Victory for campers under the Ville-Marie highway

Victory for the campers under the Ville-Marie highway

The Executive Director of the Mobile Legal Clinic, Me Donald Tremblay, accompanied by Me Éric Préfontaine, lawyer at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, on the site of the camp.

Homeless people camping under the Ville-Marie Expressway have been granted a new grace period. Judge Chantal Masse, of the Superior Court, orders the Quebec Ministry of Transport to postpone the eviction of campers for 10 days to start work.

Judge Masse concludes in her judgment delivered on Tuesday that the immediate eviction of the campers would cause them “irreparable harm”, considering their vulnerability and “the already too well-known glaring lack of resources” to relocate them in the short, medium or long term. .

The expulsion of these people from their camps will cut the ties they have forged between them and will deprive them of the mutual aid established between them, making them much more vulnerable, creating distress and worsening their conditions.

Excerpt from the decision of Judge Chantal Masse, Superior Court of Quebec

The magistrate also noted that the eviction of homeless people would cause them more inconvenience than the delay would create for the MTQ, even if it is “obvious that the work to restore the Highway 136 are necessary and important”. “The evidence as to the deadlines within which the work must absolutely proceed remains unclear, however, with regard to the period between March 22, 2023 and July 15, 2023,” she argues in her judgment.

Note that the 10-day delay was the maximum that Judge Masse could grant at this stage of the proceedings. The lawyers must meet at the courthouse on April 21 to plead the renewal of the safeguard order, according to Me Éric Préfontaine, who represents the Mobile Legal Clinic.

“A small-victory for human rights”

“It's 10 days of respite,” rejoiced the director general of the Itinerant Legal Clinic, Me Donald Tremblay, Tuesday during a press conference at the camp site. Despite everything, the government must negotiate “a humane solution to this unacceptable situation” to offer campers “the minimum to which they are entitled”, he insists.

“It's a small victory for human rights,” said Resilience Montreal's executive director, David Chapman, “hoping, however, that people who fight for human rights are not so distracted and weakened.” /p>

Judge Masse also strongly criticized the attitude taken by the MTQ towards the campers, calling it “unsuitable” since the department initially stayed their expulsion last November. “No concrete solution to relocate the people living in the camp has indeed been proposed, the authorities claiming that they have not been able to build a bond of trust with these people and they have failed to strike”, concludes- it.

The approaches of the government, the CIUSSS du Center Ouest de l’ile-de-Montréal and those of people experiencing homelessness cannot “be described as proactive”, declares the magistrate.< /p>

 Victory for campers under the Ville-Marie highway

The camp under the Ville-Marie highway, west of Atwater Avenue. Nicolas Monet/Metro.

Victory for the campers under the Ville-Marie highway

The camp under the Ville-Marie highway, west of Atwater Avenue. Nicolas Monet/Metro.

A first, but not a precedent

This is the first judgment in Quebec to deal with the eviction of a homeless camp like the one under the Ville-Marie highway.

However, Judge Masse took care to clarify that the question of whether the State can evict homeless people who occupy a place illegally, because of work “in the public interest” without a housing solution remains “open”.

“Demonstrating humanity in this very particular context would not necessarily imply a precedent applicable to all people experiencing homelessness”, underlined the magistrate, again inviting the parties to discuss to find a lasting solution outside the legal framework.

“10 days is not much, but for us, it's a lot,” said Michel Chabot, on the sidelines of the press briefing. Those who have been camping under the Ville-Marie highway since last September claim to still “trust” the system: “They are not going to take people from the street, and put them still more crunch in the street .”

Notwithstanding the grace period, he hopes to find accommodation as soon as possible, saying he is exhausted to fight for his survival and to repel vermin.

“In 2023, human beings should not live on the street, he says on the sidelines of the press conference. There are those who choose this way of life. I suffered it.”

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *