The last living drafter and signatory of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is the highest law of the land, is suing the Canadian federal government over its travel ban for the unvaccinated.
Former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford, 79, is the main applicant in a case brought against the federal government by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, according to a press release.
“It is becoming more obvious that being vaccinated does not stop people from getting Covid and does not stop them from spreading it,” the former premier said in a statement. “The government has not shown that the policy makes flying safer—it simply discriminates.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rolled out one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates last fall. By Oct. 30, employees in all federally regulated industries were required to be vaccinated or face termination. Anyone aged 12 and over who wished to travel by plane, train or ship was also ordered to be vaccinated.
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“When I heard Prime Minister Trudeau call the unvaccinated ‘racists,’ ‘misogynists, ‘anti-science’ and ‘extremist,’ and his musing, ‘do we tolerate these people?’ it became clear he is sowing divisions and advancing his vendetta against a specific group of Canadians,” Peckford continued, referencing a resurfaced interview with Trudeau from September 2021.
“This is completely against the democratic and Canadian values I love about this country,” he said.
“The federal travel ban has segregated me from other Canadians. It’s discriminatory, violates my Charter rights and that’s why I am fighting the travel ban,” Peckford added.
The lawsuit alleges violations of Charter rights, including mobility, life, liberty and security of the person, privacy, and discrimination. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was a bill of rights for Canadians entrenched in the Constitution Act, 1982.
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During an extensive recent interview with Canadian author and professor Jordan Peterson, Peckford laid out the portions of the Charter he helped to draft and that he believes are being violated. He also explained his unique role as the only first minister left alive who was at the conference that helped draft the freedoms enshrined in the document.
“I do this very reluctantly,” he said. “I’ve been watching this thing now for almost two years. I’ve been speaking out about it at public meetings and on my blog and so on, 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, as a former first minister that helped craft this Constitution Act of 1982, that I must take action against my own government. Because they have violated rights that I and others helped craft in 1981 and 1982,” he added.
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“Canadians have been losing hope in the Charter and our courts,” said Keith Wilson, Q.C., who is lead counsel for the legal challenge. “We are going to put the best arguments and evidence forward so that the court can clarify where governments overstep.”