CALGARY – A grassroots organization protesting COVID-19 lockdown rules took to Calgary’s streets again Sunday.
Protesters went through downtown Calgary carrying placards against the COVID-19 restrictions. At 1 p.m. participants met at the Calgary Courthouse Park and were given an update on the lawsuit lawyers from the Justice Centre filed against the Alberta government. On Nov. 24, 2020, the Alberta Government again declared a state of public health emergency, imposing a “second wave” of lockdown restrictions on the ability of Albertans to travel, conduct business, visit family and friends, obtain necessities, peacefully assemble, manifest their religious beliefs, and breathe freely.
The Justice Centre argues that that CMOH Orders violate multiple Charter-protected rights, such as the right to peacefully assemble, the right to visit friends and family, the right to freely practice religious beliefs, the right to travel and the right to conduct business and earn a living.
The Justice Centre also maintains that these constitutional rights violations are not justified because lockdowns cause far more harm than whatever harm from COVID-19 lockdown measures may prevent.
“Arbitrary and authoritarian control, based on fear-mongering by the government, only ever exasperates the problems facing society, as we have seen for the last nine months,” said the Justice Centre. “Politicians have not put forward any persuasive evidence that lockdowns have saved lives, but there is no question that lockdowns have caused grave harm to millions of Canadians suffering unemployment, poverty, cancelled surgeries, suicides, isolation and the loss of their liberty.”
Rallies were held in Red Deer, Edmonton, Didsbury and Brooks on Saturday.
The group has been holding weekly Walk for Freedom rallies since December 2020. They slammed what they call Alberta’s new “round of draconian restrictions” imposed by the UCP Kenney government, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi calling Calgarians “selfish, reckless and cynical” for standing up for their rights and freedoms.
In December 2020 Calgary Police charged Arthur Pawlowski, David Pawlowski, and Ryan Audette under section 73(1) of the Public Health Act (PHA) for contravening order of medical officer of health, failing to wear a face covering where required and failing to have a permit for an event.
Lawyers from the Justice Centre are representing Ryan Audette, who was issued two tickets on Dec. 2.
So far, all COVID-related tickets issued to demonstrators in Alberta that the Justice Centre has defended have been withdrawn by Crown Prosecutors.
“COVID-19 has not suspended the rule of law or displaced the constitution as the supreme law of the land. Even during a declared public health emergency, the Charter continues to protect the right of people to peacefully gather in public places and demonstrate their opposition to the loss of their civil liberties and oppressive government policies,” said Justice Centre lawyer James Kitchen.
“In a free and equal society, all people have the right to peacefully protest at public places regardless of whether the police consider the protest to be politically correct or not,” said Kitchen.