Minister who crafted Canadian Charter suing government for violating it
"I'm the only first minister (of those who drafted the Charter in the early 1980s) left alive who was at that conference and helped draft these freedoms and these rights and the Constitution Act of 1982 itself. And I do this very reluctantly. I've been watching this thing for two years, I've been speaking out about it ... and I've come to the conclusion now that I must as a Canadian and as one of the writers and founders of the Constitution Act of 1982, not only speak about it. I must act about it. I must show Canadians that I'm so concerned as a citizen and as a former first minister ... that I must take action against my own government because they have violated rights that I and others helped craft in 1981-1982." - Brian Peckford
"There is a section in Charter of Rights and Freedoms which allows governments to override these freedoms in unusual circumstance. And I remember this very well when we were crafting the constitution. These unusual circumstances, because of putting it in the constitution, it's not a Federal act or a provincial act, it's in a constitution which is supposed to enshrine permanent values and give glue to the country. So this Section One can only be used, and I remember this well, in times of peril, in times of war and insurrection, or when the State is in peril, when the existence of the State is in peril."
"Even in the extreme circumstance that you try to make Section One apply ... then there are four tests that had to be met in order for it to apply. That means it must be demonstrably justified that what the action is is worthwhile. In other words, some kind of cost-benefit analysis must be done by law, it must be done within reasonable limits, and fourthly and most importantly, all those three must be done within the context of a free and democratic society. And a free and democratic society to me means parliamentary democracy in our country. We have 14 parliaments, and they have all been completely silent. There's no parliamentary committee anywhere in any of those 14 parliaments looking at what's happening to our country. There are the people's representatives."
He said that newspapers in the country, which in the past did carry his letters when he wanted to comment on some public policy, but since he started talking this way, they have not carried his letters, or even acknowledged that they've received his letters.
He noted that lots of news organizations in the country have received money from the government. Over $600m.
His legal team is basing their claim on the freedom of mobility guarantee (since he has to specify something). He commented that in Canada, the second largest country by land mass, freedom of travel was very important. The government has banned travel by plane and train (and sometimes highways, I've heard). "In other words, we can't travel across our own nation."
(He said they also considered freedom of association, and freedom of assembly. "Lots of people and churches were prevented from getting together.") (And there's currently a curfew in Quebec.)
"If us as first ministers had wanted to just have protecting rights and freedoms that could easily be changed, we wouldn't have gone to the constitution. We would have said, 'Just put an act in the Federal parliament, put acts in all the parliaments, and then up to the whim of the political party of the time to change it. We wanted to safeguard it, so it would be beyond the whim of political machinations and therefore could not be changed, only in the most extreme circumstances."
He also noted that the Oaks Test (coming from a Supreme Court case in 1986) about what Section One meant, and [in the current situation] the lower courts have not looked at this test. This is highly unusual because the courts always look to the precedent set by the highest court ... in determining what they will do in their case. The absence of seeing the Oaks test in the lower courts is very troubling and is the other reason we must take this kind of action at this time."
"And this is where I ... come down and say, 'We have to exhaust all of the civilized legal processes that we set up under our constitution. ..."
When asked what the current process was, if not by parliamentary discussion and decision, for the government to take these actions, ever the Charter rights, Peckford said, "Here's where the most insidious part of this equation comes into play. What the governments have done is used, in many cases, existing legislation under which they have the power to make regulation. So they've used existing emergencies, legislation, and inflated it enough or interpreted it in a manner that they can also use in this circumstance and therefore issue additional regulation. And then in other cases, they did not fully explain or have a parliamentary committee look at other amendments when they opened their parliament and closed it within two or three days or a week. In other words, sufficient debate wasn't allowed to understand the repercussions of what they were doing, when they were giving more power to the minister and more power to the public health officer."
He said it was worse than just not allowing debate, "because we had time. One can perhaps relieve or excuse, if one wants to, and say, For the first 90 days, when this thing began, you could make an argument that OK, the government's had to move. But in any rational way if they had used the emergency measures planning that was already in place, they would have moved to protect the vulnerable first. And then did a study on the rest. What else do we need to do in society. What they did is just a cart blanche over all of society without giving second thought to it."
"... not only are the vaccines destructive. More destructive than any vaccine in our history, and that's a scientific fact, they have had time to adjust, and this is where they have not even been nimble."
He discussed that many decisions are made by government based on opinion polling of Canadians in the street, but that the polls were sometimes affected by advertising and (government subsidized legacy media) news, saying "Here they are advertising that you've gotta get vaccinated, on the television, and they're actually even doing ads for children, and trying to talk to children directly through a public ad, so they're feeding off themselves. They're creating enough fear so they'll get the poll they want to get."
"Canadians are very trusting of their government," he noted. (I've also noticed this a lot.)