Two-week trial underway today in Saskatoon against Maxime Bernier and dozens of other protestors for peaceful protests

SASKATOON: The Justice Centre announces that the trial of the Honourable Maxime Bernier, leader of the Federal People’s Party of Canada, and dozens of other protestors charged for attending an anti-lockdown rally in Saskatoon on May 9, 2021, started today in Saskatoon.

The trial is being held in Centennial Room ‘B’ at TCU Place, 35 22nd Street East, Saskatoon, and is scheduled to run for two weeks.

On May 9, 2021, a peaceful outdoor protest against government violations of Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms was held near the Vimy Memorial in Kiwanis Park. The Saskatoon Police Service aggressively targeted the protestors by posting images of many of them online, and subsequently issuing dozens of summons tickets, each with a $2800 fine. Later, Saskatchewan prosecutors also issued charges via Criminal Code Information against 46 individuals.

Justice Centre lawyers represent 23 of the defendants at this trial, including Mr. Bernier, a Saskatchewan freedom advocate Mark Friesen (known as the Grizzly Patriot), and Darrell Mills.  On behalf of Mr. Mills and a young mother who attended outdoor protests, Justice Centre lawyers argued a constitutional challenge in the Court of Queen’s Bench (now King’s Bench) to the Saskatchewan government’s strict restrictions on outdoor protests on June 29, 2022.  The Court’s decision in that matter is pending.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan prosecutors are continuing to pursue charges against individuals who attended even small anti-lockdown protests.  No charges were issued to people who participated in protests for other causes that exceeded the 10 to 30 person limits the Saskatchewan Government imposed on outdoor gatherings.  In the next six months, Justice Centre lawyers are scheduled to defend protestors in more than a dozen other trials scheduled in Provincial Courts in Saskatchewan.

“There is no legal or medical justification for the strict numerical restrictions imposed on outdoor protests in Saskatchewan,” states Marty Moore, a lawyer with the Justice Centre.  “Yet, an incredible amount of public resources, including prosecution and court time, has been committed to prosecuting protestors. The targeting of these protestors is not on the basis that their protests were a health risk, but rather because they expressed opposition to the government’s unjustified restrictions on Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms. Not a single transmission of Covid has been associated with an outdoor protest in Saskatchewan, and yet the government continues to go after protestors for exercising their constitutionally-protected freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.”