Any attempt to move Calgary into a COVID-19 lockdown will be met with court action, says a Canadian legal advocacy group.
The Justice Centre, a non-profit, non-partisan, non-political public interest law firm, made the vow after Calgary Emergency Management Chief Tom Sampson mused a 28-day “circuit breaker” may be needed to stop the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
“This second wave is large and it may run over our healthcare system,” Sampson tweeted. “We must stop the spread of Covid-19, there is little to debate here…the tsunami siren is wailing.”
The Justice Centre, who said its mission is to protect the Charter freedoms of Canadians to gather, assemble and worship, and to reject destructive restrictions, fired off a legal warning letter to Sampson on Nov. 17 and copied to the Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“Your threat to lockdown the City of Calgary is a gross usurpation of authority. There is no statutory authority for your proposed exercise of this power, nor historical precedent for the use of such extraordinary authority in the history of this nation by an official such as yourself. No such power is delegated to you under the Municipal Government Act, or the Constitution of Canada. Further, you are not a medical officer of health in the Province of Alberta,” the letter read.
The centre said the “threat made by Calgary’s Emergency Management Chief is not grounded on relevant facts and fails to consider AHS data on actual COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and ICU capacity.”
It added “AHS’s own data makes it clear that 97 per cent of people who contract COVID-19 are entirely asymptomatic or only mildly ill.”
“COVID-19 has no significant impact on population life expectancy. More than 80% of deaths have been amongst elderly and already sick people in long-term homes, nearly twice as high as other developed nations. The average lifespan of people, once admitted to a nursing home is only 12 months. More than 27,000 Albertans die each year, including 449 deaths from opioid poisoning. Since March of 2020, 423 Albertans have died of COVID-19, less than 2% of total deaths.”
Lawyer and Justice Centre President John Carpay said: “Lockdown policies have crippled our economy and society. Most small businesses are not going to survive another lockdown. People’s mental and physical health have suffered immensely by government overreach.
“Albertans have died and are dying because of cancelled surgeries, delayed cancer diagnoses, drug overdoses, and suicides. Lockdowns have imposed serious harms on patients denied access to their physiotherapists, massage therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, podiatrists and dentists.
“Outside of the privileged public sector, countless Albertans have been driven into unemployment, poverty and despair. The economy has been decimated, and the hopes and futures of tens of thousands of Albertans are destroyed, not because of the virus, but because of policies based on fear, not facts.
“We have put the City of Calgary, Mayor Nenshi and Mr. Sampson on notice. We will immediately begin court proceedings for an injunction if they attempt to carry through on threats to lock down the City of Calgary, which violates our most fundamental Charter freedoms without factual justification.”
“We urge government officials to focus on protecting the vulnerable, instead of arbitrarily restricting the liberty of healthy citizens, which will have no effect on reducing the risk of transmission among the vulnerable elderly in nursing homes.”