LAWYERS 4 TRUTH CHALLENGES COURTS OVER MASKING POLICY
Lawyers 4 Truth continues to advocate for all Albertans. In December of 2020, Katherine Kowalchuk, a volunteer lawyer with Lawyers 4 Truth, was forced to wear a mask in the Calgary Court Centre and threatened by Courthouse Sheriffs with a $1200 fine. She was attending the Calgary Court Centre to appear at the trial of one of her clients, which required in-person attendance. While Ms. Kowalchuk has a medical exemption and objects to wearing a mask based on her conscientious beliefs, she refused to provide proof of her exemption, which, at the time, was not required by any Alberta CMOH Order, the City of Calgary Mask Bylaw or the Courts’ own masking directive. Katherine firmly believes that individuals have a legitimate and reasonable expectation of privacy in their personal medical information.
Despite the Province of Alberta and the City of Calgary recently relaxing their masking requirements (which Lawyers 4 Truth continues to oppose), all three levels of Court in Alberta are continuing to enforce their mask mandate in courthouses across the Province. It is the belief of Lawyers 4 Truth that this courthouse mask mandate is unconstitutional and a violation of the rights and freedoms of those required to access courthouses in person.
Lawyer James Kitchen has been engaged by Lawyers 4 Truth to represent Katherine in fighting back against the Courts’ mask mandate . On July 14, 2021, Mr. Kitchen, on Katherine’s behalf, wrote to the Courts’ lawyers demanding the Courts end their mask mandate and should they continue to require masks in the courthouses, that Katherine will file a Charter challenge against the Courts. The letter can be read here.
Lawyers 4 Truth asserts this is an important matter and affects every Albertan. For months, courts in Alberta and across Canada have perpetuated the false ‘covid’ narrative by delaying cases, granting to AHS draconian court orders without due process, allowing governments extended time to produce evidence in respect of the ‘covid’ measures taken. Still, without any cogent evidence, the courts continue to perpetuate the narrative that masks are required for the “safety” of those attending the courthouse.
In our opinion, the courts are complicit in the removal of our rights and freedoms. The court mask mandate creates a culture of acceptance around the loss of our rights and freedoms – infringing freedom of conscience as guaranteed by section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 2(b), liberty and security of the person as guaranteed by section 7, and privacy as guaranteed by section 8 of the Charter.
If courts are prepared to implement and enforce policies that are unconstitutional and limit public access to them, without any evidence, then we as free citizens must demand justice and hold the Courts accountable. Courts are not above the law. As the third branch of government, the actions and decisions of the Alberta Courts must accord with the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter. The courts, as well as government, may only limit the Charter rights of Albertans if doing so is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Our privacy and human rights are not negotiable and it is reprehensible for a court to threaten and attempt to exclude anyone, as they did to Katherine, for exercising their right to not wear a mask.
Lawyers 4 Truth is funding this potential lawsuit and the engagement of James Kitchen.
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L4T received a response to our letter and replied. See below our response. While it is news to us that the Courts will be reviewing their mask policy at the end of July, here’s hoping that they actually terminate their policy. Our response makes it clear to the Courts that we are not backing down.
Letter to Alberta Courts
Response to D. Reuther
The Courts have still not reversed their mandatory mask policy so, we’re bring an Originating Application against the Provincial Court of Alberta and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, which is attached below. We cannot be assured Justice will prevail when our own Courts impose policies which are unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, we are in a bit of a jam. The Courts cannot also be expected to adjudicate this application as they are also the Respondent. James Kitchen will be requesting the Court of Appeal hear this case. Will they be unbiased given they too endorse the mandatory mask policy in the courthouse? Time will tell.
We are living through very troubling times and this case highlights the problem when courts are in alignment with governments and also have no issues implementing policies which are unconstitutional.
We can only do this sort of advocacy with your support. Any amount of donations are greatly appreciated.
Tune in on August 24 to hear our Application.