In court on Sept. 21, a self-represented Quebec lawyer tried to fend off an attempt by the attorney general to declare moot his lawsuit against the travelers’ vaccination warrant, saying Canadians have an “inalienable” right to leave. the country.
“I live with the daily worry of being confined to Canada again without being able to leave it, and without the question being examined by a court,” said Quebec lawyer Nabil Belkacem before the federal court in Ottawa.
He said if the case was not allowed to go ahead it would send the message that the government is “untouchable”.
The mandate imposed by the Liberal government from October 2021 to June 2022 meant that unvaccinated Canadians were not allowed to board planes, trains and certain ships from Canada.
Adding U.S. border rules barring unvaccinated foreigners from entering, millions of Canadians have been technically trapped inside the country.
Belkacem, along with plaintiffs in three other jointly-handled lawsuits, tried to convince Judge Jocelyne Gagné to dismiss the Attorney General’s motion to have their lawsuits declared moot.
The Justice Department introduced the motion after the federal government let the interim vaccine warrant order expire on June 20.
Belkacem told the judge that Canadians who have not been affected by “segregation” have a hard time grasping the importance of the issue.
“Never again do I want to be imprisoned” in the country, the lawyer said.
Crown attorney J. Sanderson Graham argued that the vaccine mandate no longer exists as law.
Lawyer Keith Wilson of the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF), which represents former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford and his co-plaintiffs, said they were not challenging the law, but rather executive orders who set up the mandates.
The orders were issued under sections of the Aeronautics Act and the Railway Safety Act, which allow the government to issue directives to entities in order to mitigate a threat, in this case COVID-19 .
The challengers also argued that even though the interim order has expired, the government’s strategy and messaging indicated that the warrants could be reinstated if deemed necessary.
Attorney Sam Presvelos, who represents businessmen Shaun Rickard and Karl Harrison, told the judge there was no evidence the warrants would not be reinstated.
Crown attorney Robert Drummond countered that there was no evidence they would.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 1 that increasing the use of COVID-19 reminders is important to avoid the “problematic” restrictions of recent years.
Official documents revealed during the legal proceedings show that the government used the warrants to stimulate vaccination.
Among other arguments advanced by the Crown, Graham said the court should not rule on the constitutionality of the warrants so as not to have a ‘deleterious’ effect on future cases, which plaintiffs have already been given the ‘only appropriate remedy. available” by now being authorized to travel. , and that scarce judicial resources should not be devoted to this issue.
Popular Party leader Maxime Bernier, who is also part of the lawsuit and who attended the hearing, said the warrants were “unethical, unconstitutional and unscientific”. video posted on social media after the hearing.
“We need to make sure these restrictions are never reimposed on any Canadian,” he said.
One of Bernier’s arguments in his case is that he was prevented from exercising his functions as a political leader during the mandate, not being able to travel across Canada to carry out his activities.
“Public health measures have become a gag of activity aimed at criticizing public health measures,” Bernier’s lawyer, Samuel Bachand, told the court. “It’s a vicious circle.”
Judge Gagné did not specify at the end of the hearing when she would render her decision.
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