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CALGARY, Alberta, April 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — One of Canada’s largest provinces is facing a constitutional legal challenge from a freedom rights organization that says a new public health bill is a “betrayal of the electorate and of the rule of law,” because it gives ministries extraordinary powers.
The Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced on April 20 that it will be legally challenging the Alberta government over the constitutionality of Bill 10, the Alberta Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 2020.
The JCCF says it will file the legal challenge in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench sometime next week.
Bill 10 gives Alberta government ministers complete authority to enforce public health orders put in place to combat the coronavirus, without the legislature’s approval. The United Conservative government under premier of Alberta Jason Kenney rammed through Bill 10 on April 2 in less than 48 hours.
John Carpay, president of the JCCF, said Bill 10 takes away the electorate’s constitutional right to have elected representatives be involved in the law-making process.
“Bill 10 is a betrayal of the electorate and of the rule of law,” said Carpay in the JCCF news release regarding the forthcoming legal action.
“Albertans have a constitutional right to have their elected representatives involved in the making of new laws, especially laws which may dramatically infringe on their civil liberties. With Bill 10 now in force, a single politician can behave as though he or she has the power of a legislative majority to make laws for millions. This is an affront to democracy and constitutionalism.”
Jay Cameron, a lawyer for the JCCF, told LifeSiteNews two weeks ago about his concerns regarding Bill 10.
“Because there is no limit on this power apart from prohibiting the unilateral creation of new taxes, it opens the door to the near limitless use of power and therefore widespread abuse of civilians,” said Cameron.
A JCCF analysis of Bill 10 says it gives the Alberta government and its ministers too much power.
“A cabinet minister can now decide unilaterally, without consultation, to impose additional laws on the citizens of Alberta, if she or he is personally of the view that doing so is in the public interest,” says the JCCF analysis of Bill 10.
The JCCF says there was no need for new legislation to be introduced to help the province combat the coronavirus. The organization noted that Alberta’s Public Health Act already gives the government the ability to “empower politicians,” including the ability to “order mass disease testing and mass vaccination.”
A form letter circulating from the Kenney government as a means to clarify “concerns” about Bill 10 downplays what the JCCF claims.
“The core purpose of Bill 10 is to update the Public Health Act so that we can better respond to public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill clarifies the ability of government ministers to act rapidly during a public health emergency; creates strong consequences for defying public health orders; and extends the authority to enforce public health orders to community peace officers,” says the letter.
Carpay said the wording used in the government form letter is not accurate.
“The word ‘clarifies’ is obviously the wrong word, because Bill 10 adds new power under section 52.1(2)(b) of the Public Health Act: a minister’s power to ‘specify or set out provisions that apply in addition to, or instead of, any provision of an enactment,’” said Carpay in the JCCF news release regarding the legal action.
“Since when has any minister in the history of Canada been able to unilaterally write new laws all by themselves without oversight? And how could that be ‘confirmed,’ since it is entirely without precedent?”
In another area related to the coronavirus, Alberta Health Services set up a website that the public can use as a complaint mechanism over those who in “non-compliance” with coronavirus regulations.
In early April, it was reported that Alberta was planning to track citizens via cell phones, to “deal with” those who break quarantine.
Jay Cameron of the JCCF told LifeSiteNews at the time that observing people via a smartphone app constitutes a search of an individual. “Monitoring someone’s whereabouts using their cell phones is, of course, a search,” he said.
Canadian Privy Council president Dominic LeBlanc from Canada’s ruling Liberal party recently announced that the government is planning a law to punish citizens who “spread misinformation” about the coronavirus.
This news was met with backlash from Canadian opposition politicians and political pundits alike.
The Liberal Party, under pro-abortion prime minister Justin Trudeau, also recently tried to use the coronavirus as a ”totalitarian power grab.”