Challengers Set to Fend Off Feds’ Attempt to Throw Out Travel Vaccine Mandate Lawsuits

Challengers Set to Fend Off Feds’ Attempt to Throw Out Travel Vaccine Mandate Lawsuits
(L–R) Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure, and Communities Dominic LeBlanc; Transport Minister Omar Alghabra; and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos make an announcement on ending vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound travellers, federally regulated transportation sector workers, and federal government employees, in Ottawa on June 14, 2022. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)
Noé Chartier

Challengers to the travel vaccine mandate will tell a federal court judge on Sept. 21 their cases should go ahead and not be declared “moot” as argued by the attorney general.

“Canada was one of the few countries in the world that had a travel ban on unvaccinated citizens flying within the country and to different provinces. This travel ban has not been cancelled, only suspended, and so court action must continue,” said lawyer Eva Chipiuk in a statement.

Chipiuk works with the legal advocacy group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which represents applicants in two of the lawsuits. One involves People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier and the other former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford and five co-applicants.

Even though the mandate isn’t in place currently, Chipiuk wants a court to assess the potential breach of charter rights in case the government seeks to bring back mandates in the future.

Other challengers to the mandate include businessmen Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard, who were the first to file a challenge in December 2021, as well as Quebec lawyer Nabil Belkacem who represents himself.

“We’re hopeful that the court will agree with us that the issue of Justin Trudeau’s vaccine mandates for travel is far from moot,” Harrison told The Epoch Times.

He alluded to the government statement announcing the lifting of the measures, which indicated mandates were only “suspended” and could be brought back if deemed necessary.

He also noted that Trudeau recently said if Canadians get “up-to-date” with their COVID-19 shots it will reduce the need to bring back restrictions.

“Canadians want to hear the government explain itself after cross-examination revealed the mandate to be more political theatre than science,” Harrison said.

No Recommendation

Government witnesses in support of the mandate were cross-examined in late spring, from the Transport Canada official who wrote the travel mandate policy to epidemiologists working with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Revelations included that neither Health Canada nor PHAC recommended the imposition of vaccination, there was limited data on in-flight transmission of the virus and the government assessed that risk as low, and the COVID vaccines would never have been approved had they shown their current level of efficacy in stopping infection.
Justice Department lawyers have argued the interim order imposing the mandate has expired and no longer exists in law.

“There is no live issue between the parties. An order will have no practical effect,” says the attorney general’s motion.

“While there continues to be an adversarial context represented by counsel taking opposing positions, a ruling on these Applications will have no practical benefit to any of the parties and would not be an appropriate use of scarce judicial resources.”

The Liberal government decided to impose mandates in the summer of 2021 and announced its plan in mid-August, shortly before dissolving Parliament and calling an election.

The domestic travel mandate came into force in October 2021 and prevented unvaccinated Canadians from taking a plane, a train, and some marine vessels from within the country.

According to a secret briefing given to the cabinet shortly before the mandates were dropped, and which was partly declassified during the legal proceedings, the measure had three objectives.

The first one was to prevent infection and transmission in the transportation sector, the second was to “improve vaccine uptake,” and the third was to “play a leadership role in protecting the health” of Canadians.

It was revealed during proceedings that the government knew in late 2021/early 2022 a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination provided limited and waning protection against the virus.

The secret briefing noted that vaccine protection against infection and transmission from the Omicron variant after two doses is “20 percent or less in most studies by six months or more after vaccination.”

The hearing on Sept. 21 is not accessible to the public but will be broadcasted over Zoom.

Noé Chartier is a senior reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times. Twitter: @NChartierET
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