Right to Prove: Invalid Regulations Still in effect in Quebec

The elements in question can still be found in the official version of the Peace and Good Order Regulations, described as: er mai 2022″,”text”:”à jour au 1er mai 2022″}}”>updated to 1er May 2022 on the city’s online portal.

The article in question, 19.2, states that the prohibits any person from holding or participating in an illegal demonstration on public property;† According to paragraphs 1 and 2, a meeting is considered illegal if the organizers do not indicate in advance the route of the demonstration or if it is not respected.

Several protesters were arrested by SPVQ police officers during Maple Spring, the scene of many demonstrations on the streets of the capital.

Photo: Radio Canada

These measures came into effect on June 20, 2012 in response to the numerous Maple Spring demonstrations in Quebec City. They therefore offered police officers from the Service de Police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ) new tools to monitor rallies, which resulted in several arrests.

However, the provisions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in October 2019. The county’s highest court ruled in favor of a protester who had been arrested and fined under 19.2.

The passages deemed unconstitutional have not been repealed by the city since then.

Limitation and confusion

For the League of Rights and Freedoms (LDL), the enforcement of these measures in the regulations is a problem for the right to demonstrate, despite the judgment. It leads to situations where people don’t really know which foot to dance onargues Maxim Fortin, coordinator at the LDLQuebec section.

He regrets to see that groups are currently subject to regulatory measures that no longer apply by, for example, giving up their travel schedule. safe et se plier à un règlement qui a été invalidé”,”text”:”Certains groupes préfèrent jouer safe et se plier à un règlement qui a été invalidé”}}”>Some bands prefer to play safe and comply with a regulation that has been declared invalidhe says, concerned that this practice will become a standard in itself

In a letter addressed to Mayor Bruno Marchand at the end of April, Mr. Fortin emphasizes that these traces of the past still have influence. He sees a possible dissuasive effect for groups or citizens who want to mobilize.

Maxim Fortin, Coordinator of the League of Rights and Freedoms of Quebec

Maxim Fortin, coordinator of the Ligue des droits et libertés de Québec, recently challenged Mayor Bruno Marchand to lift 19.2 of the Peace and Good Order Ordinance.

Photo: Radio Canada

Mr. Fortin recalls that the ordinance provides for fines ranging from $150 to $1,000. According to him, the withdrawal of this provision is essential to demonstrate the full exercise of the right to

It is important that municipal ordinances are updated in response to court decisions, so that citizens are well aware of the applicable regulations and are not prevented from fully exercising their rights.he wrote to the mayor of Quebec.

The LDL hope for a quick response from elected officials.

As of June 20, Article 19.2 will be 10 years old, we don’t want it to reach this venerable age.

A quote from Maxim Fortin, Coordinator, League of Rights and Freedoms of Quebec

In other words, he gave Marchand’s board less than a month to submit the repeal of the ordinance to city council.

If the situation may not seem urgent at the moment, the human rights activist invites us not to wait for the civil strife to gain momentum.

There is little strife and little tension in battle [actuellement]he said. So that the groups can say to themselves: “we might as well put safety above principles”. But very quickly we are overtaken by this logic.

Excessive pressure

Vania Wright-Larin, coordinator of the Regroupement d’éducation Populaire en action communautaire de Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches (RÉPAC 03-12), says he also sees the influence of 19.2 on the ground. There is a vagueness that will put a brake on the organization of demonstrations for many groupshe is afraid of.

If his organization is used to mobilizations and taking up public space to be heard, it is by no means certain that the majority of the organizations, or even ordinary citizens, are aware of the court’s ruling.

Quebec Police Department riot police are on the scene.

According to RÉPAC 03-12, the fear of police intervention may be enough to discourage mobilization.

Photo: Radio Canada / Olivier Lemieux

According to him, the fact that 19.2 is still visible without specific mention in the Peace and Good Order Regulation can have a chilling effect. According to him, organizers of a possible demonstration could feel pressure to be responsible for everyone who participates in a protest and thus avoid the risk.

In retrospect, Mr. Wright-Larin denounces the creation of regulations that are perceived as: short term solutions but which had never been tested by the courts ten years ago. He regrets that after arrests, legal challenges were required to gain profits to protect the right to demonstrate.

Like Maxim Fortin, he hopes for a quick correction of the regulations.

Legal update

For its part, the City of Quebec insists that the provisions of its regulation declared invalid in 2019 have not been applied by the police since the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The police will continue to supervise the demonstrations to ensure peace and order, in collaboration with the organizers and the various partners.added David O’Brien, spokesperson for the City of Quebec.

The latter casually confirms that a reflection has been initiated within the municipal council to revise the peace and order regulation. The city, he said, 2022″,”text”:”prévoit l’ajuster et le soumettre au conseil municipal d’ici la fin2022″}}”>plans to adapt it and submit it to the city council at the end of 2022

The Mayor of Quebec wishes to obtain the decrees necessary for the continuation of the tram project

Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand

Photo: Radio Canada / Olivier Bouchard

The same story was obtained at the town hall. Since the verdict, the police have never committed any more crimesemphasizes Thomas Gaudreault, Bruno Marchand’s press officer.

If the company believes that the rights to protest are fundamental to a healthy democracyhe says for the time being that he trusts the administrative process that has been initiated by the municipality. Legal services are investigating the matter for possible adjustments soon.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has experienced a similar situation with an ordinance of the same nature passed in the spring of 2012 by the administration of Denis Coderre. Regulation P-6, which provided for an obligation to provide an itinerary, was declared invalid in court in 2016.

Valérie Plante officially took him out in November 2019, a few weeks after the Quebec rules were ruled.

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