Canada: N.S. to ban protests outside homes of health officials after top doctor harassed

'Real toxic mix:' residents of Calgary neighbourhood fed up with protests

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The province of Nova Scotia is introducing legislation to ban protests outside the private residences of health officials after anti-maskers demonstrated for three days in a row outside the home of the chief medical officer of health.

Jeremy MacKenzie attended the convoy protests in Ottawa last month. © Provided by Global News Jeremy MacKenzie attended the convoy protests in Ottawa last month.

Legislation was tabled on Thursday to amend the Protecting Health Services Act to establish a 50-metre "safe zone" around the private residences of senior health officials and other health service providers.

"Nova Scotians have a right to protest, but protesters cannot be allowed to harass, intimidate, or stalk people in their own homes. That is unacceptable," said Justice Minister Brad Johns in a release.

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"This legislation protects the people making important public health decisions on behalf of all Nova Scotians -- and their families."

The amendment to the Protecting Health Services Act -- which was introduced in the fall to protect health-care facilities from protests -- will expand the definition of "health-care facility" to include the private residences of health service providers.

"The amendments will also expand the definition of 'health service provider' to include senior officials and other executive decision-makers in the health sector," the release said.

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Fines under the act range from $5,000 for individuals to $100,000 for corporations.

The amendment to the act will come into force upon Royal Assent.

Head of extremist group charged

On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the group of anti-mask protesters showed up outside chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang's house in Fall River to protest mask requirements for children in schools.

On Wednesday, the Nova Scotia RCMP announced two people were charged with criminal harassment, mischief, harassing phone calls and intimidation of a health professional as a result of the protests outside of Strang's home.

One of the accused, 36-year-old Jeremy Mitchell MacKenzie of Pictou, N.S., is reportedly the leader of the far-right extremist organization Diagolon, which has been described by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network as a neo-fascist militia group with a sizeable support base across the country.

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The network says Diagolon is an accelerationist movement that believes a revolution is inevitable and necessary to collapse the current government system. It wants to build its ideal nation-state, which runs diagonally from Alaska through the western provinces down to Florida.

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MacKenzie also attended the protest convoy in Ottawa last month and was recently arrested on firearms charges.

He and his co-accused, 31-year-old Morgan May Guptill, appeared briefly by video in Dartmouth provincial court on Wednesday afternoon, and they remain in custody until their next appearance Friday.

-- with files from The Canadian Press

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