Toronto: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) has been granted intervenor status in a Supreme Court of Canada appeal dealing with freedom of expression, Ward v Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.
The case involves a Quebec comedian, Mike Ward, who was fined by the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The Commission concluded that jokes made by Mike Ward about Jeremy Gabriel, a boy who lives with a disability, were discriminatory and violated the dignity of Mr Gabriel. Mike Ward was ordered to pay $42,000 to Mr Gabriel and his mother.
“This case is not about whether the jokes made by Mr. Ward were funny or if they were cruel. It is about whether or not this is a question that can be answered by the government. It is not. Empowering the government to censor comedy through heavy fines is an unacceptable curtailment of freedom of expression,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn. “We are intervening in this case to ensure that the court takes a full view of the right to freedom of expression, one of our most fundamental rights.”
The case is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in February, 2021. The CCF will be represented by Annamaria Enenajor and Stephanie DiGiuseppe.