OTTAWA (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The Justice Centre will file today a legal application in Federal Court for judicial review of federal mandates that prevent Canadians who are not “fully vaccinated” from traveling by air. 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.
With implementation of these Orders, Mr. Bernier is restricted in 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 Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation due to Covid-19, No. 53 was first implemented January 28, 2022. With few exceptions, the Order prohibits persons who are not “fully vaccinated” from travelling by air. In the opinion of the Justice Centre, this results in discrimination and a clear violation of the constitutionally protected rights of Canadians.
Besides the Charter providing mobility rights that allow Canadians to freely enter and leave the country, and travel unhindered between provinces, the Charter also guarantees citizens equal access to political institutions, public debate and the electoral process.
“The Covid-19 zealots are attempting to gag dissenting voices like mine by any means possible. One such tactic is to prevent people from meeting and organizing politically. The courts must put an end to this segregation,” says Mr. Bernier.
“The mainstream media give me almost no air time. I have to go and meet people all across Canada to keep my party growing and get the word out. If I have to travel the equivalent of 14 times the distance from Victoria to St. John’s in a year, I’m certainly not going to do it by car or bike,” he adds.
Samuel Bachand, primary counsel for the Justice Centre in Québec, notes, “Democracy is not the property of the vaccinated, nor is it some kind of reward for well-behaved children. All Canadians, of all political affiliations, must be free to travel. Canada is the only country in the developed world that has banned vaccine-free travellers from air travel, and yet we are supposed to be one of the most democratic countries in the world,” Bachand concludes.