CALGARY, Alberta (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The Justice Centre has submitted to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and all MLAs a proposal for amending Alberta’s Public Health Act. The proposed amendments would empower MLAs to hold the Chief Medical Officer of Health to account for any laws or health orders that violate the Charter rights and freedoms of Albertans.
Without major amendments to Alberta’s Public Health Act, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) is now positioned to exercise near-absolute power over the lives of millions of Albertans, for an indefinite period of time, if he or she determines that a public health emergency exists. This dangerous situation has been exposed by the recent Alberta Court of King’s Bench ruling in Ingram v. Alberta.
Two aspects of the Ingram ruling are particularly troubling.
First, the Court ruled in Ingram that elected representatives should have no effective oversight over CMOH orders that violate the fundamental Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, association and peaceful assembly. The CMOH can also violate the Charter rights to privacy and bodily autonomy by imposing mandatory vaccination policies, turning Albertans into second-class citizens if they decide not to get injected with whatever the CMOH may wish them to get injected with.
Second, the Ingram ruling ignores the abundant evidence placed before the Court about the significant harms that lockdowns inflicted on citizens. Without considering the harms to the mental, physical, psychological, spiritual and financial well-being of vulnerable Albertans, Justice Barbara Romaine simply states her general impression that the health orders that violated Charter freedoms had salutary benefits that outweighed their deleterious effects.
In short, the Court has interpreted the currently worded Public Health Act as providing virtually unlimited powers to an unelected and unaccountable CMOH to violate Charter rights and freedoms at will, without oversight by elected representatives. Through Ingram, the Court has also sent a clear signal to the CMOH that they need not think much about the harm and suffering that her lockdowns and vaccine mandates might inflict on vulnerable people; no serious cost-benefit analysis will be required by the Court. This is reality in Alberta today, post-Ingram.
“The only viable way to protect Albertans’ Charter rights and freedoms is to amend the Public Health Act such that it provides for transparency, democratic accountability, respect for science, and respect for human rights and constitutional freedoms,” stated lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.
“In light of the failure of courts in Alberta to uphold and protect our Charter rights and freedoms during a public health emergency, these changes to the Public Health Act and Alberta Human Rights Act are sadly necessary,” continued Carpay.
Read the complete Legislative Proposals here.
Reprinted with permission from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.