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Justice Centre Ranks Worst Charter Rights Violators Among Provinces

By Harley Sims April 18, 2022

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is recognizing the fortieth anniversary of the Charter of Rights of Freedoms by ranking the provinces that violated it worst during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“April 17, 2022, marks 40 years since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms became a part of Canada’s Constitution,” said JCCF president John Carpay. “But this date has been marred by the long list of serious Charter infringements perpetrated against Canadians by the federal and provincial governments over the last two years.”

The JCCF has been on the front lines of the fight against government and institutional pandemic restrictions, including on the ground in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy.

Its new report, titled “Who had the worst bunk in Canada’s locked down barracks?,” gives Quebec bottom honours as the worst trespasser on Charter rights, with Prairie province Saskatchewan – the first to drop restrictions – coming in as the “least worst.”

The report notes that whereas the provinces all began with more or less the same restrictions in March 2020, time and differing understandings of “the science” created a wider disparity of responses to the pandemic. As a result, Carpay noted, “some Canadians suffered much more than others.”

1. Quebec

According to the report, Quebec during COVID was “easily the worst offender of freedoms guaranteed by the Charter and the worst place to live in Canada.”

“With its totalitarian-style nightly curfews, inter-provincial travel restrictions, restrictions on travel within the province, threats of a tax on the unvaccinated, disregard for religious freedom, an imposition of vaccine passports for places of worship, and the continuation of mandatory mask-wearing, Quebec earns the top spot as the worst offender of the Charter,” Carpay said.

Quebec also banned Canadians without COVID shots from accessing groceries when it brought in an order requiring proof of vaccination to enter big box stores. The ban caused ads to appear online by those offering to go shopping in stores the unvaccinated could no longer enter.

As the JCCF notes, the mandates are not yet over in Quebec either. The province is also launching a campaign promoting fourth boosters against the “sixth wave.”

2. British Columbia

Despite its formerly libertarian reputation, B.C. came in as second-worst violator, not only for its continuing vaccine mandates against healthcare workers in both the public and private sectors but also for its seemingly arbitrary closure of houses of worship.

“For example, British Columbia ordered houses of worship to be closed, and they were closed for 14 months,” the study reports. “All provinces placed some kind of limitation upon religious observance of course, but B.C.’s blanket, lengthy, all-purpose closure was a unique interpretation of the supposed science behind Canada’s Covid response.”

B.C. was the last province to announce its timeframe for lifting COVID restrictions and also the last to lift its vaccine passport. Last Christmas, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry came in at number one in True North’s “top 10 worst and weirdest winter COVID restrictions” when she ordered that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to gather over the holidays.

3. Manitoba