The Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council (CMPAC) is disappointed in the Ontario Superior Court’s decision to grant an injunction by the University of Toronto to remove the peaceful pro-Palestine encampment. The encampment has been demanding disclosure and divestment from all companies complicit in the Israeli-perpetrated genocide in Gaza. CMPAC has continuously advocated for the fundamental rights of students to engage in peaceful protest and exercise their freedom of expression and assembly. 

In light of the Ontario Superior Court’s decision, CMPAC has conducted a detailed analysis of Justice Koehnen’s recent interlocutory injunction decision. The decision, while acknowledging the encampment’s peaceful nature and absence of hate speech or anti-Semitic sentiments among its participants, raises significant concerns about the balance between property rights and freedom of expression. CMPAC’s analysis delves into the implications of this ruling, highlighting the nuanced interpretation of contentious slogans and the broader legal implications for public discourse and Charter values. For a comprehensive review of CMPAC’s analysis, read the full report here.

Although the judge rejected the claims that anti-semitism and violence were associated with the encampment, the decision tramples on the principles of democracy. The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are cornerstones of Canadian democracy, which are slowly becoming arbitrary. This decision sets a dangerous precedent for future peaceful protests and allows for the intimidation of students and staff on campus. 

It is important to recognize these protests not as disruptive or divisive, but as affirmations of free speech and civic participation. They are not meant to create division or hostility; rather, they underscore our commitment to the values of inclusivity, justice, and equality as a society.CMPAC will continue to firmly uphold and support the rights of students, staff, and community members to peacefully protest and exercise their fundamental rights. Although the ruling was regrettable, CMPAC will continue to foster dialogue that centres around justice for the Palestinian cause.