Jesse Johnson, the owner of Without Papers Pizza, faced his ruling in the courts for refusal to enforce Alberta's vaccine passport. After two years, he's finally been vindicated. All of his charges have now been dropped entirely, thanks to the great work of The Democracy Fund's crowdfunded legal defence, Williamson Law.
We interviewed Jesse and his legal counsel to get their reaction to these results. Despite the win, the question remains: with his restaurant still closed, has justice truly been served?
In today's report, we'll hear from Jesse and his legal counsel. But first, it's essential to understand how he ended up here.
Jesse's battle began in October 2021, as Alberta, and specifically Calgary, introduced vaccine passport bylaw “65M2021” which required restaurants to check the medical records of everyone seeking to dine indoors.
Jesse could not bring himself or his restaurant to discriminate against people, instead living by the premise of welcoming and accepting all customers.
He closed his restaurant in defiance, but continued to provide pizza outside his doors free of charge, for anyone willing to eat. Countless demonstrations ensued, carrying on into the months ahead, where he and his supporters advocated for the lifting of government restrictions like the vaccine passport bylaw.
Ultimately, Jesse was issued multiple tickets amounting to over $10,000. Along with numerous warrants for his arrest, he was stripped of his business and liquor licence, food handling permits — and the dream restaurant he had built for decades on end.
All of this because of his non-compliance with Calgary's vaccine passport bylaw.
But Jesse was willing to risk it all for his beliefs, with hopes the Canadian government would see the errors of its way. He took a stand during the lockdowns, and his defiance stood out amongst a sea of silent supporters and condemnation from vocal minority.
Demonstrations carried on for his restaurant, Without Papers Pizza, into January 2022, at which point Canada would come to a halt as the Freedom Convoy travelled to Ottawa and blockades popped up across the nation, with protesters advocating against the same style of government overreach, like vaccine mandates and lockdowns.
One of these was the Coutts Blockade, which saw former premier Jason Kenney lift Alberta's health restrictions overnight. And so too did Calgary's vaccine passport bylaw, a mere five months after its introduction.
But by then, even though restaurants across the province no longer had to adhere to the discriminatory practices Jesse was standing against, the damage to Without Papers was done. His restaurant was gone, and his trial imminent.
On November 15, the courts finally came to their conclusion. Jesse's charges were dropped in their entirety — thanks to the help of The Democracy Fund's crowdfunded legal defence. Sadly, the Without Papers Pizza restaurant still remains closed.
Those like Jesse faced tickets — and worse — for standing up for Canadian principles and civil liberties. Even with the legal victory, having spent two years in the process of clearing his name of any wrongdoing has served as a punishment in and of itself.
Sadly, he's not alone. Many Canadians unduly suffered because of our governments enforcing vaccine passports. We at Rebel News made a point of covering these important stories, to see our work go to FightVaccinePassports.com.
From day one we've been there covering Jesse's story. Weeks turned into months, with reporting on the ground in Calgary day and night. The only way we're able to do our independent journalism is through your generous donations.
To help us cover the other side of the story, donate at RebelFieldReports.com.