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September court date set for Maxime Bernier’s travel lawsuit

MONTREAL: The Federal Court today made an Order and set a date for the trial of a legal challenge, brought by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, on behalf of the Honourable Maxime Bernier. The court date has been set for September 19, 2022, and consolidates four separate cases, two of which have been brought by prominent Justice Centre former premier of Newfoundland-and-Labrador. The case is being heard on an expedited basis given the serious infringement on Canadians’ mobility and other Charter rights.

The Honourable Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, is being prevented from fully participating in his political role by Orders issued by Transport Canada, under instructions of the Prime Minister. Mr. Bernier is being represented by Quebec lawyer, Samuel Bachand, external counsel for the Justice Centre.

With implementation of these Orders, Mr. Bernier is restricted from participating in democratic discussions and the electoral process. As the leader of the fifth largest political party in Canada, in 2021, Mr. Bernier flew more than 79,000 km for work purposes. As a party leader, Mr. Bernier is required to reach thousands of people each year and to participate in various political, intellectual and charitable activities in all regions of the country. Travel other than by air is only reasonably feasible within a relatively limited radius of his residence in Quebec.

On October 30, 2021, the federal government announced that anyone travelling by air, train, or ship, must have received two of the Covid shots. The travel vaccination mandate has prevented approximately six million unvaccinated Canadians (15% of Canada’s population) from travel within Canada, and prevents them from flying out of Canada. Canadians cannot travel to help sick loved ones, to get to work, to attend university, to visit family and friends, to take international vacations, and to live ordinary lives like other citizens.

The Federal Government filed evidence in April on behalf of 16 witnesses including 5 experts in defence of the Travel Ban.

The evidence filed by the Justice Centre shows how the Canadians involved in the lawsuit cannot travel to help sick loved ones, cannot get to work, cannot visit family and friends, cannot access health care outside of Canada, cannot take international vacations, and cannot live ordinary lives. Expert medical evidence now filed with the court ranges from scientific evidence about Covid spread among both vaccinated and unvaccinated; risks associated with taking the new Covid vaccines; vaccine harms such as myocarditis and possible effects on fertility; and the superiority of natural immunity.

Justice Centre lawyers are presently involved in cross examination of government witnesses in preparation for the full trial in September.

The process is ongoing and will continue until the end of June. Below is an updated schedule of the Travel Ban lawsuit.

May 30 – Completion of cross-examination on Applicants’ Affidavits

June 30 – Completion of cross-examination on Respondentss Affidavits

July 20 – Service and filing of Applicants’ Records

September 2 – Service and filing of Respondent’s Record

September 19-23 – Hearing

“Not only am I prevented from travelling easily across the country and doing my job properly as a federal party leader, but millions of Canadians from all walks of life are preventing from leading normal lives with this travel ban. It’s a clear violation of our basic rights to mobility, and I hope the court will strike it down,” says Mr. Bernier.

“The Federal Court has allowed for a streamlined process and we are pleased with the level of collaboration between the attorneys of all parties up to now. We are hopeful that this case will provide an opportunity for a dignified and exhaustive legal debate on one of the most important constitutional issues of our time”, adds Samuel Bachand, attorney for Mr. Bernier and primary external counsel for the Justice Centre in the Province of Québec.

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