The Line in the BC Sand

As we wrote recently, British Columbia currently has a total prohibition on public religious services; what is of most concern to Catholics is the lack of public Masses and other sacraments. Toronto recently won a limited victory, of sorts (see the Oliver Twist and Mr. Bumble analogy in a recent post), which in this case is like the Church getting a second helping of watery porridge – going from a limited capacity of ten people per church, to ten percent capacity. It’s something, and may keep things going for a while.

Religious leaders and their lawyers in BC also fought back through the legal process, going to the Supreme Court of the province; but the recent decision by Chief Justice Hinkson went against them. As one communique from ARPA Canada put it:

The churches at the centre of this case argued that these restrictions unreasonably infringed the freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association – all four of the Charter’s fundamental freedoms. Attorney General lawyers conceded that three of these freedoms were in fact infringed, and Chief Justice Hinkson agreed with the petitioners with respect to all four. However, he decided that these infringements were reasonable given the circumstances.

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