James Kitchen​

James Kitchen, a lawyer, talked about “vaccine” mandates in universities and colleges in Canada, and also concentrated on this in his work for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Before we had mandates, he explained, we had strong recommendations—which by September, latest by November, became mandates, with threats of expulsion for non-compliant students. He could only try to help some students (with exemptions, mostly religious ones), in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. There was incredible divergence on mandates across the country.

Universities blatantly rejected their human rights obligations with their near-blanket denials of requests for exemptions. Some students took on significant legal costs and were forced into endless games with university administrations. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for why some applications for exemptions were granted, others were not, why some won on appeal. Kitchen explained because there was no rule of law, there was just power, just arbitrariness.

Kitchen did not push any cases for exemption based on natural immunity, on having acquired immunity due to infection. He was instead forced to select, as a sole basis, a legally protected characteristic. There needs to be more government oversight of universities, he answered in a response to a question—perhaps, he was doubtful on this point, given his opposition to government intervention—which could result in reduced arbitrariness. He cited provincial governments that have stepped in to protect free speech on campuses, as an example. Can students take any legal action to recover costs they incurred for seeking legal representation? Unlikely, he thought, given that the courts have taken the side of governments on almost all Covid cases. Human rights commissions have taken a “woke” stance against students who refuse “vaccination”.

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