roman baber

Ontario MPP Roman Baber is suing the government over lockdown restrictions

A Toronto MPP and laywer who was booted from the PC Caucus in January for pushing anti-lockdown sentiments is now suing the province for the restrictions it has put upon residents amid the health crisis.

"The risk of outdoor transmission is negligible, but the government enacted heavy-handed regulations that deny Ontarians their fundamental freedoms," the York Centre politican said on Twitter Thursday after launching litigation with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

"I am suing the attorney general of Ontario for our right to protest, pray and gather outdoors."

Like some other groups have argued about various prohibitions and measures imposed on the public over the past year in an effort to lessen the spread of the virus, Baber is claiming that the government has been "over-intrusive" and has infringed upon our rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter.

As stated in a GoFundMe launched by non-profit organization Lift the Lockdown, which is on board with Baber's legal action, the goal is to strike down certain components of the Reopening Ontario Act — the document that outlines the province's rights to enforce things such as gathering limits and business closures in the interest of public health.

"This is the first of what we hope to be a number of legal challenges brought by or participated in by Lift The Lockdown," the organization continues in its plea for money to cover legal expenses, which has raised $4,300 of a whopping $500,000 goal in one day.

Doug Ford called Baber "irresponsible" earlier this year and said that he was spreading misinformation about COVID-19, thus putting people at risk after the MPP shared an open letter he wrote to the Premier on social media.

"The lockdown isn't working. It's causing an avalanche of suicides, overdoses, bankruptcies, divorces and takes an immense toll on our children," Baber said before delving into data points to back up his stance, some of them admittedly valid.

"Lockdowns are deadlier than COVID... Look at the data — the virus is real but the crisis is mostly in [long-term care]. Let's focus on LTC & hospital capacity, but ending the Lockdown is best for our health," he tweeted on Jan. 15 along with the two-page message to Ford.

Select businesses such as gyms in Toronto and Peel are now in their 23rd week of closures, while bars and restaurants haven't had indoor dining in just as long.

Patios and other types of business operations have been shuttered since Nov. 23, while "non-essential" retailers were finally permitted to open at 25 per cent capacity in the two regions on March 8 after more than 100 days of forced closure.

Though we're on track to potentially progress from the grey to the red zone of the province's colour-coded reopening framework by Monday, Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa has indicated her opposition to any further reopening.

Instead, we may be remaining in grey for at least two weeks longer with some amendments, including the reopening of patios — that is, unless Premier Doug Ford heeds his COVID-19 Advisory Table's recommendation to plunge the Golden Horseshoe into an acute three-week lockdown.

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