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Letter: What's sad is Innisfail council had to make this necessary motion

It is for judges to rule on the law regarding COVID restrictions, not you or town council

Re: Letter: A sad and disappointing day in Innisfail

Iris Reimer, you claim that Dec. 13, a day you presented as a delegation to Innisfail town council, making a lengthy plea for council to fight COVID-19 restrictions, was a sad day. You mention in your letter that you made an attempt to educate council on constitutional law, specifically with respect to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, yet they failed to heed your counsel. How sad.

On that day and in your letter, you've cited numerous sections of the Charter and which of the myriad rights we have been stripped of due to COVID restrictions.

As evidence for your allegations you quote extensively Brian Peckford, former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and one of the “architects” of the Charter, and his opinion that no government in Canada has demonstrably justified limiting any of our guaranteed rights (regarding COVID restrictions). This in reference to Section 1 of the Charter, which you tend to skim over – "The Charter…guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Which means - occasionally, exceptions must be made. How sad.

Mr. Peckford, is probably right that no government has demonstrably justified any restrictions. Because that happens in court, in front of a judge, when someone has made a constitutional challenge to a law/restriction/mandate. It doesn’t happen in the provincial legislature, or council chambers, or the local hockey arena. To my knowledge there are scant few such cases slowly paddling their way up our court system, yet to be ruled on…by a judge.

It is not for you or town council to rule on these matters. It is not for lawyers, not even constitutional lawyers.

Of note, Brian Peckford, his architect status of the Charter notwithstanding, is not a constitutional lawyer. Not a lawyer of any kind. He has a bachelor of education degree and was a high school teacher in rural Newfoundland before entering politics in the 1970s. Not even he can rule.

It is for judges to rule on the law.

Ms. Reimer, you have made no less than four lengthy voluble presentations to council, most recently (as of this writing) on Jan 10, essentially reiterating your same arguments about your same cause – to convince council to fight COVID restrictions. Other parties have done much the same.

At that same Jan. 10 meeting, council unanimously passed the following  motion: “That the Town of Innisfail continue to comply with the Government of Alberta COVID-19 health orders and that council not ask the Government of Alberta to lift facility restrictions.”

I hope you and any of similar opinion and motivation can respect this and leave our council to its task of the governance of our fine community.

That council had to make this unusual but necessary motion to firmly clarify its stance on the matter, is indeed sad.

Jim Carroll,