11.16.2011 09:13 AM

Occupy your time reading the Charter

The millionaire lawyers representing the millionaire troglodytes now running Toronto got their asses kicked in Court, yesterday, when they tried to evict penniless Occupiers who live in tents.

Let me refer them to this:

“2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.”

Perhaps they should’ve read that before they stepped into court yesterday to be humiliated. ┬áIt is the supreme statute of the land, after all.


  1. The Other Jim says:

    Warren – Can you please explain to us non-lawyer types how they got their assess kicked? My read of the article is that the judge simply opted to maintain the status quo in advance of an actual decision. Am I missing something? (not trying to spin anything here, just trying to understand)

    • Dan says:

      In a lot of court cases, if there’s a legit issue to be tried you can get an injunction against anything happening until a ruling. For example, if two people are arguing about who owns a car, you might not be able to get the court to say who’s car it is, but you might be able to get the court to stop anyone from selling it until they do figure it out. This is the same thing… except it involves the charter right to free expression.

  2. Where does it say in the charter that you can turn a park to essential a tent city? How about the freedom of walking through the park without tents? How about the city of Toronto being able to do work so that their sprinkler system doesn’t freeze over during the winter? Does that mean peoples can set up tents in front of your house and stay there for as long as they wish as long as they are peaceful,if not why not? Thank you!

    • Warren says:

      I’m thinking you didn’t do well on the LSAT.

      • Stacey Leadbetter says:

        Your front lawn is not “public property”. As well, the Church owns half the park and allows the City to use it – they gave the Occupiers permission to be there. Look to Montreal for an example of how a City can work with (not handle, deal with or bully) this very important movement.


        • Marc L says:

          This very important movement. Yup, of course. 200 people in Montreal at most. 0.0067% of Montreal’s population. That’s my definition of a marginal movement. Even in terms of content, the movement in the US at least has some substance. Here, all you have is the usual extreme left-wing militants (like the CLAC),a nd the usual cabal of twentysomethings who are allergic to work.

          • Warren says:

            They can’t get work, Marc. That’s the whole friggin’ point. Jesus.

          • Marc L says:

            Warren, there is a big difference between the employment situation in the US and here, and that is why I make a distinction between the two. What you showed in another post that showed U.S. employment still some 7 million jobs short of the pre-recession peak is very real, and is creating huge problems for ordinary middle-class Amercicans. In Canada, we have recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, and the unemployment rate has declined substantially. I’m not saying there are no people who have trouble finding work, but we do not have the crisis situation with respect to jobs that they have in the US. And, I’m sorry, but I have little sympathy for people who do a BA in sociology protesting that they can’t find a high-paying job after their degree. People should have to take some responsibility for their decisions. Finally, no this is not really about destitute people unable to find a job. It’s about protesting against capitalism, and against a million other things — this is as unfocused a movement you can get.

          • Dan says:

            One of many reasons they can’t get to work.


        • I didn’t say front lawn,I meant to say the sidewalk! Last I looked the sidewalk is public!

      • First I’m no lawyer,secondly what the heck is LSAT?

    • Robert Wiseman says:

      I understand from one news report that I heard that there are plumbers amongst the protestors and they offered to take care of the City’s sprinkler system for free. That is a non-issue.

      There is also a difference between establishing a protest on my private property and our collectively owned public property (although I understand that half the park is private property and the owner is o.k. with this use).

  3. Marc L says:

    Gimme a break! Does that give them the right to squat in a park indefinitely? If so, something is really wrong with our laws.

    • Warren says:

      Golly, that sure was a well-reasoned legal analysis. You should join Mayor Ford’s legal team.

      • Marc L says:

        It isn’t meant to be. I’m not a lawyer. That’s your job. But I don’t think the isssue is irrelevant — is it really reasonable to let a few hundred people camp in a public park for an indefinite period of time because they want to protest? How about blocking roads while we’re at it. I can’t use the park if I want to. Here in Montreal the whole thing is a real eyesore — it looks like a shantytown. It’s right in front of the W hotel. How about the rights of the hotel owner, among other people. Is this what the guarantee of free speech is all about? I doubt it.

        • Patrick Deberg says:

          Hold that attutude Marc and when your kids have no work to do they will find the need to live in a park too. But don’t worry about that the powers that be will only be more that willing to bash in their heads for your “right ” to walk in a park.

          • Marc L says:

            I don’t understand your argument. Isn’t the park public property? Do you really think they should be allowed to do whatever they wish and set up camp wherever they want and for as long as they want? Should they be allowed to block roads? How come I can’t just set up camp in a park? Do you think I should be allowed to camp in parks all summer? Seriously, I would like to know what YOU would do. None of the posters who support the squatters here have said what they would do and how they would deal with the consequences.

          • smelter rat says:

            Marc, they ARE the public.

        • Dan says:

          You can still walk through the park just fine. No one’s breaking any laws just by being there.

          • Marc L says:

            Oh gimme a break! There is a difference between just being there and turning it into a shantytown. I hope you realize that!

    • Nothing wrong with the law only interpretation!

