News Release from The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
TORONTO: The Justice Centre filed a lawsuit today in the Federal Court of Canada, on behalf of 11 Canadians either fined for not using the ArriveCAN and/or ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning home from abroad. The Applicants involved in this legal challenge have received fines of up to $8,500 each and been forced to disclose private medical information via ArriveCAN. The legal challenge seeks to strike down the mandatory use of ArriveCAN and declare unconstitutional the 14-day quarantine requirements for Canadians who refuse to use ArriveCAN when returning home.
ArriveCan was initially implemented in April 2020 to force Canadian citizens returning home to submit quarantine plans due to Covid. It was mandated for air travellers November 21, 2020. In February 2021, the federal government mandated ArriveCan for all land travellers, while the US-Canada land crossing was still closed. After the Covid vaccine rollouts, travellers were required to upload their vaccination certificates onto the ArriveCAN app.
Mr. Matthew Leccese, one of the applicants, went to the United States for 25 minutes to pick up some parts for his vehicle. Upon his return, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) demanded that he submit his vaccination certificate via ArriveCAN. Mr. Leccese refused because he had privacy concerns with ArriveCAN, but offered to present his vaccination certificate. CBSA refused to accept his paper certificate and issued him a ticket for $7,210 for not using ArriveCAN.
Mr. Alexander Macdonald, another applicant, attempted to cross the U.S. border in April 2022. He was refused entry by U.S. border agents and was allowed to return to Canada without issue. He tried to cross the U.S. border again in July 2022 and was again denied entry and returned to the Canadian side of the border. This time a CBSA agent ordered Mr. Macdonald to download ArriveCAN and submit to the 14-day quarantine despite never having set foot in the U.S.
Ms. Amanda Yates returned to Canada via a land crossing. Her husband used ArriveCAN on their behalf, but a glitch in the system sent them to secondary screening. She refused to disclose her vaccination status and was fined and required to quarantine for 14 days. Her husband did disclose his vaccination status, and was not required to quarantine, despite living in the same house with Ms. Yates.
A glitch with ArriveCAN sent an automated message to over 10,000 vaccinated Canadians, requiring them to quarantine for 14 days. It took the government 12 days to inform the affected individuals that the app had malfunctioned.
ArriveCAN continues to come under heavy criticism for creating massive delays at international crossings. In July 2022, Toronto Pearson International Airport ranked number one worst airport in terms of delays and there were also significant delays reported at Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport.
The Minister of Transport has defended ArriveCan as vital in preventing the spread of Covid despite evidence that vaccines cannot stop transmission or infection. The minister also claimed ArriveCAN has not caused the ongoing travel backlog, despite evidence that the CBSA agents have stated it is in fact causing delays.
The Justice Centre has filed a Notice of Application against the federal government and is awaiting a trial date.
“The Justice Centre has heard from thousands of Canadians who have been negatively impacted by the federal government’s mandatory requirement to use ArriveCan. Thousands of law-abiding citizens have been fined egregiously simply for returning to their home country. The differential treatment and discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers also defies science, which the federal government claims to follow,” says Eva Chipiuk, a lawyer on this case.
The evidence is now in, and it is startling. The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the most damaging disruption in the history of American education. It also set student progress in math and reading back by two decades and widened the achievement gap that separates poor and wealthy children.
For anyone who has been paying even a modest amount of attention for the past 3 ½ years, the evidence is anything but startling.
People often ask me, and even more so since this “startling” piece hit the digital airwaves: “Don’t you feel redeemed?”
In fact, it’s hard to describe how angry this “revelatory” piece of writing makes me. More than 3 years too late, the New York Times has now given permission to acknowledge what was obvious from the beginning. But if you dared to say so in 2020, or 2021, or even 2022, you were smeared with all sorts of career-ending ad hominem attacks, including but not limited to: racist, eugenicist, ableist, science-denying alt-right Trumper, flat earther and sometimes Nazi.
So no. I don’t feel grateful that the New York Times has finally deemed this subject acceptable to talk about when the damage has already been done to both American children and those dissenters who challenged the fear-mongering, and data-denying mainstream narrative with actual science and facts.
Furthermore, this “journalistic” outfit fails to acknowledge their own complicity in these devastating results.
