Canadian Civil Liberties Association challenging N.S. injunction

·2 min read
Police made arrests at Citadel Hill for violations of the Health Protection Act on May 15. (Vernon Ramesar/CBC - image credit)
Police made arrests at Citadel Hill for violations of the Health Protection Act on May 15. (Vernon Ramesar/CBC - image credit)

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has made good on a promise to challenge the Nova Scotia injunction banning public gatherings during the pandemic, filing papers Friday seeking intervenor status and a court appearance next week.

The CCLA was not named in the original court action launched by the province, which targeted the group Freedom Nova Scotia and individuals who were mostly only identified as John and Jane Doe.

The injunction was granted just before an anti-mask rally that was planned for downtown Halifax.

It was an ex parte application, meaning Freedom Nova Scotia and others were not informed of the court action ahead of time and did not have the opportunity to participate.

In its court filing, the CCLA said the process meant there was no one there to defend the Charter-protected rights of Nova Scotians.

Group argues definition of prohibited activity vague

The group argues the evidence filed by the province does not support the scope of the injunction granted. It also says the definition of prohibited activity is vague and constantly being changed by the chief medical officer.

"The Injunction Order violates the fundamental rights of all Nova Scotians, specifically the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and liberty protected by sections 2(b), 2(c), and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss 2(a), 2(b), 7, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11," the association brief reads.

The brief goes on to argue that the injunction is too arbitrary because "the definition of 'Illegal Public Gathering' permits some outdoor activities and prohibits other outdoor activities without consideration of the risk of each activity."

The CCLA will appear before a judge of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court next week. It's not entirely clear what will happen at that time because the province hasn't responded to this latest court filing.

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