Challengers set to fend off federal government’s attempt to dismiss lawsuits related to travel vaccine mandate

Challengers to the travelers’ vaccination mandate will tell a Federal Court judge on Sept. 21 that their cases should go ahead and not be declared “moot,” as the attorney general has argued.

“Canada was one of the few countries in the world to ban unvaccinated citizens from traveling within the country and to different provinces. This travel ban has not been rescinded, only suspended, and therefore the legal action must continue,” attorney Eva Chipiuk said in a statement.

Chipiuk works with the legal advocacy group Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which represents plaintiffs in two of the lawsuits. One involves People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier and the other former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford and five co-plaintiffs.

Even though the warrant is not currently in place, Chipiuk wants a court to assess the potential violation of Charter rights should the government seek to reinstate the warrants in the future.

Other challengers to the mandate include businessmen Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard, who were the first to file a challenge in December 2021, as well as Quebec lawyer Nabil Belkacem who is representing himself.

“We hope the court will agree with us that the issue of Justin Trudeau’s travel vaccination warrants is far from moot,” Harrison told The Epoch Times.

He referred to the government’s statement announcing the lifting of the measures, which said the warrants were only “suspended” and could be reinstated if deemed necessary.

He also noted that Trudeau recently said that if Canadians were “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccines, it would reduce the need to reinstate restrictions.

“Canadians want to hear the government explain itself after cross-examination revealed the warrant was more political theater than science,” Harrison said.

No recommendation

Government witnesses in support of the warrant were cross-examined in late spring, from the Transport Canada official who drafted the travel warrant policy to epidemiologists working with the Public Health Agency of Canada ( PHAC).

The revelations included that neither Health Canada nor PHAC had recommended mandatory vaccination, there was limited data on in-flight transmission of the virus and the government assessed this risk as low, and COVID vaccines n would never have been approved if they had shown their current level of effectiveness in stopping the infection.

Lawyers for the Justice Department argued that the interim order imposing the warrant has expired and no longer exists in law.

“There is no direct issue between the parties. An order will have no practical effect,” the attorney general’s motion reads.

“Although there continues to be an adversarial context represented by counsel taking opposing positions, a decision on these claims will be of no practical benefit to either party and would not be an appropriate use of scarce judicial resources.”

The Liberal government decided to impose mandates in the summer of 2021 and announced its plan in mid-August, shortly before dissolving parliament and calling an election.

The domestic travel mandate came into effect in October 2021 and prevented unvaccinated Canadians from taking planes, trains and some ships from within the country.

According to a secret briefing given to the cabinet shortly before the mandates were dropped, and which was partly declassified during the legal process, the measure served three purposes.

The first was to prevent infection and transmission in the transportation sector, the second was to “improve immunization” and the third was to “play a leadership role in protecting the health” of Canadians.

It was revealed during the proceedings that the government knew in late 2021/early 2022 that a primary round of vaccination against COVID-19 offered limited and waning protection against the virus.

The secret briefing noted that vaccine protection against infection and transmission of the Omicron variant after two doses is “20% or less in most studies six months or more after vaccination.”

The September 21 hearing is not open to the public but will be broadcast on Zoom.

Noah Chartier

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Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret

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