It was clear what would happen all along, but the New York Times failed to interrogate the issue and instead published “the science” as determined by Big Pharma press releases, teachers’ unions, and government leaders cowing in the face of public health bureaucrats.
My first writing on the subject was this in February 2021, but I had started pushing back from day one — March 2020 — in my own community, on news programs, on social media, and with open schools rallies, like the one pictured here from December 2020.
There were times I felt like I was going insane because it was all so patently clear what was happening and would only be made worse the longer schools stayed close: the learning loss; the disengagement from education overall; the depression and anxiety and suicidality due to severe isolation (often summarized as “mental health impacts”); the chronic absenteeism that would inevitably come because when you tell kids that their education isn’t important – isn’t a societal priority – well, they will believe you; the dropout rates; the graduating without being able to read; the abuse at home; the loss of community and hope.
But the more we sounded the alarm bell the more we were demonized.
Unsurprisingly, the poorest, most vulnerable children were harmed the most. Which is also clearly what was going to happen from the outset if you exercised even a modicum of common sense. Because, despite the wealthy hordes in Los Angeles and New York City shrieking about how We’re all in this together! –from their fancy balconies in the Hollywood Hills and the acreage of their Montana vacation homes — they also hired private tutors and formed learning pods with hired help to guide their kids and make sure they stayed on track. And, their children returned to their $60k a year private schools in the fall of 2020, a year before those who couldn’t afford the luxury of in-person education.
It was poor and low-income children who were left home alone to navigate “Zoom school” while their parents worked hourly wage “essential” jobs. And it was poor and low-income children left home to take care of younger siblings. Or find community – and trouble – outside of school. It was poor and low-income children who missed meals by not being in school, who didn’t have WIFI that worked, who didn’t have adult intervention and oversight that happens in school.
But no child was immune to the impacts. Just when adolescents are meant to be individuating from their parents, they were forced to be at home, alone, relying on screens for any sense of connection to their peers. They missed out on proms, football games, debate club, youth sports, graduations, and all of the small everyday milestones that make a teen’s life. And they were given no hope that it would ever end because it just kept going and going. In some states students experienced disruption to their schooling for as long as 19 months.
And even then, when they finally returned to school full time, they suffered under onerous restrictions including masking, distancing, testing, periodic closures, and no extra-curricular activities.
Furthermore, young people were made to feel like horrible monsters if they struggled with this isolation. They were called selfish grandma killers if they yearned for their friends or wanted to celebrate their graduations. They were made to feel shame for being human. Is it surprising that record numbers of young people were thrown into depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, drug use, and sometimes, even suicide?
It’s nice that the New York Times has caught on now. But in this accurate oh-so-too-late piece, they fail to acknowledge their own complicity in extending and furthering the devastating, ineffective, and morally abhorrent school closures during 2020-2021, with restrictions to children continuing for more than a year after schools actually opened everywhere in the Fall of 2021.
They elevated the voices of those who furthered fear with a schools needs to be closed or else all the children and teachers will die hysteria.
Science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli persistently stoked fears about the danger of Covid to children and downplayed the significant risks of keeping them at home, “learning” on screens, isolated from their peers.
She continued to stoke unwarranted fear just when kids were going to get a semblance of their lives back, at a time when adults had been going to bars and dance clubs and sports stadiums for over a year.
Was her intention to encourage school districts to shut down again? Who knows. Certainly, she got the numbers way way wrong. She was so caught up in the fear-furthering hysteria — having participated in it for a year and a half at that point — she must have lost the ability to count.
Certainly, there was ample evidence that kids were at little to no risk, nor had they been since the very beginning. But any suggestion — with data cited — that Covid was not in fact dangerous to kids, was deemed “Covid denialism” by Mandavilli.
This is a science reporter for the New York Times, folks, not some Twitter rando. Her articles and Tweets carried real weight and influence.
The New York Times failed to interrogate the issue of closed schools during Covid in real time. They platformed fear-mongers and silenced, vilified, or just ignored dissenters, which included renowned doctors and scientists who dared to challenge the mainstream narrative like those featured in the pages of this publication.
The New York Times consistently published government and Big Pharma issued press releases as if they were journalism. They platformed the spokespeople of these entities and their paid influencers furthering unwarranted fear and packaging it as “the science.”
