Thursday, 10 December 2020

Toronto church files constitutional challenge over COVID-19 restrictions - Cardinal Collins, will you join the lawsuit?

Peter Youngren is an evangelical Christian pastor in Toronto. His worship centre is known as the Toronto Celebration Church. If you view Youngren's video, he shows what we all know is happening in Catholic churches. Seating is spaced and numbers restricted to 30%, sanitation is all around. There is no evidence that the China Virus has been spreading in churches or synagogues or mosques for that matter.  

His argument is based upon equal treatment under Canada's Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. For my American readers, our Constitutional rights are not absolute as in the United States of America, they can be limited as in the case of hate-crime legislation limiting freedom of expression. There is also a provision for a province to opt-out of a supreme court decision using what is called the "notwithstanding clause" which has been used primarily by the liberal-fascist Province of Quebec, in defending its language laws. 

However, the clause that is vital is 15 on the matter of Equality Rights and is relevant as one considers the permit of Costco and Walmart, American corporate conglomerates to open while the mom and pop retailer is closed, it is relevant that The Bay and Bad Boy cannot open to sell a washer or dryer or refrigerator, but Home Depot can. Why these retailers have not launched a Charter challenge is not certain. Pastor Youngren bases his argument on this:

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

This is the very argument that Thomas Cardinal Collins has and has failed to use. He has failed to lead the Assembly of Bishops of Ontario, some of whom have implemented regulations that are even illegal under the Ontario health regulations, such as demanding evidence of a medical
mask exemption. He has failed us.

Collins is in a unique position. He could rally all religious leaders. In a grand gesture of ecumenical action and inter-religious dialogue he could have summoned Protestant, Jewish and Muslims to jointly petition Ford for change or the courts for relief. He has failed to do anything but reduce the inane limit of Ford's ten, even in an auditorium the size of Youngren's or St. Clare of Assisi in Woodbridge of the same size, to zero by banning all public worship of God. 

It is tempting to write that Collins is a disgrace to the episcopacy but sadly, he is typical of the weak, effeminate and fearful regime that has planted itself in control of the Church in Canada.

Would that we had someone such as Pastor Youngren.

TORONTO — A church in Toronto's northeast corner has filed a constitutional challenge over Ontario's COVID-19 health regulations. 

The Toronto International Celebration Church says in court documents that it intends to question the constitutional validity of the Reopening Ontario Act. 

The notice of application says that the church is challenging the provincial health guideline that limits weddings, funerals, and religious services to 10 or fewer people in regions of Ontario that are under lockdown like Toronto and Peel Region. 

Peter Youngren, the founding pastor of the church, says in an online video that the church's congregation are not COVID-19 deniers and that they have carefully adhered to public health restrictions. 

"At a time when many are suffering with isolation, depression, and a sense of despair, the most loving thing a local church can do is throw its doors wide open while maintaining public health standards," said Youngren. 

He said that his church's auditorium has capacity for 1,100 people and a maximum attendance of 10 doesn't seem equitable compared to liquor stores and big-box retailers that are still operating at close to capacity. 

"We are deeply concerned about equal treatment under the law," said Youngren. "We want every business and institution, including churches, to receive unbiased treatment." 

The application argues that lockdown restrictions go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion as well as freedom of peaceful assembly. 

Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and former attorney general of Ontario, said he applauded the constitutional challenge. 

“The limitation on this charter right has the proportionality of a sledgehammer," said Bryant. 

"This constitutional challenge is much needed to engage the judicial branch in our democracy, so we will seek to be heard by the Court." 

Documents filed to Ontario's Superior Court of Justice note that before Toronto was moved to a renewed lockdown on Nov. 23 the Toronto International Celebration Church complied with regional guidelines and operated at 30 per cent capacity. 

The legal documents also say the church ensured congregants wore masks in its building and kept members of different households at least two metres apart. 

Given the building's regular seating capacity, the documents say that the stricter regulation "represents a 99 per cent reduction on the number of worshippers who may attend an in-person service at the church." 

Lawyers for the church told the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada in a letter that they will be moving immediately to secure a motion date for an urgent injunction. 

Nicko Vavassis, a spokesman for Ontario's Attorney General, said that the ministry received the notice of application and that it was being reviewed but any further comment would be inappropriate as the matter is before the court. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2020. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press


Anonymous said...

It is absolutely shameful that the leadership in the communities of our separated brethren is showing more guts and leadership than the ordained "shepherds" of HIS church...

As an aside VOX, check out the Hamilton Diocese website link to Bishop Crosby's latest weekly "heart to heart" message for an interesting picture of the revised nativity set at he Cathedral ...was sickened when I saw it..another capitulation

Barona said...

With this pending court action, Cardinal Collins' silence has become a deafening roar! Does he not comprehend that Catholics are aware that he is refusing to stand up for religious liberty? He has failed Catholics (and for that matter other Christians, and men and women who still have a sense of the Divine) and capitulated to unconstitutional demands made by secular humanist "public health" officials, who see religion as mere amusement.

Once again, I appeal to Cardinal Collins: it is not too late, join these brothers in their hearing at court. Telephone the Orthodox, separated Brethren; telephone a few rabbis and Imams and organize! Get to court! Fight for our rights!