ARPA’s Director of Law and Policy, André Schutten, says there are big problems with the legislation. “To quote Christie Blatchford from the National Post, who is herself pro-choice, the State is using an ‘elephant gun’ to kill a flea.” Schutten says just because there have been a few complaints about protestors outside one clinic in Ottawa, it’s “ludicrous” for the government to impose a total ban on all clinics across the province. He says the proposed law would be a “total infringement” on freedom of expression, amounting to “total overkill.”
There’s already a law like this in place in BC, which has been upheld by the Court of Appeal in that province, but the issue has never actually been taken to the Supreme Court of Canada.
ARPA lawyer John Sikkema is also researching another issue around this. The argument could be made, Schutten says, that the province has no jurisdiction to make such a law; that “the infringement of expression in this way is something that only the federal government could pass.” Sikkema is researching that issue over the summer, and hopes to publish on the issue in a legal journal later this year. The law will likely be introduced in the fall sitting of the Ontario legislature.