As momentum increases in the No More Lockdowns movement, local politicians are not shying away from the real possibility that fighting for what they believe in could mean jail time.
Derek Sloan, MP for Hastings—Lennox and Addington, was served a summons on Friday, Apr. 30, 2021 regarding an indoor event at the Church of God that took place in Alymer, Ont. in late April. The event exceeded current indoor gathering regulations, and was made up of unmasked attendees, most of whom were not social distancing. Current regulations state no more than 10 people can be within a religious venue. Sloan posted his summons to Twitter.
MPP Randy Hillier, representative for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, also received a summons for the event in Alymer, as well as for two other instances at Queen’s Park and in Peterborough respectively.
According to the Reopening Ontario Act, a person convicted could be subject “to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year.” The Act can be read in its entirety here. However, even with those charges looming above their heads, Hillier, Sloan and their supporters have continued to plan and execute No More Lockdown rallies across southern Ontario. No More Lockdowns Canada has an updated list of upcoming event rallies on its website.
A number of rallies took place over the weekend of Saturday, May 8 and Sunday May 9, 2021 across Ontario, ranging in size from a few hundred to a few thousand unmasked participants. According to the No More Lockdowns Canada Facebook page, a Canada-wide “everyone together” rally “for freedom” is planned for Queen’s Park on Saturday, May 15, 2021, with a number of locals from the Kingston and Napanee area planning to attend and support this event.
No More Lockdowns Napanee organizer, Edward Embury, posted that an event is being planned for Napanee soon, but a date and location has not yet been set. Embury and his wife, Martha, are both avid Sloan supporters.
The Napanee Facebook page has 51 members. Randy Hillier is an administrator on the page.
According to a No More Lockdowns Canada Facebook group, located here, the objective is to “put an end to the provincial lockdowns. Along with seeing all businesses open… to educate the public on the dangers and ineffectiveness of mask wearing.”
Though all politicians who rally or protest face some level of consequence, Sloan in particular is held to an even higher standard due to his legal career.
Sloan is a member of the Law Society of Ontario. He is subject to the integrity provisions of LSO rules of professional conduct even in his private life. Repeat defiance of the Reopening Ontario Act, a law designed to protect the public, could attract the attention of LSO and affect his license as a lawyer.
“Public confidence in the administration of justice and in the legal profession may be eroded by a lawyer’s irresponsible conduct. Accordingly, a lawyer’s conduct should reflect favourably on the legal profession, inspire the confidence, respect and trust of clients and of the community, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” according to LSO Chapter 2, Section 2.1 – Integrity.
“A lawyer has a duty to carry on the practice of law and discharge all responsibilities to clients, tribunals, the public and other members of the profession honourably and with integrity,” it reads. “Integrity is the fundamental quality of any person who seeks to practise as a member of the legal profession… If integrity is lacking, the lawyer’s usefulness to the client and reputation within the profession will be destroyed, regardless of how competent the lawyer may be,” LSO continues.
Additionally, the LSO states that “A lawyer has special responsibilities by virtue of the privileges afforded the legal profession… including a special responsibility to recognize the diversity of the Ontario community, to protect the dignity of individuals, and to respect human rights laws in force in Ontario.”
Lawyers are also required to abide by the “Good character requirement” 2006, c. 21, Sched. C, s. 23 (1), as well as the Prohibited Conduct 2006, c. 21, Sched. C, s. 29. Guidelines, stating that “a licensee shall not engage in professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming a licensee.” According to the LSO, if these regulations are not followed “the Law Society may be justified in taking disciplinary action,” which could include a license suspension, permitting a licensee to surrender his/her license, or revoking of the license. A fine of up to $100,000 may also be issued.
The following is a gallery of posts from Sloan and No More Lockdowns Canada and Napanee groups.