Thu Jun 10, 2021
By Jay Cameron and By John Carpay
June 10, 2021 (JCCF) – During a live-streamed question-and-answer session on May 19, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney spent nearly ten minutes vilifying Christian pastors who disobey his orders. He claimed that the pastors were spreaders of disease, and were jeopardizing their neighbour’s health. Without citing any specific scripture, Mr. Kenney claimed that assembling for worship contrary to his lockdowns is a “reckless disregard” of a “biblical mandate.”
Pastors James Coates, Art Pawlowski and Tim Stephens have all spent time in jail.
In his diatribe against these and other pastors (beginning around the 4 minute mark in the video above), Mr. Kenney invoked the rule of law as the principle by which all citizens are governed. The premier explained the rule of law this way: laws apply to everyone and the health orders are laws, so everyone must obey health orders.
Unfortunately, the premier’s description of the rule of law is incomplete and misleading.
In a constitutional monarchy such as Canada, the rule of law rests first and foremost on the premise that there is an ultimate law which governs society and which protects citizens by constraining government power: the Constitution. Laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution are of no force or effect. The rule of law requires politicians and governments to obey the Constitution.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of our Constitution, protects freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, and freedom of association and peaceful assembly. In contrast, lockdowns and other restrictions prohibit peaceful assembly and communal worship. Lockdowns destroy large swaths of civil society by making it illegal for Canadians to associate freely with others in social, business, athletic, religious, recreational and entertainment pursuits and activities.
The Constitution is what stands between politicians and total control of society. Indefinite lockdowns. Peaceful protestors and pastors in jail. Government control over the internet through Bill C-10. No more travel, internationally or between provinces. No more special family gatherings at important occasions like Christmas, birthday parties, weddings and funerals. Permanent poverty. Massive debt left to our children and grandchildren.
By waging constant war on civil liberties and by refusing to justify demonstrably, with evidence put before a court, the ongoing violations of Charter rights and freedoms, it is Mr. Kenney who disobeys the rule of law, not the peaceful pastors.
The Charter places no onus on pastors to justify their actions. Rather, the Charter places the onus on politicians to justify their violation of religious and other freedoms. In court actions in Alberta, BC and Ontario, governments have not placed any persuasive medical or scientific evidence before judges to support the governments’ theory that church services are deadly. While barricading GraceLife Church, the government has no evidence that this church caused or contributed to any COVID-19 deaths.
The Charter demands that governments provide evidence, not mere assertions and speculation. Citizens have a right to this evidence, if it exists. Thus far, the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that lockdowns are the worst and most destructive public policy decision in Canadian history.
Premier Kenney also claimed on May 19 that churches that continue with communal worship breach their “biblical mandates.” But nowhere in the Bible is there a single instance of a closure of the sanctuary or temple service because of the presence of a disease. You can search from Genesis to Revelation, and you won’t find it.