INNISFAIL – Iris Reimer and her allies brought in the voice of Canadian constitution builder Brian Peckford to town council in an attempt to convince elected officials the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) for the town’s recreational facilities was unlawful and unconstitutional.
However, council refused to buy in.
“I think we have been through this many times before,” mayor Jean Barclay told Reimer during her delegation presentation to council on Dec. 13. “If you want to have a constitutional discussion, I would take it up with your legal representatives and they can discuss it with our legal representatives because I don’t have the ability. I am not a constitutional lawyer, and I am certainly not a health expert.”
Reimer’s delegation appearance at council was her third since October. She is vehemently opposed to the town’s accepted provincially-mandated COVID management strategy, which includes an REP with a proof of vaccination requirement at town-owned recreational facilities.
At her last delegation appearance on Nov. 15, she addressed council for more than 35 minutes, which included reading a portion of a notice of liability. On Dec. 13, Reimer addressed council for just under 13 minutes. She did not read or even mention a notice of liability.
Reimer told council that her request for a third delegation presentation was due to the uncovering of “valuable information” she wanted to share. That information, she added, was from Brian Peckford, former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the “last surviving architect” of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
She then held up her cellphone and shared a three-minute sound bite, purportedly from a recent Peckford speech, to all members of town council.
Reimer then asked council to make a motion to draft and send a letter to the Alberta government with an ask to cancel the town’s REP for local town facilities because it was “unlawful, unconstitutional” and in order to implement it, citizens’ Charter protected rights and freedoms were being violated.
“We are not at war nor is there an insurrection,” said Reimer, who repeatedly cited sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to bolster her case against the REP. “They have not demonstratively justified their pandemic COVID measures. This is a reasonable request, as to what they have asked you to do is in fact breaking the law.”
Council was decidedly unmoved by Reimer’s request, and only Coun. Gavin Bates would comment when Reimer’s 13-minute pitch to council was finished.
“We do not have that jurisdiction, which was confirmed to us last week again,” said Bates, who said council had a recent discussion with a municipal lawyer. “We are subordinate to those two levels of government. We don’t have the jurisdiction to go back to the province or to the feds and say, ‘we have this constitutional privilege.' We don’t have it.
“My question is, is this how you want your town to spend its money – through lawyers?”
The only direct public answer council gave to Reimer’s request for the town to draft a letter to the province was from Barclay near the end of the council meeting.
The mayor was asked by one of Reimer’s allies if she would follow through with the request to support citizens with a letter, or at least acknowledge the adverse impact on many Innisfailians by the provincial COVID measures.
Barclay gave a short and direct reply.
“We can take that under advisement. Thank you,” said Barclay.