Heights Baptist Church, Northside Baptist Church et al. vs. Alberta and The Chief Medical Officer of Health

 

The Justice Centre has filed a court challenge to Orders made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and select unconstitutional sections of the Public Health Act, to end the violation of Albertans’ Charter freedoms. The Justice Centre is representing two Alberta churches and two individuals alongside Alberta lawyer Jeffrey Rath who represents another individual.

The Justice Centre’s filed lawsuit states that the Alberta government has violated the right to peaceful assembly, the right to travel, the right to conduct a business to earn a living, the right to visit family and friends, including having visitors in one’s own private residence, and the right to worship. The Justice Centre has been inundated with thousands of emails from people who are being financially ruined by lockdowns, suffering mental health issues, losing their businesses, unable to see their elderly parents, and being denied critical health care with conditions besides COVID.

On December 8, 2020, the Alberta government announced an even more repressive slate of restrictive lockdowns reminiscent of Stage 1 of lockdowns earlier implemented in March 2020 before the severity of COVID was fully known. As of December 13, all gyms, casinos, restaurants, hair salons, massage therapy clinics, tattoo shops, concert halls, and other businesses must shut down, with limited take out or delivery service only. The Alberta government has outlawed any outdoor or indoor social gatherings of people outside one’s own household, and imposed a mandatory work from home order.

In response to flagrantly flawed predictions regarding the lethality of COVID-19, the Alberta Government first declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta on March 17, 2020. Under the guise of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” the resulting lockdown devastated small businesses and has led to large-scale societal harm in the form of increased unemployment and poverty, deteriorating mental and physical health, drug overdoses, cancelled surgeries, the loss of personal liberty and even death.

On November 24, 2020, the Alberta Government again declared a state of public health emergency, imposing a “second wave” of lockdown harms and authoritarian restrictions on the ability of Albertans to travel, conduct business, visit family and friends, obtain necessities, peacefully assemble, manifest their religious beliefs, and breathe freely.

Since March 16, 2020, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) has pronounced 40 public health orders that have crushed constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The latest round of CMOH Orders outlaw people visiting friends and family or holding small gatherings in their homes, and restrict outside gatherings, weddings and funerals to a measly 10 people.

As part of the court challenge the Justice Centre will argue that that CMOH Orders violate multiple Charter-protected rights, such as the right to peacefully assemble, the right to visit friends and family, the right to freely practice religious beliefs, the right to travel and the right to conduct business and earn a living. The Justice Centre will further argue that these constitutional rights violations are not justified because lockdowns cause far more harm than whatever harm from COVID-19 lockdown measures may prevent.

“In a free society, the government respects citizens as they exercise their freedom and responsibility to respond to a perceived crisis as they deem best for themselves and their loved ones. Arbitrary and authoritarian control, based on fearmongering by the government, only ever exacerbates the problems facing society, as we have seen for the last nine months. Politicians have not put forward any persuasive evidence that lockdowns have saved lives, but there is no question that lockdowns have caused grave harm to millions of Canadians suffering unemployment, poverty, cancelled surgeries, suicides, isolation and the loss of their liberty,” states Justice Centre lawyer James Kitchen.

“The people of Alberta have suffered under the oppression of a medical dictatorship for long enough. The soul-destroying lockdowns have wrought havoc. It’s time for Albertans to get their freedom back,” concludes Kitchen.

 

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