A group of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers have filed an $11 million lawsuit against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam among others for their response to the coronavirus.
As first reported by the CBC, the suit, spearheaded by the anti-vaccination group Vaccine Choice Canada, claims the pandemic regulations violate Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, such as the right of association and the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
In a press release, Ted Kuntz, the president of Vaccine Choice Canada, called the pandemic “exaggerated and dishonest,” used to “justify the systematic violation of the rights and freedoms that form the basis of our society.”
He said because of the regulations, “millions of citizens have been indiscriminately restricted to their homes,” “children are no longer being appropriately educated and socialized,” and “Parliament and the courts have been effectively shut down.”
The lawsuit has a long list of defendants. Besides Trudeau and Canada’s top doctor, it also includes Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster.
Statements of defence have yet to be filed.
The lawsuit questions the legitimacy of both the pandemic and the response to it.
”Actions and decrees issued by Trudeau, Ford, Tory, and other public officials were done, in abuse and excess of their offices, knowingly to propagate a groundless and falsely declared 'pandemic,'" says the statement of claim. "The 'pandemic' is false, and the measures phony, designed and implemented for improper and ulterior purposes, at the behest of the WHO, controlled and directed by billionaire, corporate oligarchs.”
Rocco Galati, the plaintiffs' lawyer, recently compared New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic to Nazi Germany.
In the publicly available version of the lawsuit, a portion of the plaintiff section is redacted. Galati tweeted previously this was to “protect (plaintiffs) from harassment.” The CBC received an unredacted version of the lawsuit and verified it.
Some of the claims include a mother and daughter who were not allowed into a grocery store; a woman who was told she couldn't use the washroom at a roadside gas station but did so anyway; a Toronto real estate agent who alleges COVID-19 regulations made her wait for an hour and a half for an elevator and is driving down home and condo prices in the city; and a disgraced former University of Ottawa professor who was upset that the CBC wouldn’t have him on TV to discuss his contrarian views on the pandemic.
The lawsuit also touches upon the very real and troubling mental health impacts of the pandemic. The CBC reports that the unredacted version contains an account of a woman who cannot wear a mask because one was held over her during a sexual assault, and a 23-year-old autistic man with limited emotional understanding who cannot understand the pandemic nor comply with it.
Jacob Shelley, an assistant professor of health law and ethics at Western University in London, told the CBC that there are “lucid, valid, potential issues that maybe are worth being adjudicated before the court."
But the majority of salient points worth discussing are lost in a deluge of conspiratorial content.
The 190-page statement of claim also includes a “COVID-19 timeline” heavily focused on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a favourite target of anti-vaxxers because of the foundation's focus on vaccine development. The suit also mentions the Event 201 conspiracy, which implies the foundation planned the pandemic, as well as "smart phone-readable nanocrystals called 'quantum dots,' embedded in the skin using microneedles” that would work as a “vaccine chip.” The lawsuit does not explain the connection to the coronavirus other than a vague reference to contact tracing apps.
The suit also claims that a 2010 report by the Rockefeller Foundation studied a future pandemic scenario “where an unknown virus escapes Wuhan, China, and a 'hypothetical' scenario on what the appropriate response would be,” and that this “scripted” scenario is what has unfolded during the “COVID-19 so-called ‘pandemic.’”
The lawsuit also brings up 5G technology, saying that on March 26, Microsoft announced it was acquiring "Affirmed Networks" focused on 5G and "edge" computing. It gives no explanation as to how this connects to the coronavirus. 5G conspiracies have exploded during the pandemic, with people believing that signals emitted from 5G towers cause the virus. 5G towers have been burned down as a result. A spur or arsons of 5G towers in Quebec led to a former model and failed rapper being arrested and charged.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.