The following is an update from Marty Moore, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), regarding the Alberta Court of Appeal hearing on December 3 regarding Alberta Bill 24.
Please continue to pray for Alberta schools, the Court of Appeal justices and the legal counsel of JCCF.
The forwarded update follows:
Dear Coalition Members,
I wanted to give you all a brief report from the hearing held today at the Court of Appeal in Calgary.
The hearing varied significantly in nature from the hearing at the lower court, with the Appeal Justices Shutz, McDonald and Pentelechuk, appearing to seriously consider harm facing children and schools.
For example, Justice McDonald interjected early in the Government’s oral argument to note that he was “troubled” by the course of events taken by the government, indicating that the Government’s threat of defunding looked like an “attempt by the government to coerce these litigants to give up their challenge.”
Justice Shutz likewise noted the government’s “credible” threats to take steps including defunding against non-compliant schools. Justice Shutz went so far as to question the Government’s counsel on whether the lower court’s finding that schools’ accreditation and funding were not at risk was a “palpable and overriding error.”
Justice McDonald also found it a “bit troubling” that there was no delineation in Bill 24 between the treatment of 6 year olds and 17 year olds in regard to GSAs. Justice Pentelechuk, who was only recently appointed to the Alberta Court of Appeal, was more quiet, but appeared to have a good grasp on the materials before the Court as well.
The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision, which will likely not be issued for a few months. The Court has a significant volume of material and evidence, along with written and oral submissions from the Government, the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Justice Centre to consider in determining whether to stay provisions mandating secrecy concerning GSA and activities and to issue an injunction preventing the Government from taking adverse action, including defunding, against the noncompliant schools.
It is of course impossible to predict any court decision with a reliable measure of certainty.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement leading up to this hearing.
Marty Moore, J.D.
Barrister and Solicitor
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
#253, 7620 Elbow Drive SW
Calgary, AB, T2V 1K2
“Defending the constitutional freedoms of Canadians”