The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed an application for judicial review in Québec Superior Court on behalf of the Baptist Church of Saint Augustin and its pastor, Rev. Guillaume Roy, against the Québec Government’s decision to mandate vaccine passports in places of worship.
Pastor Roy's court application argues that vaccine passports violate Charter-protected freedoms of religion, conscience, association, peaceful assembly, and the right to bodily autonomy. Pastor Roy's application for judicial review also asks the Court to rule on the government's failure to consolidate new decrees and orders, which made it almost impossible for the average citizen to understand the law.
Pastor Roy said the government must be held accountable for the moral and spiritual suffering that political leaders have inflicted on his flock during the pandemic. "We are asking the courts to sanction the abuses committed by the provincial authorities. Never again should we accept that medical officers trade their white coats for sergeants' uniforms and, in a sort of germaphobic delirium, close churches. Churches are the people’s sanctuaries, not the enforcement arm of the government.”
Lawyer Samuel Bachand, the Justice Centre’s primary external counsel in the Province of Québec, notes that Canada's legal system is based on the rule of law, but also on the supremacy of God. "The Constitution clearly lays out freedom of religion. It does not say 'show government papers to be permitted to worship'. The Legault government’s policy fails to respect the separation of church from the State, and reflects a certain anti-religious sentiment,” says Mr. Bachand.
“Everyone is free to believe – or not to believe – and to worship according to their own faith as they see fit, but we have to accept that many of our fellow Quebecers and Canadians cannot satisfy their quest for meaning with Netflix series and yoga sessions in their living room, while the government bans spiritual activities such as in-person worship,” adds Mr. Bachand.
"For two years, we have seen governments impose a never-ending series of new decrees taking away peoples’ fundamental rights, not through legislative debate, but rather through facebook announcements and press conferences. This is behavior worthy of a banana republic. It is totally unacceptable in a developed Western state like Québec," concludes lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.