Support the Yukon Lawsuit for a return to liberty, civil rights and democracy. A State of Emergency (Cema) is meant to revoke exactly these rights and give the ruling head of the party power without accountability.
COVID-19 laws set ‘dangerous precedent,’ says one Yukoner behind charter challenge
Ross Mercer says he wants hard evidence freedoms had to be suspended to protect Yukoners’ health
One of the Yukoners who has signed onto a charter challenge to the territory’s COVID-19 restrictions says the territory is setting a dangerous precedent.
Seven people have joined the lawsuit saying the government’s emergency measures are beyond its legislative powers and violate Canadians’ rights to mobility and assembly under the Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
Whitehorse area resident Ross Mercer said Thursday the lawsuit isn’t about money for him.
He said the government’s decision June 12 to extend Yukon’s state of emergency for another 90 days without consultation was wrong.
“I think it sets a very dangerous precedent when the government can unilaterally decide for themselves that it’s an emergency situation,” said Mercer.
“Put this act into place and then extend it at their convenience and at their leisure without it being constantly scrutinized, without it being constantly re-evaluated at the legislative level and in the public’s eye as well.”
In Mercer’s view, the restrictions are harming people’s personal lives, ruining businesses and creating a culture of fear.
He said the government needs to show hard evidence that the harm is necessary given that it’s been almost two months since there was a confirmed active case of COVID-19 in Yukon.
“The actual risk to the average person going out is very, very, very low and I think a lot of people are living in more fear than they need to be. And I think that that’s something that needs to be addressed,” Mercer said.
He said the people challenging the government are not advocating putting Yukoners at higher risk or for sacrifices to be made for industry.
“We’re saying let’s actually look at what’s best for society overall,” said Mercer.
Territorial officials have said the measures are the least restrictive possible given the threat to Yukoners’ health, and that they’re constitutional.