OCLA Civil Liberties Award


2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award: Dr. Bruce Allan Clark

Update: Blog post with photos and report from the event (click here)

Update: The text of Dr. Clark’s speech is available here. (Also published online at Dissident Voice, here.)

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Video from the Oct. 14 public event is currently in production. Click above image for video interview with Dr. Clark from February 2016.

Dr. Bruce Allan Clark to Receive the 2016 OCLA Civil Liberties Award

(Cliquez ici pour la version française)

(Ottawa, October 11, 2016) — The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) will present its 2016 Civil Liberties Award to Dr. Bruce Allan Clark at a public event in Ottawa, Ontario, on Friday, October 14.

Place: PSAC building, 233 Gilmour St., Ottawa, ON
Time: Friday, Oct. 14 at 7pm

Dr. Clark will give an address about the subject of his life’s work as a lawyer, academic, and activist: that Canada’s violations of aboriginal land rights stemming from the Indian Act of 1876 are unconstitutional. Dr. Clark’s determination to have this legal argument heard by Canada’s courts led to his eventual disbarment and arrest for contempt of court. The courts never allowed the argument to be heard, and Dr. Clark was finally disbarred and jailed.

Chief Gary Metallic, of the unceded Restigouche River drainage basin, a friend and former client of Bruce Clark, will be coming from the Listuguj Reserve (Gaspe Peninsula) to attend the event and give an introduction before Dr. Clark’s address. Another friend, John Shaver, will be coming from Toronto to give an introduction about Dr. Clark’s personal and professional struggle.

The OCLA produced a video interview with Dr. Clark last winter:

Dr. Clark is the author of several books:

  • Indian Title in Canada. Carswell, 1987 ISBN 978-0459304515
  • The right of Indian self-government in Canada. PhD Thesis. University of Aberdeen, 1988.
  • Native Liberty, Crown Sovereignty: The existing aboriginal right of self-government in Canada. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0773507678.
  • Justice in Paradise. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0773520011.

Dr. Clark’s recent articles at Dissident Voice are here:
http://dissidentvoice.org/author/bruceclark/

The OCLA hopes the free public event will be an occasion for meetings and discussions on these vital issues.

Past recipients of the OCLA award were Harry Kopyto (2013), Terri-Jean Bedford (2014), and Connie Fournier (2015).

OCLA’s Award page, updated regularly: http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-liberties-award/
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1677042199282251/

About the OCLA
The OCLA vigorously advocates for authentic and unqualified freedom of expression of individuals, on all topics and in every form, in accordance with the right to free expression enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The OCLA also advocates for unimpeded civil liberties and civil rights of all persons, in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.

Contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
613-252-6148 (c)
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca

Co-sponsored by:

arc_uottawa_logo

Aboriginal Resource Centre, University of Ottawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAST AWARDS


2015 OCLA Civil Liberties Award: Connie Fournier

Update: The text of Connie Fournier’s acceptance speech from the November 13, 2015, award presentation is available here.

Update: A video of the November 13, 2015, award event is embedded below. A detailed timeline with links to the different speakers and the various topics of Connie’s speech is available by watching the video on YouTube (click here and find links under “Show More” in YouTube).

2015 OCLA Civil Liberties Award Discerned to Connie Fournier

(Ottawa, November 2, 2015) — The OCLA will present its 2015 Civil Liberties Award to Mrs. Connie Fournier at a public event in Kingston, Ontario, on November 13.

Place: The “Side Room” at Denny’s, 33 Benson Street, Kingston, Ontario
Time: 7:00 PM, Friday, November 13, 2015

In 2001, Mrs. Fournier co-founded Free Dominion, a pioneering internet discussion forum for principled conservatism. Mrs. Fournier and her husband Mark Fournier have valiantly defended the free expression of commentators to their venue and their right to provide the venue, against many defamation complaints and lawsuits that have been a significant burden on her family.

Mrs. Fournier was an organizer in the successful battle to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act — which was used to prosecute citizens for communication of “hate messages” telephonically or on the Internet, without needing to establish actual harm to any person.

Connie Fournier is the author of the 2015 book Betrayed: Stephen Harper’s war on principled conservatism, in which she argued that the Harper government needed to be defeated, by principled conservatives themselves:

When a leader that we have elected goes off the rails and begins to dismantle the very fabric of our democracy, we have a duty to send our own people into the political wilderness until they learn to handle the unfettered power of a majority government with the care and respect it deserves.

Past recipients of the OCLA award were Harry Kopyto (2013), and Terri-Jean Bedford (2014).

OCLA’s Award page, updated regularly: http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-liberties-award/
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/4014426498661639/

About the OCLA

The OCLA vigorously advocates for authentic and unqualified freedom of expression of individuals, on all topics and in every form, in accordance with the right to free expression enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The OCLA also advocates for unimpeded civil liberties and civil rights of all persons, in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.

Contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
613-252-6148 (c)
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca


2014 OCLA Civil Liberties Award: Terri-Jean Bedford

Update: A video of Terri-Jean Bedford’s moving acceptance speech from the November 14, 2014 award presentation is embedded below:

Update: The text of Terri-Jean Bedford’s acceptance speech from the November 14, 2014 award presentation is available here.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford to Receive 2014 Ontario Civil Liberties Association Award

The OCLA will present its 2014 Civil Liberties Award to Miss Bedford at a public presentation and reception in Ottawa on November 14.

