The lockdowns started in March of 2020. Two weeks to flatten the curve they said.
But wow, have we ever been ripped up as a society by this. Not by the virus, not by the disease itself.
That has done damage to our seniors homes. But statistically it has not exceeded the annual flu for people under 60. It just hasn’t. But boy has it pitted us against each other.
But it was a video that convinced me to do something about it, more than just complaining.
It was this video, of a pastor in Calgary named Artur Pawlowski, who for many years has fed the homeless on the streets of the city.
The city always gave him a hassle about it for some reason — the police, and the city’s intolerant mayor, Naheed Nenshi. I don’t know why, maybe because he shamed them, by showing the homelessness there that they’d prefer was kept in the shadows.
Anyways, there was Artur and his small team feeding the cold and hungry, when a bunch of bully police came and literally started pushing them around, and giving them massive tickets — but this time, they used the pandemic as the excuse. Take a look.
I was so mad about that, that we started a project called Fight The Fines, and we set up the website FightTheFines.com, and we decided we were going to crowdfund lawyers to fight egregious cases like this. And Artur was our very first client.
Soon we started hearing about other crazy cases across Canada. Like Walter Matheson in New Brunswick, who got a lockdown fine for literally sitting in his car by himself, in a Tim Hortons parking lot, drinking a coffee.
So we now have over 1,800 clients.
And a couple of months ago, we had a huge breakthrough — we are now working with the CRA charity called The Democracy Fund which gives charitable tax receipts for donations. So unlike donations to Rebel News, which aren’t charitable, donations to fight the fines are charitable, and you’ll get a receipt from TDF.
We’ve also learned a lot about how to manage costs. I mean, 1,800 cases, that’s like a large national law firm. Which, I guess, it is.
We have lawyers in many provinces; and now we have a full-time in-house lawyer, and two full-time paralegals, working directly for fight the fines, helping to coordinate all the clients and all the lawyers.
But even with smart steps like that, and after a year of improving our systems, well, there’s no way around it — 1,800 cases costs a lot of money.
On top of the full-time staff we have, we have to have lawyers in the field, ready to, theoretically, run 1,800 trials.
And some of them are quite complicated, some of them are actually criminal cases.
So we’re approaching the point where we have a question of: is there a limit to the number of clients we can take?
GUEST: Victoria Solomon, our in-house Fight The Fines legal coordinator.
FINALLY: Your messages to me!