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On May 27, 2024, Anaïs Bussières McNicoll, Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program and Interim Director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, made the following statement:

Free speech and peaceful protests should not be suppressed in a free and democratic society. Strong protections for these fundamental freedoms are particularly appropriate in the context of university campuses, where the free flow of speech, opinions and debate has been – and should continue to be – encouraged and protected. Likewise, universities’ right to free enjoyment of their property must also be interpreted in light of the particular mission of universities and the unique nature of university campuses.

That is why the CCLA just sought leave to intervene before the Quebec Superior Court in the context of the McGill University’s injunction proceedings seeking the dismantlement of the student encampment located on its campus.

As always, the CCLA’s proposed intervention supporting expressive freedom focuses on key principles and should not be construed as implying support for – or criticism of – the underlying cause or opinion expressed by protestors.

On May 13, 2024, the Quebec Superior Court dismissed McGill University’s urgent application seeking an injunction that would have ordered the dismantlement of the encampment. The Court found that there was no evidence of emergency, and noted the absence of allegations of violence or serious incidents at the McGill encampment. The next stage of these proceedings is the hearing on the interlocutory injunction, during which the CCLA wants to intervene.

The CCLA is grateful for the pro bono representation of Bruce Johnston and Lex Gill from Trudel Johnston & Lespérance in these proceedings.

The CCLA’s Application seeking leave to intervene is available here (in French).

About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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