Place: Alumni Auditorium, University Centre, University of Ottawa
Time: 7:00 PM, Friday, November 14, 2014

“I want to be remembered for standing against secret rules”, said Miss Bedford. “My motto is that I’ll fight for my rights whether you like it or not”, she added.

Miss Bedford has fought for the freedom, dignity, and safety of sex workers in Canada. She has joined many prominent Canadians and dedicated activists to this end. She has opposed the unjust laws affecting her profession in court, in the streets, in the Senate, in the press, and in her writings. She has even been to jail under these laws.

Miss Bedford has been an inspiration to those who work to correct society’s moral and legal hypocrisy, and to secure a human right of adult individuals to provide and buy or exchange personal services by informed consent without the state’s interference.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/349779428525127/

About the OCLA
The OCLA vigorously advocates for authentic and unqualified freedom of expression of individuals, on all topics and in every form, in accordance with the right to free expression enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The OCLA also advocates for unimpeded civil liberties and civil rights of all persons, in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.

Contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
613-252-6148 (c)
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca


2013 OCLA Civil Liberties Award: Harry Kopyto

Update: Video of Harry’s enthralling speech from the November 8, 2013 award celebration can be viewed below.


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Inaugural OCLA Civil Liberties Award discerned to Harry Kopyto

“From the moment that I developed any ideas of what society is all about, I dedicated my life to fighting for justice, a world without racism, a world without antisemitism, a world without war, a world where people are equal in fact as well as in law.” 

—Harry Kopyto, September 1989.

On November 8, 2013, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) will present its inaugural Civil Liberties Award to Harry Kopyto in honour of his enduring commitment to individual rights and freedoms in Ontario.

Join the OCLA in Toronto on November 8, 2013 to celebrate Mr. Kopyto’s many contributions to the societal struggles for justice, democracy, and transparency in Ontario’s legal system, and to hear him speak about his past and present involvement in the civil liberties movement in this province:

  • Date: Friday, November 8, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Location: Beit Zatoun House
    612 Markham Street
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Organized by: Ontario Civil Liberties Association
  • Free admission
  • Facebook event page

Background about Harry Kopyto

In 1986, while he was a practising lawyer, Harry Kopyto was charged with contempt of court by Ontario’s Attorney General for having made a bold criticism of the province’s courts and police. In response to a decision of the Ontario Small Claims Court dismissing his client, activist Ross Dowson’s lawsuit against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mr. Kopyto made the following statement to the media:

“This decision is a mockery of justice. It stinks to high hell. It says it is okay to break the law and you are immune so long as someone above you said to do it. Mr. Dowson and I have lost faith in the judicial system to render justice. We’re wondering what is the point of appealing and continuing this charade of the courts in this country which are warped in favour of protecting the police. The courts and the RCMP are sticking so close together you’d think they were put together with Krazy Glue.” — R. v. Kopyto, 1987 CanLII 176 (ON CA)

It was to become one of the most significant free speech cases in Ontario in recent history. Although Harry was initially convicted and ordered to apologize, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction in 1987, noting that:

“History has repeatedly demonstrated that the first step taken by totalitarian regimes is to muzzle the media and then the individual in order to prevent the dissemination of views and opinions that may be contrary to those of the government. The vital importance of freedom of expression cannot be over­emphasized.” — R. v. Kopyto, 1987 CanLII 176 (ON CA)

Throughout most of the 90s and early 2000s, Harry worked as a paralegal, and in 2002 he represented Velma Demerson in her landmark women’s rights lawsuit against the Government of Ontario. However, in 2007, when the Law Society of Upper Canada took over regulation of the paralegal profession, Harry was not granted a license to practice as a paralegal.

As a result, he is currently engaged in a lengthy “good character” hearing with the Law Society with the goal of securing his paralegal license to continue his work representing underprivileged members of the community in court. His ongoing hearings, which continue on November 12 and 13, 2013 raise important questions about whether the regulation of all legal professions by a single Law Society is healthy for Ontario.

Website of the Harry Kopyto Defence Committee: http://www.harrykopyto.ca

Background about the OCLA

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) is an organization formed to defend civil liberties at a time when fundamental freedoms are subjected to a real and palpable systemic erosion in all spheres of social life. The OCLA opposes institutional decisions that remove from the individual his or her personal liberty or exclude the individual from participation in the democratic functions of society.

Since its public launch event in January 2013, the OCLA has publicly addressed a number of civil liberties matters, including: the right to equal treatment for self-represented litigants by the courts; the need for a broad interpretation of freedom of expression in Ontario; police conduct in an age of paramilitary policing; and civil liberties abridgements by Ontario universities.

Website of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association: http://www.ocla.ca

For more information please contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://www.ocla.ca
613-252-6148 (c)
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca

Mr. Kopyto is available to answer inquiries from the media:

Harry Kopyto
416-907-5128
harrykopyto@yahoo.ca

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