Dear OCLA Supporter,
This email is to give you an update on the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA)’s work and activities in 2018.
2018 OCLA Civil Liberties Award – Donald Best
Donald Best, a former detective and current anti-corruption whistleblower and activist, was the recipient of the 2018 OCLA Civil Liberties Award.
Donald’s video of his acceptance speech can be watched at the following link, along with a video introduction of Donald by Professor Julie Macfarlane, Director of the National Self-represented Litigants Project: http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-
Hiring of third-party psychiatrists and psychologists to opine on dangerousness of individuals
It has become a widespread practice in Ontario for the state, institutions, employers and litigation or political adversaries to purchase individualized psychiatric profiles or evaluations of individuals they wish to harm or control.
OCLA’s statement opposing this practice and invitation to victims to come forward can be read here.
Letter to the Attorney General of Ontario re: Censorship provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code
In July, the OCLA sent a letter asking the incoming Attorney General of Ontario Caroline Mulroney not to consent to prosecution under the censorship provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code, and to retract the Attorney General’s consent for ongoing prosecutions initiated with the consent of her predecessor.
The letter explains the noncompliance of these Criminal Code provisions with international law and their potential to be used for propaganda and societal manipulation. The letter, Attorney General Mulroney’s response, and the OCLA’s reply can be read here.
The OCLA provided legal research and litigation logistic support in Ottawa homeowner Dr. Hadi Salmasian’s constitutional appeal against the “minor variance” provision of Ontario’s Planning Act.
Dr. Salmasian’s legal submissions summarize the problem as follows:
Ontario is the only province in Canada whose bylaw-variance provision in its planning act sets a jurisdictional threshold as “minor variance”, without defining “minor” and without providing the established criteria of undue harm from compliance with the bylaw and absence of injury to neighbouring properties.
As a result, the known market and political forces have free reign. The variance provision has become a committee and tribunal planning instrument in-effect without democratic oversight, and the impacts on established neighbourhoods are devastating, in Ottawa at least.
Facebook’s October purge of some “800 pages and accounts” was the largest overt purge of political content since the advent of the social media giants, deplatforming ordinary citizens on an unprecedented scale.
The OCLA’s statement and press release on the purge is posted at the link here.
OCLA statement on the notwithstanding clause controversy
In September, Ontario witnessed a controversy concerning Premier Doug Ford’s intention to invoke the “notwithstanding clause” of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in response to a judge’s decision to strike down as unconstitutional the government’s reduction in the number of wards in the Toronto’s 2018 municipal election.
In the OCLA’s position, posted on our website and sent to media on September 12, we stated:
[I]t has surprised us that the media has focused almost entirely on the potential use of the notwithstanding clause rather than critically examine the judge’s reasons for striking down the statute in such a dramatic way.
In our examination of the ruling, we fail to see how the candidate’s freedom of expression rights were violated by the restructuring of the ridings, which at the time of the ruling had already been put in place.
The judge was required to identify evidence that expression was actually prevented or impeded but he did not. The judge did not describe one iota of evidence that any candidate’s expression about anything was impeded by Bill-5. Nor did the judge provide a theoretical example of how any specific expression would be prevented or impeded by Bill-5.
Faced with a highly disruptive ruling that makes no sense, we fail to see why the Premier would not invoke the notwithstanding clause. One could argue that it is the Premier’s duty to do so in such circumstances.
Our position was covered in the media on September 13, and on September 19 the Ontario Court of Appeal issued its ruling staying the decision of the lower-court judge. The appeal court’s ruling aligned perfectly with the OCLA’s position, which cannot be said for the great majority of media and political pundits on this issue.
– December 4: “Detective turned activist wins prestigious civil liberties award”, Ottawa Sun
– September 13: Interview on The Craig Needles Show re: Ontario government’s use of the notwithstanding clause
– July 17: Interview on The Evan Soloman Show re: the trial of Monika Schaefer on charges of denying the Holocaust
– March 17: “Airline bill hitting turbulence, says watchdog”, Winnipeg Free Press
– For a list of all media articles see here.
How to stay connected and donate to the OCLA
The OCLA is an independent, volunteer-run organization. Donations help cover operating costs such as booking rooms for public events, printing promotional material for campaigns and events, and paying for court filing fees and court document production costs (copies and binding) for court and tribunal interventions on civil liberties issues.
As we are an entirely volunteer-run organization with a very small budget, we do depend on donations to continue our work, and appreciate any contribution you can make.
Donations can be made in two ways:
1) Through PayPal, by clicking the “Donate” button in the top-right corner of http://ocla.ca; or
2) By sending a cheque to “Ontario Civil Liberties Association” to our mailing address:
Ontario Civil Liberties Association
170 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 603
Canada K1P 5V5
The OCLA is not affiliated with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) or the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). All three associations are separate and distinct.
Thank you for your support and all the best for the New Year!