Activists in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal challenge standing injunctions

Interim staff

It did not take long for the fallout from a controversial B.C. ruling to be felt across the country.

In February, Justice E.J. Cronin struck down B.C. legislation which placed a bubble-zone around, abortuaries, barring pro-lifers from picketing, counseling or leafleting.

Following this decision, pro-life activist Linda Gibbons challenged a similar injunction in Toronto as did Michael O’Malley in Calgary, Michel Tissot in Montreal and Gerard Liston in Edmonton. Linda Gibbons is currently in jail awaiting an April 18 court date.

Meanwhile in Calgary, Michael O’Malley has already had his day in court. The long-time activist had been arrested and charged with purposeful breach of a civil injunction which set up a buffer zone around the city’s Kensington (abortion) Clinic.

Justice Blair Mason found him guilty and, while giving no sentence, ordered him to pay a $350 fine plus the abortuary’s court cost. O’Malley has refused to pay and risks receiving a sentence for contempt of court.

O’Malley, who went without a lawyer for the trial, argued that the injunction around the Kensington Clinic denied him religious and free speech rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was the same defence lawyers in B.C. had used to overturn the injunction in that province.

However, Judge Blair Mason threw out O’Malleys Charter arguments, saying that the hearing was intended to determine whether he had violated the 1991 injunction, not whether the injunction itself was valid.

Despite Mason’s ruling, the injunction still appears to be up for review. After the judgment Hermina Dykxhoorn, Concerned for Life, informed The Interim that her group still plans to go ahead and challenge the injunction.

In Montreal, Michel Tissot is waiting for a judge’s ruling on his violation of that injunction while in Edmonton, long-time activist Gerard Liston was found in contempt of court for violating a similar injunction at the Morgentaler (abortion) Clinic but was given neither a fine nor jail time.