Rodeo runs in the blood for Ty Northcott and his family. Ty grew up on 1600 acres of real estate outside Caroline, AB. The Northcott patriarch, Harvey, ran 160 horses and 70 bulls while supplying stock for 15 rodeos a year. Like his dad, Ty has become an icon in the rodeo stock business, but he is being admired for more than his high quality stock around the country right now. During the last couple years, due to the government lockdowns, many in the rodeo industry besides the cowboys themselves have been out of work, including announcers, clowns, pickup men, and stock handlers.
After 18 months, with no forthcoming evidence for the reasonableness of the lockdowns, Mr. Northcott put together a plan to stand up for Albertans and the future of rodeo. Ty Northcott organized a freedom rodeo rally protest on his own property beside the QEII highway for the May 1-2 weekend, 2021. The event was named, No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally.
Despite the chilling political climate and the strong winds of early spring, 4,000 Canadians came out to the rally over the two days. Cowboys and cowgirls came from across western Canada to compete. Between events, numerous speakers, including Mr. Northcott himself, spoke out against government lockdowns and the violation of Canadians’ rights.
Although the RCMP hovered around, the rodeo rally, including a Sunday morning “Cowboy Church” went off without a hitch.
But the RCMP were back at the Northcott Ranch on May 7, 2021, to serve Ty, his wife Gail, and Northcott Rodeo Inc. with summonses to appear in Court on May 17, 2021, on charges of violating the public health order.
The Justice Centre has provided legal counsel for the Northcotts.
On October 13, 2022, at the Red Deer Courthouse, all charges against Gail Northcott were dropped. The charges against the Northcott Rodeo Inc and Ty Northcott went to a trail on the facts on December 20, 2022 in the Red Deer Courthouse. The trial will continue on June 20, 2023, when the Court will hear final arguments and the Northcott’s Charter arguments. Grey Wowk Spencer LLP is defense counsel for the Northcotts.
Updated June 21, 2023:
The trial of Ty Northcott and Northcott Rodeo Inc. will continue today, Wednesday June 21, 2023, at 9:30 AM in Courtroom #102, in the Red Deer Provincial Courthouse, 4909 48 Avenue, Red Deer, Alberta.
On December 20, 2022, the Court heard the Crown’s evidence in the case, with closing arguments to continue at a later date. The constitutional issues in the case are also adjourned pending the release of the Alberta Court of King’s Bench decision in Ingram et al v Alberta.
The Northcott family has a long history in the rodeo stock business. Despite the fact that rodeos occur outdoors, they were subject to the government’s lockdowns. In protest, the Northcotts organized a freedom rodeo rally protest on their own property beside the QEII highway on May 1-2, 2021. The event was named, “No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally”.
Thousands came out to the rally over the two days. Numerous speakers, including Ty Northcott, spoke out against government lockdowns and the violation of Canadians’ rights and freedoms. There was a police presence around the rodeo rally, which included a Sunday morning “Cowboy Church”.
On May 7, 2021, the RCMP came back to the Northcott Ranch to serve Ty, his wife Gail, and Northcott Rodeo Inc. with summonses to appear in Court on May 17, 2021, on charges of violating the public health order.
On October 13, 2022, at the Red Deer Courthouse, the charge against Gail Northcott was dropped.
At trial on December 20, 2022, the Crown gave evidence that approximately 1,300 people were observed at the protest. The Crown did not provide any evidence of Covid transmission resulting from the outdoor event.
“The right to rodeo alongside Alberta’s largest highway in protest against the harm of government lockdowns is protected by the Charter freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” states Marty Moore, a lawyer overseeing the case. “The continued legal defence of the Northcotts is part of the continued fight to protect Albertans’ fundamental freedoms.”
Updated June 21, 2023:
At the Northcott hearing today, counsel for the Northcotts argued the Crown failed to meet its burden of proof in proving the charges of allegedly violating the public health order. The Judge reserved decision until July 2023, when the Northcott matter will again appear in court.
Updated July 24, 2023:
Red Deer court today found that the Northcott rodeo rally did occur in May 2021 and that the public health order in place in Alberta did not allow it. The case will be back in court Aug 31, 2023 on Charter protection for the right to rodeo.
Updated August 31, 2023:
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that charges against Ty Northcott have been stayed following the consequential Ingram v. Alberta decision.
The Northcott family hosted the “No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally” on their property beside Alberta’s QEII highway from May 1-2, 2021. Thousands attended the rally, where Mr. Northcott spoke out against government lockdown measures and the importance of rights and freedoms.
On May 7, 2021, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged Mr. Northcott, his wife, Gail, and Northcott Rodeo Inc. with violating public health orders and served them summons to appear in Court on May 17, 2021.
On October 13, 2022, at the Red Deer courthouse, all charges against Gail Northcott were dropped. More than ten months later, on August 31, 2023, the Crown invited the Court to enter a judicial stay of proceedings against Mr. Northcott.
This follows the consequential Ingram v. Alberta decision released by the Alberta Court of King’s Bench on July 31, 2023. According to the decision, the Public Health Orders that Ty Northcott had violated were found to be ultra vires the Public Health Act and were, therefore, invalid. The Act requires that all decisions with respect to public health orders must be made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and not by the Alberta Cabinet. In her concluding remarks, Justice Barbara Romaine stated, “While involvement of elected officials in these important decisions may be desirable and even necessary, this involvement should have been structured in such a way as to mitigate the risk of political priorities interfering with the informed and well-qualified judgment of the [Chief Medical Officer of Health], as provided in the Public Health Act, without ignoring the underlying public interest.” (emphasis added)
As a result of this decision, it is expected that the Alberta Crown will withdraw all Covid-related tickets and may reimburse all fines for violations of Covid-related public health orders paid by Albertans.
John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre, stated, “We are proud to have been able to support Mr. Northcott throughout this difficult ordeal, as well as supporting so many other courageous Canadians who peacefully exercised their Charter rights and freedoms in the face of unjust and unscientific lockdown measures imposed on Canadians by their own governments.”