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Justice Centre to represent man challenging COVID-19 tickets for attending protest

EDMONTON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing Ryan Audette, a Calgary man who was issued two tickets on December 2, 2020 while exercising his Charter rights a few days earlier to attend a peaceful protest against lockdowns. An estimated one thousand people participated in the “Walk for Freedom” rally which took place outdoors in downtown Calgary.

The first ticket, which is in the amount of $1,200, is apparently for gathering with more than 10 people, and was delivered to Mr. Audette’s home by Calgary Police Service Constable L. Clarke.

A second ticket for not wearing a mask in a “public premise” was issued to Mr. Audette under the Calgary Face Covering Bylaw. Constable Clarke seemed confused about whether the Bylaw mandated mask-wearing outdoors or only indoors. The Bylaw defines “public premises” as “all or any part of a building, structure or other enclosed area to which members of the public have access as of right or by express or implied invitation[.]”

So far, all COVID-related tickets issued to demonstrators in Alberta that the Justice Centre has defended have been withdrawn by Crown Prosecutors.

“COVID-19 has not suspended the rule of law or displaced the constitution as the supreme law of the land. Even during a declared public health emergency, the Charter continues to protect the right of people to peacefully gather in public places and demonstrate their opposition to the loss of their civil liberties and oppressive government policies”, states Justice Centre lawyer James Kitchen.

“In a free and equal society, all people have the right to peacefully protest at public places regardless of whether the police consider the protest to be politically correct or not”, concludes Kitchen.

Any individual who has received a ticket while exercising their constitutional freedoms of expression, assembly, association or religion should contact the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a non-profit, non-partisan federally registered charity and public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the fundamental freedoms of all Canadians.

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