Maxime Bernier part of group convicted of violating Sask. public safety rules
Conviction stems from so-called ‘freedom rally’ in Regina’s Victoria Park in May 2021
The leader of the People's Party of Canada has been convicted of violating Saskatchewan's public safety rules in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his 26-page decision dated May 25, provincial court judge Murray Hinds found Maxime Bernier — a right-wing politician originally from Quebec — and six others guilty in connection with what was advertised as a "freedom rally" in Regina two years ago.
At the time, there was a public health order in effect banning outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people. The order, put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, was later repealed.
Police presented evidence that there were more than 200 people at the protest at the cenotaph in Victoria Park on May 8, 2021 and Bernier was among the promoted speakers.
More than a dozen people were ticketed at the time for attending the event.
- No charter argument to dismiss charges against Maxime Bernier, others who filed legal challenge: Sask. judge
At one point, defence lawyer Elaine Anderson argued her clients' charges were a violation of their charter right to peaceful assembly.
However, Justice Hinds rejected that argument late last year, ruling the public health order "is not unconstitutionally vague nor is it overbroad."