Injunction granted against 'No More Jason Kenney Rodeo Rally' planned this weekend near Bowden, Alta.
An injunction has been granted to Alberta Health Services against a 'No More Jason Kenney Rodeo Rally' planned near Bowden, Alta.
The rodeo and rally were scheduled to take place June 5 and 6, with Northcott Rodeo Inc. supplying the animals, but on Friday morning, Justice John Rooke granted the motion against the weekend events, as long as public health orders remain in place.
Rooke rejected an argument the event is a political rally. Under current health rules, political ralliesof any size can happen, but there needs to be measures in place like distancing and mask wearing.
The injunction applies to the organizers of the event, as well as any attendees present. it prohibits any future events that don't comply with current health orders.
"AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions and advertising social gatherings which, if held, breach current and active CMOH Orders and pose a risk to public health," read a release from the province.
"Previous enforcement efforts against the organizers, as well as attempts to proactively work with them to not proceed with the event have been exhausted by AHS and law enforcement partners. This injunction follows a pre-emptive injunction granted on May 6 against anyone who is organizing, promoting and/or attending an illegal public gathering that does not comply with COVID-19 public health orders.
"AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public health restrictions."
Lawyer Jay Cameron with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, who represents Ty and Gail Northcott, the organizers of the event, says his clients are disappointed with the ruling.
"The newest health order says you can have a political rally with an unlimited amount of people but the same order says if you have horses and a corral nearby you can only have 10 people," he said.
"This is one of the things about arbitrary governments. They’re not passed democratically, they’re passed by Dr. Hinshaw. The Legislature is not weighing in and Alberta needs to go back to a governance model that respects the representatives of people.”
Cameron says his clients intend to comply with Friday’s injunction but are considering other options to hold a legal political rally.
He questioned why the province is taking actions against the Northcott's rodeo when the Calgary Stampede is expected to go ahead.
“You have rules for peasants and rules for elite, and the elites make the rules and don’t comply to them themselves, which we saw with the Sky Palace," he said.
A post on social media Friday afternoon said the rodeo rally, which planned to have guest speakers, is being postponed.
"Mr. Northcott states, 'We want to be clear that we are not postponing this by our choice. This is what AHS and Justice Rooke have forced us into. Never would we have dreamed that in a free country, it would be illegal to do a rodeo rally,'" it read.
"Mr. Northcott notes that Premier Jason Kenney seems more than willing to allow the Stampede to go ahead in just a few weeks time. Adds Mr. Northcott, 'maybe Premier Kenney doesn’t like the name of our event: the ‘No More Jason Kenney Pro Rodeo Rally'."
Thousands of people attended a No More Lockdowns Rodeo Rally in a vacant lot near Bowden in early May, an event Kenney later condemned as being unsafe.
Organizers Ty and Gail Northcott were served with summons for allegedly breaching the province's Public Health Act.
With files from CTV Calgary's Teri Fikoswki.