Government officials blocked reporters on Twitter, freedom of expression before the Federal Courts

Aboriginal residency in elections, autism also heard this week

Government officials blocked reporters on Twitter, freedom of expression before the Federal Courts
Social media as a public digital space, argued the parties.

Apart from the over 30 immigration cases this week, the Federal Courts tackled several interesting issues. Three of the most consequential topics include government officials blocking reporters on Twitter, Aboriginal residency for elections, and autism discrimination.

Government officials blocking reporters on Twitter

In Rebel News Network Ltd. et al v. Canada (The Honourable Steven Guilbeault), T-489-21, Rebel News claimed that that Ministers Guilbeault and McKenna violated the Charter when they blocked two of Rebel News’ broadcasters on Twitter. Rebel News claimed that Guilbeault and McKenna’s twitter accounts were presented as official government accounts and used for official purposes, and therefore constituted a public digital space where individuals can interact and disseminate their views. The blocking constituted a infringement of free expression as protected by the Charter, said Rebel.

Discrimination in election laws are also being raised in Robert Houle et al v. Swan River First Nation et al, T-903-19. In this case, Robert Houle alleged that the Swan River First Nation Customary Election Regulations discriminates on the basis of Aboriginal residency in contravention of the Charter. Houle sought nomination in the 2019 general election but was rejected because he has not resided on the Swan River First Nation Reserve for at least one year prior.

Autism and workplace accommodations were at issue in KEVIN HAYNES v. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA, T-1513-22, where the applicant Kevin Haynes sought judicial review of a redetermination decision issued by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Haynes alleged that the decision completely omitted the allegation primarily concerning his autism and how his employer refused to accommodate his disability.

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