Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church will not be permitted to challenge the constitutional validity of the orders issued by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, a court has ruled.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms revealed in a statement Friday that the government will not be required to produce scientific evidence in support of Dr Deena Hinshaw’s orders during the May 3 trial of Pastor Coates.
Pastor Coates and GraceLife Church have been charged with violating the Public Health Act by refusing to turn people away from their services after more than a year of government restrictions. Pastor Coates spent over a month in jail for his decision to reopen the church building and minister to those in need.
The Justice Centre, who is representing Pastor Coates, has challenged the constitutionality of Dr Hinshaw’s Health Orders in Court, arguing that they are an “unjustified violation of Charter rights and freedoms.”
“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 violates,” said lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.
Carpay said it’s 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.”
“We are now in our thirteenth month of Charter-violating lockdowns, in what was supposed to be a temporary two-week to flatten the curve,” he said. “By May 3, the government will have had fourteen months to assemble proper medical and scientific evidence to justify lockdowns and the resulting violations of our fundamental Charter freedoms.
“For the Alberta Government to request that it not be required to provide evidence on May 3 in support of Dr Hinshaw’s Orders, while at the same time barricading the church, is both reprehensible and pathetic,” Carpay added.
The Justice Centre will argue that the ticketing, arrest and jailing of Pastor Coates were violations of multiple Charter rights and freedoms, and as such, the single Public Health Act charge remaining against the Pastor ought to be thrown out by the Court.
“Words fail me,” said Erin Coates, wife of Pastor Coates. “[Alberta Health Services] and our government does not have to be accountable for the countless lives they have ruined while stripping Albertans of their rights and freedoms.
“I take courage that all this is seen by a just and omniscient God,” she added.