If a normie like me could read and interpret the data available since March 2020 and know that not only would closed schools be incredibly harmful to the most vulnerable children, but that their risk from Covid was thousands of times less than an elderly person, then certainly the science desk at the New York Times should have been able to do so.
Simply pushing the narrative that “everyone was at equal risk” was journalistic malpractice.
The news organization needs to go so many steps further than this op-ed.
They need to apologize for their untruthful, damaging reporting which gave cover to government leaders in refusing to open schools and teachers’ unions in refusing to return their members to the classroom.
They need to apologize for smearing those of us who challenged. We didn’t just suffer reputational harm and hurt feelings. We lost friends, our communities, our jobs, in some cases. And our voices were not part of the necessary societal discussion that needed to happen but didn’t. Because the New York Times presented one viewpoint — kids are at terrible risk and schools need to stay closed — as the undisputed “science.” As inarguable fact. Anyone who dissented was clearly an insane, selfish, and very dangerous lunatic.
Lastly, after apologizing to both the children harmed and the dissenters dragged through the mud, the New York Times needs to pursue this story relentlessly. So that children get the help they so desperately need and deserve.
The Crown has attempted to make a case that Tamara Lich and Chris Barber were co-conspirators responsible for the uprising in Ottawa in 2022
On Day 31 of the trial against Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, government lawyers attempted to paint the two as heading a kind of “occupation” in Ottawa that was an assertion the leaders’ lawyers swiftly rejected.
According to a Day 31 update from The Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, the Crown spent a “significant part” of its presentation last Thursday focused on “characterizing Lich and Barber as leaders of an “occupation.”
In court, the Crown was able to give this response to the defense, which for the past week has been submitting its case in court defending Lich and Barber, who were the main heads of the 2022 Freedom Convoy that headed to Ottawa to demand an end to all COVID mandates.
The TDF noted how the Crown directed the court’s attention to “videos depicting the blocking of roads in downtown Ottawa, including one featuring Barber expressing approval.”
The Crown also showed the court press conferences with Lich and Barber held in early 2022, along with “Facebook posts, and videos portraying them as key figures in the movement,” as noted by the TDF.
“The Crown argued that their actions and statements, including a text exchange discussing ‘misleading’ tactics, demonstrated a shared purpose in opposing mandates through unlawful means,” the TDF observed.
The Crown also highlighted to the court how Barber had called for more protestors to join the movement, including showing a TikTok video of him telling people to come to Ottawa. The Crown claimed that this video, and other evidence show Barber was trying to flood the city with protesters in some kind of “occupation.”
Lawrence Greenspon, defense counsel for Lich, objected to the Crown’s “changing positions on the furtherance submissions,” as noted by the TDF, and asked for an “opportunity to respond,” which was granted by Judge Heather Perkins-McVey.
Crown has given weak case in trying to prove that Lich and Barber influenced the protesters’ actions through their words as part of a co-conspiracy
The Crown has been trying to prove that Lich and Barber had somehow influenced the protesters’ actions through their words as part of a co-conspiracy. This claim has been rejected by the defense as weak.
On Day 30 of the trial, the defense detailed to the court how text message exchanges from one of the leaders showed he was trying to ensure protestors were as respectful as possible and wanted to work with police.
Last week, on Day 29, Lich’s legal counsel argued that her use of the rallying cry “hold the line” during the 2022 protests did not imply she was calling for people to engage in illegal activity.
In court last week, however, Perkins-McVey reminded the Crown that not everyone involved in the Freedom Convoy was working together. The Crown agreed this was the case.
The Crown has also been trying to justify its so-called “Carter application” before the court.
On Day 28 of the trial last week, the defense argued that a Crown request to make it so that criminal charges against one leader should apply to the other leader as well, and vice versa, should not be allowed to take place, as there is no evidence the pair worked in a conspiratorial manner.
The defense teams for Lich and Barber told the court they intended to bring forth two applications, the first being a call to dismiss the Crown’s “Carter application.”
The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.
TDF noted that this type of application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence.”
Last Thursday in court, the Crown claimed, when speaking about its Carter application, the emphasis was not “to prove every element of a conspiracy for the purpose of responding to the application brought by defence,” as noted by the TDF.
The Crown has claimed that non-violent protests could still be “disruptive and result in criminal charges,” as noted by TDF, adding that the court should consider limitations to Charter rights when looking at charges made against the leaders.
Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.
In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14.