(LifeSiteNews) — A Calgary judge ruled that Alberta politicians made decisions regarding COVID-19 restrictions without authorization, violating the province’s health act.
On Monday, Justice Barbara Romaine released a 90-page decision that declared certain regulations infringed upon the rights of citizens that are protected under the Alberta Bill of Rights (ABR) and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The case involved three individual citizens and two Baptist church communities who alleged that their rights to peaceful assembly, religious practice and protest of government action were violated through the enforcement of certain regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Province of Alberta and its Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) at the time, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, were listed as respondents in the case.
Though she conceded to certain allegations and dismissed others, Romaine ultimately ruled “that the impugned Orders [mandated COVID-19 regulations] were ultra vires the [Alberta] Public Health Act.”
“The Public Health Act requires that decisions with respect to public health orders must be made by the CMOH, or her statutorily authorized delegate,” the judge explained. “The final decisions implemented by the impugned Orders in this case were made by the cabinet of the government of Alberta or by committees of cabinet.”
“While the CMOH made recommendations and implemented the decisions of the cabinet and committees through the impugned Orders, she deferred the final decision making to cabinet,” actions that are “not permitted by section 29 of the Public Health Act.”
Although Romaine ruled that some restrictions “infringed” some rights, she maintained that they were “not unconstitutional” because they were “enacted pursuant to a valid legislative purpose.”
The regulations being challenged included restrictions on nonresidents visitors, indoor and outdoor gatherings, quarantine and visiting those in isolation, business closures and school closures for certain grade levels.
The religious communities involved in the lawsuit — Heights Baptist Church and Northside Baptist Church — were both found to have experienced “infringement” of their Charter rights surrounding indoor gatherings and private residence restrictions. Similar violations were conceded to against the individual plaintiffs, in addition to allegations related to the quarantine regulations.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms reacted to the decision in an August 1 press release, saying that the group was “pleased” with Romaine’s ruling to “invalidate” the orders issued during the pandemic. They also noted that the case paves the way for similar lawsuits challenging unjust COVID regulations to be ended in favor of other churches and citizens practicing their constitutional rights.
The group pointed out that the government had “produced no comprehensive studies, reports or data analyzing lockdown harms” and that Romaine “nevertheless concluded that lockdowns were justified violations of Charter freedoms because they produced more good than harm.”
“Significant injustice has taken place in the past three years under these draconian public health measures,” Justice Centre president John Carpay said per the release. “We are hopeful this ruling will mean the withdrawal of charges against Pastor James Coates, Fairview Baptist Church, Ty Northcott, and other courageous citizens who refused to comply with unjust and utterly unscientific measures.”
Heights Baptist Church pastor Patrick Schoenberger, however, felt that the decision was lacking. In an email statement sent to LifeSiteNews, the pastor shared that those involved in the case “are mostly disappointed.”
While acknowledging the “positive outcome” that the ruling “may lead to charges against some pastors and others being dropped,” Schoenberger lamented the fact that “the judge did not view the lockdowns and restrictions themselves as unjustified violations of our Charter rights, which is what we were wanting the court to recognize and acknowledge.”
“The judge indicated that decisions regarding the health orders should have been made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health instead of government ministers which means that the next time a ‘pandemic’ or ‘emergency’ is declared that we can expect to have our constitutional rights violated by an unelected bureaucrat,” Schoenberger said.
Schoenberger added that the potential for the violations to be repeated is “very concerning.”
“Canada’s courts are supposed to hold governments to account whenever they violate Charter rights and freedoms,” the Justice Centre told LifeSiteNews via email in an additional statement. “The Charter requires governments to prove in court with compelling evidence that their supposedly ‘scientific’ measures are effective, rational necessary and, indeed, scientific.”
Addressing potential disappointment in the outcome of the case, the group added, “To date, neither the Alberta government nor any other government in Canada has met its onus of proving that lockdowns were carefully designed to actually achieve their objectives by submitting a comprehensive cost-benefit analyses before the courts.”
The decision comes several months after Hinshaw and the entire Alberta Health Services (AHS) board of directors, all of whom oversaw the COVID mandates, were fired by Premier Danielle Smith. Alberta health officials later rejected re-enforcing the strict regulations when a new variant of the virus made its way through the province and officially lifted its mask mandate for hospitals in June.
Despite national leaders arguing into 2023 that lockdowns during the pandemic were beneficial to the country — claims completely contrary to medical research — many Canadian citizens continue to fight the restrictions through legal battles and investigations to expose the long-lasting negative impact of them.
In March, LifeSiteNews reported on a hearing that took place in Nova Scotia, where medical professionals testified to the “devastation” of COVID mandates and lockdowns on the mental and physical health of their patients. The witnesses emphasized an increase in untreated cancer and child suicidality as direct results of the regulations.
Within the court system, hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recently joined a $500 million lawsuit to challenge requirements to take the experimental vaccines, a mandate enforced by military leaders.