The declaration notes that courts are supposed to remain neutral. On Covid, courts have taken a side and now access to justice and the rule of law are at risk.
A declaration calling for “the immediate end of vaccine passports and mandates” and a “public inquiry into the handling of all aspects of the declared pandemic” has been launched online, garnering signatures from over 31,000 citizens, including 250 lawyers, across the country.
“We are Canadian lawyers. In our country, civil liberties are under unprecedented attack. Governments, public health authorities, universities, public and private employers, municipalities, and businesses are trampling Canadians’ rights and freedoms. Our free society is at risk,” the Free North Declaration begins.
The declaration launched Nov. 12 by Bruce Pardy, professor of law at Queen’s University, along with Lisa Bildy, Stephen Penney, and Christopher Nunn, has also been signed by 10 Law Society of Ontario (LSO) benchers: Jorge Pineda, Ryan Alford, Murray Klippenstein, Alexander Wilkes, Joseph Chiummiento, Cecil Lyon, Scott Marshall, Cheryl Lean, Gary Graham and Jared Brown. It’s also been signed by Derek Sloan, former member of Parliament and leader of the True North Party of Canada.
Pardy told The Lawyer’s Daily that to date, the declaration has approximately 250 lawyer signatories and a little over 31,000 citizen endorsements.
According to the declaration, COVID-19 rules “restrict citizens’ abilities to work, shop, travel and socialize” and “erode civil liberties strategically, attempting to not run afoul of the law or to trigger protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms such as liberty and security of the person, the freedoms of association, assembly, expression, conscience, religion, and mobility rights.”
“Where Covid [sic] rules appear to have violated the Charter, courts have deferred to the state to take whatever measures it deems necessary, whether demonstrably justifiable or not,” the declaration added.
The declaration also claimed that “[I]n our system of law, no principle is more important than the right to control your own body and to make your own medical and health decisions.”
“An anxious populace, swept up in a deliberate campaign of fear, now believes that individual liberties upon which our liberal democracy is founded are dangerous and selfish. A growing collectivism that demands safety at the expense of autonomy shapes public policy,” the statement added.
The declaration noted that “[C]ourts have embraced the pandemic narrative, some taking judicial notice of the nature of risks of the virus and safety of vaccines to adults and children.”
“But the facts are anything but settled. Courts are supposed to be neutral. On Covid, as on any other contentious subject, their mandate is to find facts exclusively upon the evidence adduced by the parties in the courtroom. Instead, courts appear to have taken a side on Covid,” the declaration added, stressing that “[A]ccess to justice and the rule of law are now at risk.”
The statement goes on to explain that unvaccinated persons are “banned from juries, throwing into question the ability of all to obtain a fair trial heard by a jury of their peers.”
“Irrational policies born of panic affect no one more than disadvantaged communities who already suffer from lack of access to justice,” it continued.
The declaration further offered that COVID-19 vaccines “do not prevent people from becoming infected or from transmitting the virus to others, but only unvaccinated persons are banned or required to undergo testing.”
“People who have recovered from Covid and therefore have natural immunity are still subject to vaccination mandates even though the purpose of vaccination is to mimic natural immunity. Governments, public health authorities and employers advise that Covid vaccinations are safe, but pharmaceutical companies have been granted immunity from liability and no employers will accept legal responsibility for side-effects or adverse events, whether minor or serious, suffered by their employees who take a vaccine that they do not want,” the declaration added, noting that the “risks posed by Covid vaccines may be in dispute, but they are not zero. Particularly for children and healthy young adults, they may be riskier than the virus.”
“We fear the erosion of our free society,” the statement expressed.
“We question the single-minded fixation on a virus that poses little risk to most people. We protest the uncalculated harms that Covid policies are causing to people’s health, livelihoods, relationships, and mental states. We oppose the mass hysteria and anxiety that governments and the media are fuelling. Most of all, we object to the deterioration of our civil liberties and the failure of our legal institutions — legislatures, governments, administrative bodies, and courts — to protect them,” it added.
The declaration concluded by calling for “the immediate end of vaccine passports and mandates.”
“We propose a public inquiry into the handling of all aspects of the declared pandemic,” the statement added, noting that “Canadians should have control of their own lives and have the right to make their own decisions about their health, medical treatments, personal information, travels, and associations.”