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NOVA SCOTIA ATTEMPTING TO AVOID PUBLIC SCRUTINY

June 24, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TORONTO – The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is concerned the Government of Nova Scotia is attempting to avoid public scrutiny of its actions.

“First, the Province delayed the rehearing because it needed more time to prepare. Then, prior to a hearing in open court, the Province had the court cancel the injunction. Now, the Province argues that the Court should not hear the CCLA’s arguments even though this case raises issues of public importance,” said Cara Zwibel, Director of Fundamental Freedoms for the CCLA.

“The Province has threatened to seek costs against the CCLA if such a rehearing proceeds and CCLA’s arguments that the Province’s actions were illegal and unconstitutional do not succeed. The CCLA will not be intimidated, and has asked the Court to proceed with the hearing as scheduled.”

The CCLA obtained public interest standing for a  rehearing of the Province of Nova Scotia’s application, which resulted in an injunction order prohibiting all Nova Scotians from exercising their constitutionally protected rights to peacefully assemble and protest.

At the original hearing, the Court did not have the benefit of a representative of the public to test the Province’s evidence or rebut their arguments. That hearing lasted 13 minutes, and took place in secret. 

CCLA believes that the interests of justice require these issues to be heard in open court, and that the Court and the public deserves the benefit of hearing a full argument on this fundamental question of state powers.

Although the injunction is no longer in force, the question of whether it should have been granted in the first place deserves a hearing. The pandemic is ongoing and the situation that led the province to seek this Order could recur. The proper administration of justice requires that both sides of a dispute be heard, particularly when the dispute is between the government and its citizens, and where it involves critical questions of state power and Charter rights. 
 
The rehearing is scheduled to take place on June 30th before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

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Court Documents:

CCLA Brief on Rehearing

Nova Scotia Brief on Rehearing

Nova Scotia Brief on Mootness

CCLA Brief on Mootness

MEDIA:

For further comments, please contact us at media@ccla.org

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