Open letter to Mayor Savage and HRM Councillors against evictions of encampments -September 2, 2020

From: Wayne MacKay, Vince Calderhead, Claire McNeil, Katrin MacPhee, Mark Culligan, Mitch Broughton, Andrea MacNevin, Asaf Rashid Human rights lawyers and advocates, Halifax, Nova Scotia We are writing this open letter in the wake of the City’s forced eviction and clearance of the encampments of a large number of people who are homeless and, more recently, the Halifax City Council’s decision to suspend the police response to the lack of affordable housing in this City. At the same time, the […]

Silencing Palestinian solidarity – there was no lawful authority for this

On Saturday, May 15, a Free Palestine caravan rally (people in their cars) was held in the south end of k’jipuktuk /Halifax to support Palestinian people in their struggle against the violence they are facing by the state of Israel. Meanwhile, on the Citadel Hill park in Halifax and other parts of Nova Scotia, there was another group, Freedom Nova Scotia (FNS), who were gathering to oppose public health restrictions and vaccinations, All told, there were 17 tickets issued to […]

Eviction moratorium must be put in place due to Nova Scotia lockdown

Dear Hon Iain Rankin,   As the lockdown comes into place, it is essential that everyone has a place to stay.  This necessitates another moratorium on evictions. It is unsafe and against the interests of protecting public health to have anyone be rendered homeless during the heightened state of emergency as of the most recent public health order:   Furthermore, failure to put in place a moratorium against evictions at this time should be seen as a violation of […]

Proposed new removal “fees” are really fines and is deportation now punishment?

On January 5, 2021, the Canada border Services Agency publicized that they would be drastically increasing the so-called fees charged to those deported from the country.  Anyone deported would owe $3,250, regardless of how far they are actually travelling. Those who were escorted out of the country would be charged a blink-worthy $10,900.  Those who were detained in immigration detention would be charged $1,300.  Currently, Canada charges $750 for those deported to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon […]

If police delay roadside screening, you are wrongly detained

On November 24, 2020, Judge Dianne L. McGrath of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia made an important decision in a DUI case which further supports liberty and protection against arbitrary searches under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In the case, Devyn Garland was found not guilty of failing to provide a breath sample.  The case was really about this principle:  if you are stopped by police for a roadside impairment test, they have to do the test […]

Rao should never have been charged: screening out racial profiling

Santina Rao finally had her charges of assault of a peace officer, resisting arrest and causing a disturbance dropped on July 7, 2020. Finally. This happened six months after she was racially profiled by Walmart security, falsely accused of shoplifting, then violently arrested by Halifax Regional Police after they interrogated her for her identification and other information, all in front of her two young children.

Disarming the police to save lives

Tens of thousands of people have hit the streets across the county in response to the horrific choking death of George Floyd by the knee of Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, Toronto police involvement in the death of Black-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski and so many other racialized people who have been the victim of disproportionate killing by police.  There is a strong push for systemic change and calls to defund and disarm the police and to give the money to […]

Evictions during pandemic should be seen as forced and unlawful

The impending end to the provincial moratorium on residential evictions of those with incomes affected by COVID-19 is coming on June 30, placing many tenants on the edge.  More broadly, all residential evictions during the pandemic are problematic as everyone needs a place to “stay the blazes home”.  Any evictions at this time should be considered forced evictions, and violations of the right to housing under international law pursuant to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), […]

COVID-19 Provincial and municipal park ban in Nova Scotia unjustifiably treads on liberty rights

Public parks are essential public spaces.  In ordinary times, they are places where people gather, play with kids, walk and play with dogs, play games with friends and strangers in the community, run, bike and express themselves.  They are crucial spaces for community cohesion.  But these are not ordinary times.  People cannot gather in groups of more than five, and cannot come closer than two metres to each other.  Some people are not allowed out at all due to self-isolation […]

Suspended evictions and income supports fail to address vulnerability of working people

Before COVID, there was already an affordable housing crisis, poor wages relative to the costs of living and multitudes of working people with no savings and a single paycheque or less from living on the streets.  Government supports during the pandemic fall far short and without action, there will be major crisis of housing insecurity and homelessness. Housing is not currently a right protected under any provincial or national law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  What the […]