OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — The Canadian Supreme Court has refused to hear two Ontario churches’ constitutional challenges to COVID-era restrictions.
On August 10, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed a further appeal from the Aylmer Church of God and Trinity Bible Chapel who argued that the Ontario government violated their Charter-protected right to religious freedom through its COVID regulations.
“The churches have challenged the gathering restrictions for violating the fundamental freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association, guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a manner that could not demonstrably be justified in a free and democratic society,” the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms stated in a press release.
“They argued that the harms caused by the gathering restrictions far outweighed any benefit they provided, and that they must be struck down,” the statement continued.
On May 1, the two churches filed an application in the Supreme Court to appeal their previous constitutional challenge to Ontario’s gathering restrictions. The churches argued that the lower courts “failed to assess whether the gathering restrictions infringed on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.”
The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) failed spectacularly at resisting the initial COVID lockdowns and vaccine mandates that were imposed by the government on freedom-loving Canadians.
Most CPC MPs subserviently complied with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party in creating a police-state where our Charter Rights were regularly violated, but now Pierre Poilievre would have us believe they have turned a corner and nothing like it will ever happen again.
How can they rebuild our trust? Well, they can start by owning up to their terrible mistakes.
SIGN: The CPC must apologize for abandoning Canadians to Trudeau’s COVID regime.
You will remember how freedom-loving Canadians were abandoned by the CPC, with Erin O’Toole calling for vaccine passports and most CPC MPs pearl-clutching about “vaccine hesitancy”.
That was until the party realized how popular the Truckers’ Convoy had become and got behind the movement.
It’s quite possible the CPC would still be mute on vaccine mandates and lockdowns were it not for the heroic Freedom Convoy that converged on Ottawa.
Let’s not forget the businesses, churches, schools and universities that were shuttered for months on end because of the COVID hysteria generated by politicians in Ottawa, and the CPC did nothing.
They did nothing when people started losing their livelihoods (with some Canadians even losing their lives to suicide) because of the government’s deranged policy of locking people down.
The CPC must show they have learned a lesson from the COVID tyranny Canadians needlessly suffered and that they contributed to.
SIGN: Demand the CPC apologize for abandoning Canadians to Trudeau’s COVID tyranny.
In yet another reminder of how disconnected from reality the CPC were, MPs like Leslyn Lewis, Marilyn Gladu and Rosemarie Falk were omitted from their “Shadow Cabinet” in November 2021 because they dared to question the COVID shots.
Canadians must still contend with vaccine mandates in some settings and the intrusive ArriveCAN system in order to re-enter the country, while we are among the last three countries in the world to continue discriminating against unvaccinated visitors who remain barred from entering.
As Pierre Poilievre takes the reigns of the CPC, conservative voters must demand an apology from the party that abandoned them during the COVID-hysteria of the past two years.
SIGN: The CPC can rebuild trust by apologizing for capitulating to Trudeau’s COVID tyranny.
Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal had previously upheld the COVID regulations restricting gatherings, including for religious services. Both churches held gatherings while the province remained under strict regulations.
In December 2020, the Justice Centre represented Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of the Aylmer Church of God after he held drive-in services while the province was under the Reopening Ontario Act which restricted gatherings to as few as 10 people.
Following the service, and three additional services held in May and June 2021, the Church of God was ordered to pay $274,000 in fines and costs for what police argued was a violation of the gathering limits in force at that time.
According to the Justice Centre, the fines were issued despite evidence from Ontario Dr. Zain Chagla that the risk of outdoor transmission is negligible.
Similarly, the Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo, its lead pastor Jacob Reaume, and other church members, have faced major fines for allegedly breaking COVID regulations.
“When Ontario closed houses of worship in December 2020, the 10-person limit made no sense for Trinity Bible Chapel and its large 900-seat auditorium,” the Justice Centre argued.
The Centre pointed out the hypocrisy of placing 10-person limits on worship services, while essential retail was permitted 50 percent capacity with “social distancing.”
Trinity Bible had its doors shut by Ontario Justice John Krawchenko on April 30 because it would not follow the local COVID rules in place at the time which banned in-person worship. The church has since been issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
“Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal have upheld these violations of freedom of conscience and religion, the first freedom protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms., as well as violations of the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” the Justice Centre declared.
Unfortunately, the Ontario churches are not alone in having their cases dismissed by the Canadian Supreme Court. On the same day as the court dismissed the case of the Aylmer Church of God and Trinity Bible Chapel, it dismissed the appeal of three churches in British Columbia.
The legal challenge, originally filed in 2021, sought to have British Columbia’s complete ban on in-person worship services refuted based on protected Charter rights.