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Protest held outside Chatham-Kent medical officer of health’s home

Chatham, Ont. -

A group of people gathered outside the private residence of Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health Tuesday evening to protest enhanced COVID-19 restrictions coming into effect this week.

The event was streamed live on social media by former local PPC candidate Liz Vallee, who posted a video on her Facebook page saying Dr. David Colby had been served with “liability papers.”

“I don’t want to show up at people’s houses and protest but you know, enough’s enough already,” Vallee is heard saying in the video.

When contacted by CTV News, Vallee said she was only there to show support to the group, and did not know the details of the paperwork presented to Colby.

“I suspect what’s happening here is they’re alleging these new restrictions are violating charter rights and it’s a hopeless lawsuit,” employment lawyer Howard Levitt said.

He said situations like these are often frivolous.

“With what cases we’ve had across the country, safety trumps privacy rights and association rights every single time,” Levitt said.

But one Chatham lawyer thinks otherwise, saying the paperwork could have some teeth.

Lawyer Steve Pickard said he doesn’t represent any of the protesters, but thinks Colby didn’t have the authority to regulate private dwellings when he renewed capacity limits.

Pickard wonders if the paperwork was a superior court order application to quash Colby’s new order, or a request that the board of health hold a hearing.

“Neither of those courses of action I believe would remove the effect immediately of his order but it would be retroactively invalid if it was found to be faulty,” he said.

Chatham-Kent police confirm officers responded to a group of demonstrators in Chatham last night. Constable Renee Cowell says everyone was peaceful upon police arrival and no one was arrested or charged.

Chatham-Kent Public Health and Dr. David Colby refrained from making comment on Wednesday, but said it will be addressed in their weekly media briefing Thursday.

Levitt adds to think twice before filing liability papers or any kind of law suit.

“Whoever’s name is attached to that statement of claim is in danger of having to pay costs even if its dismissed,” he said. “The cost could be $50 - $100,000 that they’ll be personally liable to pay.” Top Stories

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