A group of churches ranging from the northern parts of Manitoba to one of the most southern parts are going to court over the Public Health Orders.
On Thursday, seven churches, a restaurant, and several individuals including someone who was ticketed at a protest in Steinbach one month ago are being represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms at the Law Courts in Winnipeg. The law firm says legal action is being taken "to end the violation of Manitobans’ Charter freedoms" in a statement.
The statement from the group says the current health orders do not allow for freedoms of conscience, religion, expression, and peaceful assembly.
“Locking down the majority of a healthy society is not necessary to protect those most at risk from COVID-19. The lockdowns are devastating society on multiple socio-economic and constitutional levels, and harming the well-being of citizens,” Allison Pejovic, the group's lawyer says in a release.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms primarily focusses on Canadian constitutional law.
The churches, a minister, deacon, and restaurant owners also claim in their lawsuit claims that the PCR Test, the test used to diagnose COVID-19 in Manitoba, produces unreliable and misleading data. The PCR Test is widely used across the globe. Pejovic's claim joins one filed against the Alberta government.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says they have received hundreds of emails from Manitobans who say they have been financially ruined by the lockdowns and are suffering from their mental health and inability to see elderly parents.
The lawsuit also claims Manitobans are being denied critical health care for conditions other than COVID-19. Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa says this is not the case.
The release also points to makeup, toy, book, and other "everyday products" not being permitted to be sold.
'The government has told stores what they can sell, and restricted the sale of items deemed Dr. Roussin as “non-essential” such as books, makeup, toys, and other everyday product," the release says.
Under the current orders, businesses can sell these items by curbside pickup or delivery but not in person.
Dr. Brent Roussin says that many sectors are experiencing difficulties at this time due to the orders.
"We cannot make orders based on individual circumstances. We know from the evidence around the world, from evidence right here, that (the) spread of this virus is prolonged indoor contact," Roussin says. "There just is not a way around that."
Roussin says he is certain a lot of the affected sectors stepped up and did everything they could to prevent the spread of the virus, but that it is not enough to stop community spread at this time.
The doctor says many faith leaders have spoken with him about opportunities for them to help others during the pandemic.
“The scale of the government’s infringement on Canadians’ Charter-protected rights and freedoms as a result of Manitoba’s response to Covid-19 is unprecedented,” Pejovic says. “It is past time that the constitutionality of these restrictions and prohibitions are adjudicated by a fair and impartial court that looks at facts and evidence.”
The statement from the lawyer says provincial politicians have not given any persuasive evidence that lockdowns have saved lives. On December 4, the Chief Public Health Officer brought forward a series of graphics, stating that without the current lockdowns cases could have risen to close to 1,500 cases a day by the end of December. The doctor says one in 48 people who get the virus in Manitoba dies with COVID-19.
The group meets on Thursday at 10 a.m. at The Law Courts.