The Full Gospel Outreach Centre in Prince Albert is going to court after the church allegedly violated Saskatchewan’s coronavirus restrictions in October.
Speaking to the Battlefords Regional News-Optimist, lawyer Sarah Miller said she questions the legality of the restrictions that were used to fine her client.
“I took this case because I am concerned with the ‘laws’ being made across the country by non-legislators. Orders, like the current Public Health Order made Nov. 26, 2020, for Saskatchewan, are being published at a fast rate with seemingly little regard for any other aspect of society besides public health,” she said.
“Often, I’ve seen their inexperience with these new structures result in misapplication of the law and Charter breaches.”
In October, the church was fined $14,000 for non-compliance of Saskatchewan’s public health guidelines for places of worship.
The Full Gospel Outreach Centre runs an outreach program that assists the city’s homeless and drug addicts.
Saskatchewan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has said 86 cases of coronavirus have been traced to individuals that have attended the Full Gospel Outreach Centre. Pastor Vern Temple says it is very hard to teach marginalized people how to follow the extensive list of new rules.
Pastor Temple added that the real source of the outbreak was a member of the church that contracted the coronavirus while working at a casino.
“They want to take our building, close it down and demolish it, for no consideration of what we are trying to do, reach out to marginalized people,” he said.
“The mayor doesn’t understand the people we are trying to minister to, and if he doesn’t understand the people we are trying to minister to, then he doesn’t understand us.”
The church’s first court appearance is scheduled for March 1 at the Prince Albert Provincial Court.