F-bomb lands C-51 activist in N.S. court

Civil libertarians worry case could call Canadians’ right to political protest into question.

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia man will face trial for allegedly shouting a four-letter word into a megaphone, in a case one civil libertarian worries could call Canadians’ right to political protest into question.

Joseph Currie was one of three activists arrested last year during a Halifax protest against the former Harper government’s anti-terror legislation, Bill C-51.

The 26-year-old father was charged with “unlawfully (causing) a disturbance … by swearing.”

Lawyer Gordon Allen says his client has no criminal record and in some ways the F-word was “appropriate” given the widespread use of obscenities to voice political discontent.

Josh Paterson of the B-C Civil Liberties Association, who also participated in country-wide protests against Bill C-51, says he’s concerned about restricting what people can and cannot say when criticizing the government.

Halifax police Staff Sgt. Mark Hobeck wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, but said the patrol officers made a “discretionary decision” based on the complaints they were receiving.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.