COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS vs CIVIL LIBERTIES News

Federal government faces lawsuit over unlawful confinement of returning Canadian travellers

‘Policy aligns with world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes,’ says lawyer from Justice Centre

OTTAWA – The Justice Centre Friday 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.

They say 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 Friday to 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.

In addition, 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, said the Justice Centre.

This is not China or Cuba

The letter from the lawyers note 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.

“This is not China or Cuba, or Chile under Pinochet, or Spain under Franco, 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.”

-Lawyers from Justice Centre

The legal warning letter notes, “This is not China or Cuba, or Chile under Pinochet, or Spain under Franco, 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, said the lawyers from the Justice Centre.

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,” said 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 travellers are in possession of a negative PCR test.”

-Lawyer from 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 travellers 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 travellers 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,” said 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,” said Carpay.

Alberta MP condemns Trudeau government actions

Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga slammed the federal Liberal government’s actions.

“I’m hearing reports that people are being picked up at the airport and not allowed to speak to their families during their internment. The federal government had better get very transparent, and I mean now!” Yurdiga posted on Facebook Jan. 29.

Edmonton pastor’s wife detained, Calgary Police refuse to tell him where she is being ‘interned’

Pastor Chris Mathis and Nikii Matthis (Facebook)

Update Jan. 30 Pastor Mathis posted on Facebook that his wife returned home.

The Western Standard reported on Jan. 29 that Calgary police took a travelling woman into mandatory isolation and refused to tell family where she was.

“(My wife Nikki) arrived in Calgary tonight and when she got there she was greeted by a Police Officer and an AHS official,” wrote Pastor Chris Mathis on his Facebook page.

“They rejected her results and told her she needed to go immediately to an isolation facility. She was told if she resisted she would be arrested. She called me, and I immediately asked to talk with the officer. I talked with both a police officer and the AHS official, they reiterated what she had said to me. I asked for the address of where she would be, they said they could not give me the location address as it was confidential.

“I asked for their names, again they would not give me any information or their names. I pushed, I questioned, I tried to fight but they said they would arrest her if she resisted. They would not give me any information on where they were taking my wife.

“She was not allowed to get her vehicle from the airport, she was immediately put in a white van surrounded by police escorts and taken to an unknown facility that is under full surveillance and has security at every entrance and exit. You can imagine I am barely keeping myself together wondering what in the world has happened in our country in what seems to be overnight.”

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