pointed out the majority of COVID spread in the province is because of private gatherings, and restrictions protect those who are vulnerable to the disease, as those who are less vulnerable can pass it on to elderly relatives, for example. She has said the current spike in cases is due to families gathering for Thanksgiving celebrations.
Hinshaw has also said the long-term effects of catching COVID-19, even among younger people who aren’t hospitalized, ventilated or dead, are not yet known
In a news release, Carpay said the disease hasn’t killed the early projections of 32,000 Albertans, so it’s not as deadly as initially claimed.
EDMONTON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) is
pleased with the January 6, 2020 decision of the Alberta Court of
Appeal, which rejects the University of Alberta’s imposition of a
$17,500 security fee on UAlberta Pro-Life. Demanded by the University in
2016, this security fee had prevented the small student club from
hosting educational displays on campus. Analysis of the decision is
The case arose in March of 2015, when the University of Alberta condoned
the behaviour of a mob that physically obstructed a peaceful,
stationary pro-life display on campus, which had been authorized and
approved by the University. The mob used sheets, towels, banners, and
mega-phones, making it impossible for passers-by to view the signs. The
mob effectively silenced intellectual discussion and inquiry, in
violation of the Code of Student Behaviour. Prior to this physical
obstruction and disruption of a university-approved campus event, the
University’s president had stated publicly that the pro-life group was
entitled to express its opinions on campus. Then-president Indira
Samarasekera stated the University must facilitate and protect the
peaceful expression of all views, regardless of popularity.
Dr. Samarasekera’s statement was not taken seriously by campus
security or by the students who violated the Code of Student Behaviour.
The University’s campus security repeatedly told members of the
obstructing mob that they were violating the Code of Student Behaviour,
which expressly prohibits interrupting and obstructing
university-related activities and events. Yet campus security took no
action to stop the obstruction, or to discipline the students who
identified themselves publicly and boasted on social media about their
success in silencing a message they disagreed with.
In 2016, UAlberta Pro-Life applied again for a two-day campus event
with a stationary display. The University then demanded a $17,500
security fee as a condition for going ahead with this campus event.
In an email, the
University demanded that pro-life students pay for the wages of
security guards and police, and costs of barricading the venue, and pay
for the potential misconduct of people violating the University’s Code
of Student Behaviour by obstructing and disrupting the display. Rather
than render an invoice to the self-identified and self-confessed
rule-breakers, the University instead told the small pro-life club that
it could no longer set up a display on campus unless it first paid
$17,500 in security fees. Unable to pay $17,500, UAlberta Pro-Life was
forced to cancel the event that was planned for February 2016.
“In issuing this demand, the University of Alberta ignored the fact
that any threat to safety and security that may have existed on campus
came uniquely from those who physically obstructed and loudly
interrupted a university-approved event,” stated lawyer John Carpay,
president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which
represents the students in their court action.
In its court application, filed in April of 2016, UAlberta Pro-Life
sought a declaration that the University’s imposition of the $17,500
security fee on the club was illegal and unjustifiably violated the
fundamental Canadian value of freedom of expression, protected by
section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court
application asked for an order prohibiting the University from imposing
such financial burdens on law-abiding students in future.
The court application also sought a ruling that the University made
an unreasonable and therefore illegal decision in March of 2015 to
condone the conduct of students who disrupted and blockaded the
University-authorized UAlberta Pro-Life campus event, in violation of
the Code of Student Behaviour. Although the University had
advance notice that a mob was being organized to obstruct the display,
and although Dr. Samarasekera had warned that any misbehaviour would be
investigated and prosecuted, the University of Alberta Protective
Services (UAPS) did nothing to stop the blockading and physical
obstruction. UAPS also did not photograph or seek to identify any
blockading student, even though the Code clearly prohibits students from
disrupting or obstructing University-related functions.
Before taking court action, UAlberta Pro-Life first filed a formal
complaint in March 2015 with UAPS against the disruptive students who
had violated the Code of Student Behaviour. It took UAPS over eight
months to release a decision. On November 30, 2015 UAPS confirmed that
the University would not charge or prosecute students who had disrupted,
blocked and obstructed the March 2015 display on campus. This decision
came in spite of UAPS possessing ample photographic and video evidence
as to which students had violated the Code of Student Behaviour, in
addition to social media posts in which these blockading students
publicly boasted about their own behaviour.
The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favour of the University
in October 2017. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
(BCCLA) intervened before the Alberta Court of Appeal, in support of
freedom of expression. The students appealed, and now have a decision
from the Alberta Court of Appeal.