Ontario Justice David Brown has ruled that the City of Toronto is within its right to end an Occupy Toronto demonstration of James Park. In his ruling the Justice said that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not permit protesters to take over public space and exclude the the public from enjoying the use of that space.
“The Charter does not permit the protesters to take over public space without asking, exclude the rest of the public from enjoying their traditional use of that space, and then contend that they are under no obligation to leave. By taking that position and by occupying the Park the protesters are breaking the law. Such civil disobedience attracts consequences. In this case the civic authority which represents the Toronto community now seeks to enforce the law. It wishes to re-open the park to the rest of the city to enjoy as was done before. That is what the City sought to do by serving the Trespass Notice last week. … I conclude that the Trespass Notice is constitutionally valid. The City may enforce it. I dismiss the application.” — Justice David Brown’s ruling
Canada’s National Post reported that city manager Joe Panchetti said the the municipality wanted to move quickly and act in daylight before the deadline. Link of Mayor Fords reply when he was pressed to state his intentions
Communities across Canada are asking the occupiers to leave. In most cases occupiers have dug in and refused to leave. In most cases concerns for safety have been quoted. On woman in Vancouver has died from a drug overdose. In Edmonton temperatures have dipped well below freezing and the city was concerned for the safety of occupiers in tents, including the dangers of starting a fire. The occupation in Edmonton is also on private property and the company owning the property has been more than patient. Patience however eventually runs out. To that end the company has said that they will ask for police action, if protesters don’t leave on their own.
The protesters have made their point and no one is stopping them from protesting, it is the camping that is the concern. The ruling in Ontario today should give other Canadian cities the determination to end the occupations.