[Hpn] Safe Streets Act UNCONSTITUTIONAL says Canadian Civil Liberties Association (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 7 Jul 2001 14:36:29 -0700 (PDT)

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/010703/5042982.html FWD Ottawa Citizen - Tuesday 3 July 2001 GROUPS FIGHT TO WIPE OUT SQUEEGEE LAW SAFE STREETS ACT VIOLATES CONSITTUTION, COMPLAINANTS ALLEGE Shannon Kari of The Ottawa Citizen TORONTO -- A longstanding constitutional challenge to Ontario's anti-squeegee law is scheduled to resume today with final submissions by groups seeking to have the legislation struck down. Lawyers for 13 people who have been charged under the province's Safe Streets Act are asking Judge William Babe of the Ontario Court of Justice to throw out the charges. Lawyers for the accused, as well as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law, have argued that the act is unconstitutional. They say it violates a number of sections of the Charter of Rights, including "freedom of expression" and "security of the person" provisions. As well, potential jail terms in the legislation are outside the jurisdiction of the provincial government, argued the groups opposed to the law. The Safe Streets Act was enacted in December 1999, by the Mike Harris Conservative government, in response to complaints about squeegee activities at busy city intersections. The act makes it illegal to solicit in an "aggressive manner" from anyone who is in a vehicle, at an automated teller machine, a bus or taxi stop, or getting in or out of a car in a parking lot. It is also a provincial offence to dispose of a used condom, needle or broken glass in a public place. The maximum fine under the act is $500 for a first offence. For subsequent convictions, the maximum penalty is six months in jail. A number of anti-poverty groups have spoken out against the legislation. But other organizations, such as the Canadian Automobile Association, praised the measures. In January, Toronto lawyer Peter Rosenthal indicated he would challenge the Safe Streets Act on constitutional grounds. He said the act, "is intended to criminalize those everyday activities homeless and poor people engage in as a means of survival." At a court hearing that month, the Crown announced that it had dropped the charges against 30 of the 43 people who were issued tickets by Toronto police, because there was little chance of conviction. Legal arguments were delayed until February. Judge Babe originally indicated he would rule on the case in April, but postponed that decision until June 21. The judge put off his decision again that day and asked lawyers for submissions as to whether he can rule on the entire act or only the sections under which charges have been laid. Still, it is not expected that Judge Babe's eventual ruling will end the court challenge. Even if he dismisses the charges on constitutional grounds, the judge does not have the authority to strike down the legislation. So his ruling is likely to be appealed to the province's Superior Court of Justice. END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************