Saskatchewan NDP calls for increased fines specifically for ‘freedom rally’ organizers

Saskatoon police said 18 people who were observed to have varying levels of involvement at the rally on Sunday, May 9, 2021. were issued tickets. Brady Ratzlaff / Global News

Dozens of people in Regina and Saskatoon received tickets for violating public health orders at anti-COVID-19 restrictions rallies this weekend.

Among them was People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier.

A law for higher fines is expected to take effect later this week.

However, NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer wants to see a minimum $10,000 fine added specifically for rally organizers.

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice Gordon Wyant, though, says he does not believe a specific fine would deter protest organizers.

Read more: 18 tickets issued at Saskatoon ‘freedom rally’

“They’re going to have to face the consequences of the prosecution in respect to those tickets,” Wyant said on Monday at the legislature.

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“I can tell you that prosecutions will aggressively prosecute those tickets and we’re confident we will be able to enforce those penalties,” he added.

The NDP feels the penalties are not stringent enough.

“We need to see the government take a very strong stance against these rallies and condemn the organizers of the rallies,” Sarauer stated.

“If you’ve noticed, we can’t even get the premier to condemn Maxime Bernier.”

Read more: COVID-19: Regina police issue 16 tickets after anti-public health order protest Saturday

The Manitoba government recently announced its plans to double fines for repeat offenders going against public health orders.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said unpaid fines could hinder individuals’ ability to get or renew a driver’s licence.

Wyant said all of those options are available under Saskatchewan law.

Despite the contention from the opposition, Wyant says the government is “quite confident” it has the tools to collect fines that have been given out.

Sarauer says she plans on introducing a private member’s bill for rally organizer fines on Tuesday.

The increased fines, which are expected to take effect this week, are maximum fines for $75,000 for individuals and $100,000 for a corporation.

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Regina police issue two ‘Freedom Rally’ organizers $2,800 fines – Dec 12, 2020

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