Canadian lawyer: Alberta gov’t is showing it’s terrified of jailed pastor’s trial
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ALBERTA, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A lawyer for one of Canada’s leading constitutional groups has blasted his province’s government for failing to “man up” to provide evidence supporting COVID-19 lockdowns at the upcoming trial of Christian Pastor James Coates, who spent 35 days in jail for defying lockdown orders.
“Essentially, Jason Kenney’s government is using the court process as a means of cancel culture which pre-empts any legal action to question economy-destroying and society-crippling health orders as the product of ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ (Jason Kenney’s own words),” wrote John Carpay, lawyer and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), in an opinion piece published last week.
“Rather than manning up and assembling the medical and scientific evidence to try to justify violating the Charter rights and freedoms of Albertans, the Alberta Government instead asked for an adjournment….While governments are now being compelled to produce the science in court, it is a disgrace that they have not already been providing the science to the public.”
“Raw state power has neither time nor patience for any dissent. But when it comes to producing evidence in court, Jason Kenney is terrified of science and truth.”
Last week the JCCF, who represents Coates of Grace Life Church, said in a statement that Coates’ May 3 trial date will proceed. The court however granted “the Government’s request that Pastor Coates not be permitted to challenge the constitutional validity of Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s orders at the trial.”
“After 13 months of violating Charter freedoms, the Alberta Government refuses to present evidence in support of lockdowns in Court, and unfortunately the courts have permitted the government to delay facing accountability in regard to Charter violations,” said Carpay about this.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. It is clear that the government’s approach to any challenge to its lockdown policies is to withhold the evidence and delay as long as it can.”
In his recent opinion piece, Carpay took aim at Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his government for appearing to take the easy road by asking for an adjournment.
“When asking for an adjournment, the Alberta Government was not able to say who its expert witnesses would be. Nor did government lawyers explain why they could not produce such expert evidence, other than that they are ‘very busy.’ And this while the Alberta Government is in possession of a 2,300-page expert report submitted by Justice Centre lawyers, outlining specifically how and why science does not support lockdowns,” wrote Carpay.
“If Alberta’s lockdowns are indeed “scientific” and “evidence-based,” then the government would already have its medical evidence assembled and lined up, ready to present to court at any time. It should not take longer than a few weeks to prepare for court and present the scientific evidence to support lockdowns if persuasive evidence actually exists.”
Carpay stated that it is “a disgrace” that governments “have not already been providing the science to the public,” regarding COVID lockdowns.
“Instead, in the past 13 months, governments across Canada have relied on speculation, unproven theories, and news conferences with clever soundbites to create and perpetuate fear. Governments should respect the Charter and comply with it, even when not being sued in court,” wrote Carpay.
“While a temporary two-week lockdown may have been justified in March of 2020, even without extensive medical or scientific support at that time, there is no excuse for continuing to destroy lives and livelihoods indefinitely. Think about this the next time you hear Jason Kenney or Dr. Hinshaw utter the words ‘science’ or ‘evidence-based public policy’ at a news conference.”
Coates was jailed from February 16 until March 22 for defying COVID-related orders in Alberta. He refused to accept bail conditions which blocked his release unless he agreed to not hold church services amid severe lockdowns.
Coates walked out of the Edmonton Remand Centre as a free man on March 22, after a $1,500 fine was paid “as time served
The JCCF has legally challenged the constitutionality of the Health Orders of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, in Court. They have argued that they are a violation of Charter rights and freedoms.
According to the JCCF, the “constitutionality and legality of Dr. Hinshaw’s orders will be heard by the Court at an unknown later date.”
On April 7, Grace Life was barricaded by police for defying coronavirus health rules. The church had until that point stayed open despite a local health order mandating its closure. Coates and other church elders had refused to comply with coronavirus regulations. Members of Grace Life have now gone underground after their building was raided and fenced off by police for breaking coronavirus health rules.
Independent MP Derek Sloan announced a petition to demand the church be allowed to open, which as of today has nearly 11,000 signatures.