      • Robert Wiseman says:

        I think that we need to distinguish between ‘setting up a tent’ and ‘making a political statement by setting up a tent and occupying a park’. Clearly one is questionable while the other raises issues about the rights of Canadians to make statements and assemble.

        Many of the comments made against the park are just silly. I doubt anyone is prevented from walking through the park except through their own ignorance, which creates their fear. It isn’t helped by councillor Doug Hollyday referring to the protestors as a ‘gang’. Talk about stupid.

        This isn’t just a public park either…half of it is owned by the church and they have been in the media as supporting the right of the protestors to be there and use the land. The protestors really aren’t hurting anyone. They aren’t greeting people with threatening behaviour. By all reports they are working hard to maintain an ordered protest that focuses people’s attention on a real and growing problem in our country, which is the dominance of the political, economic and social life of Canada and other countries by a small elite who have no interest but increasing and protecting their wealth and privilege.

  4. Paul says:

    No one is saying they can’t peacefully assemble, associate or express themselves. The argument is “why the hell do they get to set up tents and squat in a park?”

    If some friends and I went over to Centre Island, pitched a couple of tents, lit a fire and tried to camp there for a few days we’d be told to leave by the police before spending even one night. How about our right to “peacefully assemble?”

    There are dangerous precedents being set here, namely that “we have laws, but if a mob breaks them, it’s A-OK” (See also: the disgraceful lack of enforcement action by the OPP in Caledonia and other native protests. One set of laws for certain groups, another set of laws for others.)

    I am not a lawyer, but I would be very surprised if city bylaws against camping in parks, etc. have not been already been challenged and subsequently upheld by the courts. We have long-established provincial and national park systems with permit requirements for camping and even use in some cases, so I doubt the Occupods have a legal leg to stand on here.

  5. Glen says:

    It’s actually nice to see the people still have a few options left and someone on their side.

    I agree that greed is to blame for many of our problems, even if I think the demonstrators are a bunch of hippies.

  6. MCBellecourt says:

    Greed and, perhaps, this phenomenom spelled out in this beauty of an article. I stumbled upon it late yesterday and bookmarked it.


    Very analytical article–and very thought-provoking.

  7. Ron Fischer says:

    While I find the Occupy movement in Canada somewhat disjointed and very poorly lead (if at all) the message boils down to an understanding that the gap between Rich and Poor is widening dramatically and getting worse. They may not really know how to articulate themselves and they may not be well organized but it seems the more the government flexes their muscles the more organized the occupiers get. There is nothing in the Charter about what amounts to a protest, just that you are entitled to protest, and I think its very dangerous to suggest that one citizens protest is any less valid then the next persons, who decides, who controls, who rules? Democracy is messy, but as old Winston Churchill said;
    Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
    Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947
    British politician (1874 – 1965)

  8. Chris Prowse says:

    I understand the concerns of the occupiers but, I wonder how many of these protesters actually went to the polls and exercised their democratic voice. That is where the protest should have started. If you didn’t vote you shouldn’t complain… I would bet there are a lot of protesters in the occupy movement that never voted. This anger should have been expressed before letting the cons get a majority.

    • steve says:

      Very true, if more had voted we would not be living under the Harper disaster.

      • Robert Wiseman says:

        You are assuming that the non-voters would vote in a different proportion than those who voted did. I expect that they indicated their lack of concern with the status quo by not voting and if they had been driven to vote, may well have voted for the ‘Harper disaster’.

        What we need is electoral reform, where the true voting intentions of Canadians who vote can be reflected in the outcome. The majority of voters didn’t want a Harper majority, but we have one nonetheless.

    • ben burd says:

      Yep vote for the same old people who got us into this mess, that’s why they don’t vote: one piece of shit is as bad as the next one.

    • Ron Fischer says:

      I am sure many did vote as activists are often want to do, however one right is not dependent on the other, vote or not they have a right to say their say.

  9. Tiger says:

    I say let them stay all winter.

    Builds character!

  10. The Doctor says:

    I find it interesting in his original post that Warren did not bother pointing out that Section 2 of the Charter is specifically subject to the “reasonable limitations” provision in section 1 of the Charter, to wit:

    1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    The main point is that our Charter rights are not absolute. They are subject to such limits as can be reasonably justified in a free and democratic society.

    • Robert Wiseman says:

      And that is the exact question that will be before the court I expect. Do these “fundamental” rights get tossed because people don’t like the method of assembly and expression being chosen by these protestors. If the City wins in this case, then these rights aren’t so fundamental after all.

      • The Doctor says:

        I disagree with your use of the word “fundamental”. It would mean that these rights are not ABSOLUTE, which was the precise intention of the creators of the Charter in making those rights subject to s. 1. Go read the SCC decision in the Oakes case. If you don’t like the s. 1 restriction, then you must really have a problem with that fella Trudeau.

        If you like absolute rights to free expression, then you must love US constitutional jurisprudence. It’s what allowed the Nazis to march in Skokie.

      • Ken says:

        They are as fundamental as they are after a s. 1 analysis is done with them.

        I don’t think the campers have a case.

  11. steve says:

    Once again we can thank PET for not leaving us at the mercy of the 1%. If only we had the NEP as well, we would all have an American maid and Butler.

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