CJFE condemns free speech limits imposed on activist
Hundert was arrested at his home on June 26, and charged with three counts of conspiracy relating to G20 activities. He was released three weeks later on $100,000 bail and on conditions that included not participating in any public demonstrations.
He was rearrested on September 17 after taking part in two university panel discussions, one at Ryerson University and one for the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. He was released earlier this week with expanded bail conditions which include a prohibition on participating in demonstrations; this encompasses planning, participating in, or attending any public event that expresses views on a political issue. Hundert has also been forbidden to post anything to the World Wide Web or internet directly or indirectly, a condition which could be interpreted as a restriction not to speak to the media.
Noted Osgoode Hall Law professor Alan Young is quoted by the Toronto Star as saying, "It's basically putting a gag order on a citizen of Canada, when it's not clear that the gag order is at all necessary to protect public order. People have to be able to air grievances, and the media is a primary tool in which people can air grievances effectively." In the same article, Hundert's lawyer, John Norris (who is also a member of CJFE's Board of Directors) says, "It's staggering in its breadth. I've never heard of anything as broad as that."
"CJFE believes that Hundert's free expression rights, which are guaranteed under Section 2b of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have been violated by these bail conditions," stated CJFE President Arnold Amber. "The free expression violations that took place at the G20 are a huge black mark on Canada's human rights record. But, it's clear that we haven't learned that lesson yet, instead we're seeing yet more violations added on."
CJFE is hopeful that these oppressive bail conditions will be struck down when the appeal is heard in Superior Court starting October 20.