The federal government is being sued over its vaccine mandates for air travelers by former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford — last surviving founder of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“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,” said Peckford.
Peckford revealed his lawsuit against the Canadian government on Wednesday in an interview on the Jordan Peterson Podcast. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist who recently announced his resignation from his position as a professor at the University of Toronto.
Details about the lawsuit were also shared in a Wednesday press release from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) — the firm overseeing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is “seeking to strike down the federal government’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement for air travellers,” said the release, further stating “Canada is the only country in the developed world that has banned Covid vaccine-free travelers from air travel. ”
The federal government announced the travel restrictions on October 30 stating all travelers via air, train or ship would be required to be fully vaccinated. The mandate imposed on unvaccinated Canadians has affected travel for approximately six million people — 15% of the population.
Peckford is the main applicant in the case, along with several other Canadians.
While Peckford served as Premier of Newfoundland from 1979 to 1989, he, along with the federal government and nine of the 10 other Canadian premiers, crafted the Constitution Act of 1982 and is the only surviving drafter and signatory 40 years later.
“Some of the Canadians involved in the lawsuit cannot travel to help sick loved ones, get to work, visit family and friends, take international vacations and live ordinary lives,” said the release.
“It is becoming more obvious that being vaccinated does not stop people from getting COVID and does not stop them from spreading it,” said the former Premier.
“The government has not shown that the policy makes flying safer—it simply discriminates.”
“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—this is completely against the democratic and Canadian values I love about this country.”
The JCCF cites violations of Charter rights in the challenge “including mobility, life, liberty and security of the person, privacy and discrimination.”
The lawsuit also brings into question whether Canada’s transportation minister has the authority to “use aviation safety powers to enforce public health measures.”
The press release points to advice from the World Health Organization warning against travel and trade restrictions and on January 19, urged all countries to “life or ease international traffic bans as they do not provide added value” and contribute to economic and social stress.
“Despite the confirmed science the vaccine does not stop people from getting or spreading the virus and the repeated warnings from the WHO, it’s clear the federal government is out of step and arbitrarily restricting Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms,” said Keith Wilson, lead counsel for the legal challenge.
“It is profoundly disturbing that a marginalized group in Canada—the unvaccinated—are essentially prohibited from leaving the country.
“Canadians have been losing hope in the Charter and our courts. We are going to put the best arguments and evidence forward so that the court can clarify where governments overstep.”
The JCCF is requesting the court to hear the case on an “expedited basis given the serious infringement on Canadians’ mobility and other rights,” said the release.
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard