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Advocacy group launches lawsuit over Saskatchewan’s outdoor gathering restrictions

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms alleges current measures limiting outdoor protests to no more than 10 people violates a person’s charter rights. Justin Bukoski / Global News

An advocacy group has launched a constitutional challenge to Saskatchewan’s restriction on outdoor protests.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) said its lawsuit was filed on behalf of two people who were ticketed at outdoor protests.

Under Saskatchewan’s current public health orders, no more than 10 people can attend outdoor public and private gatherings, with physical distancing of at least two metres between households.

Read more: 2 Regina women fined $2,800 for breaking COVID-19 public health order during protest

Marty Moore, a JCCF staff lawyer, said prohibiting outdoor protests of more than 10 people violates freedoms guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Moore alleges it violates freedoms of thought, belief, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association.

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“(It) strikes at the heart of activities central to the functioning of a free and democratic society, with little if any corresponding public health benefit,” Moore said in a statement.

“This unconstitutional limitation is further being enforced in a discriminatory and arbitrary manner targeting those expressing their opposition to the government’s lockdown measures. The unjustified infringement of Canadians’ constitutional freedoms cannot go unchallenged.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Read more: Regina police hand out $2,800 ticket for COVID-19 violation at protest

A spokesperson for Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the lawsuit as the matter is before the court.

The JCCF said the two individuals were each ticketed $2,800 after attending a protest at the Vimy Memorial in Saskatoon’s Kiwanis Park on Dec. 19, 2020.

Jasmin Grandel has been ticketed at almost every protest she has attended in Regina, according to the JCCF.

She is questioning what she says is the lack of transparency around the information the government is using when invoking measures and why her son must wear a mask in kindergarten.

The JCCF said Darrell Mills has concerns over improper mask-wearing and the burdens it places on individuals with physical or psychological conditions that prevent them from wearing masks.

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A court date has not been set.

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