“The Right to Rodeo”: May 2021 Rodeo Protest trial continues in Red Deer

RED DEER: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announces that 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.”

[Photo credit: Gralyn J. Photography]

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