After waiting more than a year to challenge the laughably named Reopening Ontario Act, Adamson Barbecue owner Adam Skelly will finally have his day in court. We recently dropped by his closed-down Leaside restaurant location to interview Skelly and his advisor, Chris Weisdorf.
Says Skelly: “My lawsuit has very little to do with my restaurant. It is a constitutional question of the Reopening Ontario Act, and the evidence — or lack thereof used to justify it. The ruling of this case will affect everyone living in Ontario, and will set precedent for legal challenges across the country.”
Skelly had his Etobicoke restaurant forcibly shuttered last November when he took a defiant stand against the city by — shockers! — opening the eatery’s dining room.
Toronto Mayor John Tory and Toronto’s medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, did not take kindly to this act of food service defiance, which supporters dubbed, “The Great Canadian Barbecue Rebellion.” Tory and de Villa literally sent in all the king’s horses (the Toronto Police Service’s mounted unit) and all the king’s men (dozens of Toronto police officers) to forcibly shutter the Leaside restaurant.
How perversely ironic, given that less than 400 metres away there is a Costco superstore, always jammed to the rafters, and yes, that Costco had a food service department that always had the grill on.
To add insult to injury, the City of Toronto sent Skelly a bill for $187,000 to “recoup its costs to enforce provincial public health regulations.”
(Quick question: when was the last time you heard of the state going after criminals to pay the policing costs associated with their alleged crimes?)
It should be noted that there is much popular support for Skelly’s stance, given that his GoFundMe campaign for the constitutional challenge has raised more than $300,000.
In the days ahead, Skelly and his lawyers will finally be able to tell it to the judge. The question is: will justice prevail?