When the town of Port Colborne ordered a resident identified only as “Melissa” to remove a “F*CK TRUDEAU” flag from her home in November 2021, she fought back.
Every Canadian – even in this Charter-free era of COVID – has the right to express their political views. That right is not limited to speech that we find acceptable nor is it confined to government-approved speech.
This right must apply (shock of shock) to speech that deeply offends us too.
Such was the case of Melissa’s “F*CK TRUDEAU” flag.
Her blunt thoughts about Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister deeply offended some of her fellow Canadians.
Those easily offended weenies complained to the bylaw officer for Port Colborne who, in turn, issued an order for Melissa to remove the flag for violating a bylaw that states “exterior walls of a dwelling and their components shall be free of unauthorized signs, painted slogans, graffiti and similar defacements.”
While we are all entitled to “be offended” by language we disapprove of, our perceived offence is not sufficient grounds to silence another person’s political expression.
“Like every citizen of Canada, Melissa has a Charter-protected right to express her political views. She is flying a flag on her own property, expressing a political sentiment that frankly is not even that uncommon. If her flag bothers some people at Port Colborne city hall, I suggest they drive down a different street instead of trying to tell Melissa what she can and cannot say,” said CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn.
Breitbart’s Chris Tomlinson mocked Port Colborne’s censorious edict on Twitter.
“You cannot insult our tyrants. They can take your job, your home, ban you from going outside but you can never hurt their feelings.”
The Canadian Constitution Foundation worked with counsel and Melissa to challenge the town’s edict.
As bullies so often do when mere citizens push back, Port Colborne rescinded the unconstitutional order. (see PDF)
With the assistance of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, she forced the the town to rescinded their unconstitutional order. That victory was announced by the CCF on January 13th.
“The city of Port Colborne was wrong to ever issue this order, which violated Melissa’s right to freedom of expression. We are pleased that the city has acquiesced under threat of legal action, but no Canadian should ever need to threaten to go to court in order to exercise the rights they are guaranteed under our constitution,” said CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn.
“We hope that Melissa’s situation will serve as an example to other towns and cities, and that citizens across Canada will remain free to express their political views without interference from municipal bureaucrats,” Van Geyn said.
“I am so happy that the city of Port Colborne has backed own on their attempts to silence me. I’m proud to continue to be able to express my political views, which is my right as a Canadian. The city should never should have tried to stop me, and I am grateful to the Canadian Constitution Foundation for helping me fight back. Thank you so much,” said Melissa.
“We are pleased that the city has acquiesced under threat of legal action, but no Canadian should ever need to threaten to go to court in order to exercise the rights they are guaranteed under our constitution,” – @cvangeyn
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