Me Guy Bertrand is leading the action against the Quebec government and the Directorate-general of public Health with his cabinet.
June 8, 2020 19h53
Another attack judicial flat against Québec for its management of the COVID-19
The Canadian Press
Another attack judicial flat on the measures taken by the government of Quebec to protect the population against the pandemic of the COVID-19.
Four citizens and the Foundation for the defense of the rights and freedoms of the people (FDLP), created in the last month during the health crisis, claim to have served on Monday an action against the government of Québec and the Directorate-general of public Health.
The president of the Foundation is Stéphane Blais, who is also the leader of a political party in quebec, created in 2018 : “People in power”.
Recently, a lawyer, Me Jean-Félix Racicot, had attempted to invalidate the containment measures imposed by the quebec government, but had been rejected : the Court of appeal had held that it had not used the proper procedural means to challenge the measures.
In this new procedure, the plaintiffs allege that “the containment of Québec as a whole” was an “unreasonable and unjustifiable” for the state of public health emergency.
These decisions of the government have bullied and threatened the rights and freedoms of citizens, which are protected by the canadian and quebec Charters, they argue.
They believe that the State would have been able to take measures that are less drastic.
The action seeks to declare unconstitutional, and ineffective, several sections of the public health Act, which grants powers to the government to act in times of crisis. If the court determines that the act is valid, the plaintiffs have already requested in the action that are void of many decrees and ministerial orders enacted during the health crisis.
According to them, these laws give excessive powers to the government, its ministers and the director of public Health.
“It pleads the abuse, that it is exaggeration, second to none. This is what I call the destruction of Quebec in a short time, three months ago,” he argues in the interview, mr. Guy Bertrand, who controls the action with his cabinet.
Applicants already indicate that they are going to request the annulment of the bill 61 to boost the economy of Quebec and of the law itself and from its penalty, one can read in the action. The draft law aims in particular to extend the state of health emergency “until the government put an end to” and to accelerate 202 infrastructure projects.
The plaintiffs argue in their work that even in times of crisis, the government may not, by mere decrees or ministerial orders, renewable, close and interrupt the activities of the national Assembly and the courts, as he has done.
“It pleads the abuse, that it is exaggeration, second to none. This is what I call the destruction of Quebec in a short time, in three months ”
Me Guy Bertrand
They may not prejudice an unreasonable and unjustifiable to fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens, they.
Questioned as to why the action is brought at the beginning of the month of June, while many measures of containment are in the process of being withdrawn, mr. Guy Bertrand replied, in the interview that there is also a question of prevention.
“It is necessary to do it anyway because there may be a second wave. And when we win the case, the legislator will have to redo his homework for the second wave, to not destroy the Québec city as it was destroyed now.”
A judge will now review the actions of the government, emphasizes the well known lawyer.
As of Monday, the COVID-19 has caused nearly 5000 deaths in Quebec and the province has identified more than 53 000 cases of infection with the coronavirus.
But the plaintiffs estimate that the Quebec government has taken extreme measures to combat the COVID-19 as if it were the face of Ebola : these measures are likely to lead to a social crisis in Quebec worse than the health emergency caused by the current pandemic, they added.
“To achieve their purposes, the defendants (the government and the department of public Health), have imposed measures extravagant to applicants in all spheres of human activity, trampling, in several respects, their rights and freedoms beyond the limits of reasonable and justifiable that we should expect in a free and democratic society, especially in times of a health emergency”, one can read in the procedure.
For example, they argue that the prohibition of visits and outings for residents of NURSING homes were discriminatory, because they were prevented to move freely, without regard to their condition and their health. The suspension of activities in the workplace has left for the account of patients that have left their state of health deteriorate.
And then, the measures taken have forced the isolation of some people and prevented the movement between regions, in contravention of the freedom of movement provided for in the canadian Charter of rights and freedoms.
The government had to know that all these bans would lead to problems of physical and mental health, many bankruptcies, job losses and public debt unparalleled, argue the plaintiffs.
Among the conclusions of the action is also this : a recommendation to the Attorney general of Quebec to take all necessary measures to ensure that citizens who have paid a traffic ticket in connection with the measures taken for the COVID-19 be refunded.
The office of the minister of Justice, Sonia LeBel, did not want to comment further since the matter is before the courts.
Me Bertrand is not known when the case will be heard by the court, considering that the judicial activities are not fully times.