Chief Justice Paul Crampton rejected the arguments made by lawyers for Rebel News; the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms; and Jeffrey Rath, who independently represents another applicant, about the constitutionality of forcibly quarantining returning international travellers to stop the spread of COVID. Crampton, in his June 18 decision, called the three-day sentences for the crime of international travel “reasonable.”
Under current travel restrictions, repatriating Canadians must produce a negative COVID test to board an inbound flight. These Canadians are then taken into an airport incarceration program for three days once they land on Canadian soil. Travellers are released from the quarantine facilities only after receiving a negative test result for a COVID test conducted upon arrival at the airport. Costs for the 72 hour stays in the COVID hotel jails can reach as high as $2,000 per traveller.
Travellers with negative COVID tests must then proceed to their home or another “suitable” place to quarantine for the full 14 days. Those who refuse airport testing or quarantine in the hotels are subject to escalating fines of up to $5,000, depending on point of entry and the discretion of the screening officer — a fact which makes the incarceration program arbitrary and senseless. Follow the science, unless you land in Calgary where they stopped fining people, or if you get a public health cop at the gate who likes your face.
However, adding insult to injury, travellers presenting at a point of entry with symptoms of COVID may skip the hotel incarceration and go directly to their homes to quarantine. The result is that only healthy people end up being subject to the hotel incarceration program, and the sick are able to skip it and the large financial hit it brings.
The jails themselves have been sites of several COVID outbreaks amongst the staff, that healthy travellers were then exposed to. There is at least one instance of an alleged sexual assault happening in the hotel jails, and the poor conditions and food have been the subject of much criticism.
Former Rebel News journalist Keean Bexte was taken into a Calgary hotel doubling as a COVID jail after he returned from assignment in Florida, which prompted our legal challenge. Bexte's affidavit detailed the numerous additional contacts — and thus points of COVID transmission — he was exposed to at the COVID jail that he would not have been exposed to if he were simply allowed to go directly to his home in his personal vehicle from the Calgary airport.
Bexte documented his ordeal inside the COVID jail at www.NoCOVIDJails.com.
Justice Crampton's decision cannot stand. It's already being used against other Canadians to limit their freedoms.
That decision — that quarantining strictly healthy people against their will is reasonable — was recently cited when denying another challenge of the COVID jail system. That challenge, brought by the Canadian Constitution Foundation, was shot down, and Crampton's decision against us was used to justify it.
Rebel News has already spent nearly $200,000 fighting the COVID jail system, for the Charter rights of innocent, healthy Canadians to come home or leave without being taken into dangerous facilities against their wishes and being charged ridiculous fees for it. The challenge of this wrongheaded and dangerous decision has already had chilling ramifications for the freedoms of Canadians and those trying to fight for them.
The appeal could cost as much as $70,000, but we think fighting for the rights of 34 million Canadians to travel as they wish without being sent to jail for three days is worth it.
Can you help us? Please donate today at www.NoCOVIDJails.com.
Read our appeal: