Lawyers representing seven Manitoba churches will be back in court Monday, challenging the province's lockdowns and restrictions.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is representing the churches and several individuals including someone who was ticketed at a protest in Steinbach in the winter. The parties originally appeared for an initial hearing in February. The hearing now is set to continue from May 3 through 7 and May 10 through 14.
"The Applicants challenge Manitoba’s lockdown measures as unjustified violations of various Charter-protected freedoms including freedom of conscience, religion, expression and peaceful assembly, liberty, security of the person and equality rights," the JCCF says in a release.
"The action also challenges the validity and reliability of PCR tests and contends that Manitoba, Dr. Brent Roussin as Chief Public Health Officer, and Dr. Jazz Atwal as the Acting Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, failed to consider the collateral social and health costs of locking down society. The Applicants contend the health Orders cannot be justified by section 1 of the Charter."
Both Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister have stated that there are a number of factors considered when deciding on lockdown measures, including mental and physical health as well as the need for people to practice their religion.
"There are perspectives from all around the continuum from 'we shouldn't have any rules' to 'we should have everybody live in bubble wrap.' We are trying to strike the right balance here with the right kinds of restrictions, adopted at the right time in the right ways," Pallister said at a press conference on April 26.
The proceedings are set to begin at 10 a.m. on May 3.