Convicted For Daring to Question Government Direction in a "Free and Democratic Society"?
A Canadian wife, mother and home schooler of three was recently convicted and fined $37,000 plus costs for organizing two peaceful demonstrations against provincial government-imposed restrictions on constitutionally enshrined Rights and Freedoms in 2020.
Specifically, in response to the Government’s reaction to Covid 19, in October/November 2020 Kimberly Neudorf organized two “Freedom Rallies” in Elgin County (Aylmer), Ontario Canada to protest what she and countless Ontarians believed was government overreach in denying freedom of assembly and movement. She was and remains very concerned for her children's future if governments at all levels can unilaterally strip freedoms away with the stroke of a pen. At the time, “Outside Gatherings” had imposed restrictions of 25 people and “Social Distancing” was a must.
During this period of restrictions, there were countless similar other community “gatherings” exceeding provincially mandated limits of similar protest or other causes like Black Lives Matter but enforcement of the new “law” was inconsistent across the province. Some people were charged and some not. Of those charged, various Crown Prosecutors dropped the majority of cases as pursuing a conviction as “not in the public interest”; not in Kimberly's case.
Aylmer was already a very much divided town with respect to the new regulations and the Aylmer Municipal Council was so frustrated with the Kimberly’s first protest of a few hundred people on 24 October, 2020 they declared a “State of Emergency” on 2 November, 2023 five days prior to her Second Rally thus placing the local constabulary on a heightened alert. No other provincial community went to this extreme regarding rallies or demonstrations.
On 7 November, 2023 the much hyped “Freedom Rally” attended by well over 1000 people took place with no discernable upset to the community save and except a short-lived disruption to normal traffic flow to facilitate a peaceful march through the community.
Almost 3 weeks later the local police charged Kimberly under the hilariously-named Re-opening Ontario Act with 2 counts of attending and 2 counts of organizing an outdoor gathering in contravention of the act. The minimum fines were $22,000 for these offences, and the maximum penalties were $220,000 with the possibility of jail time.
Across the country, most jurisdictions saw the egregiousness of such penalties, and offered plea deals for nominal charitable donations or a stay-of-charges. Kimberly refused to plead guilty to something she was not guilty of, no matter the deal offered. Several rogue courts, with rogue prosecutors with seemingly personal scores to settle, went after every pound of flesh they could extract from these “super-spreader” lawbreakers. The Elgin County jurisdiction was one of these.
Kimberly was convicted on all counts, and on July 26th was sentenced to pay $37,000 plus victim surcharge.
The prosecutor and the justice of the peace made very pointed comments about this $37,000 fine being set in order to send a strong message of deterrence to anyone in the future that might seek to organize a protest like this. We can’t think of anything more worthwhile than to stand up to this court and say "Not on your life! You will not deter freedom loving people from opposing your tyranny: not with fines, jail-time or any other threats". The state would like nothing more than for freedom-loving "fringe-minority” folks to look at a verdict and fines like Kimberly’s and cower in fear and/or defeat. Imagine the message sent to the state if hundreds of people contributed a small amount to quickly pay off this fine? It would send a signal that we’re not afraid, and we’re no longer a "fringe minority". Comments in a recent National Post article clearly demonstrate how the tides have turned: Stay-at-home Ontario mom fined $37K for organizing anti-restrictions COVID protests .
Furthermore, it would send a strong message to the future brave men and women that you won’t have to stand alone in being brave – we are a community that has each other’s backs. "Doing what is right is always worth the cost": Kimberly said this from the very beginning.
Kimberly and her husband were able to pay the legal costs for her unjust conviction. Despite vicious independence, Kimberly has been humbled by the recent show of support and expressed wishes to contribute to the covering of these egregious fines and appreciates all the support while she continues her fight (along with countless others) for the Freedoms her children and All Canadians should be able to count on as inviolable.