Hinshaw ordered to produce material that affected his order to lift the school mask mandate

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A PowerPoint presentation and Cabinet minutes critical of Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s order to lift the mandatory wearing of masks for students in schools must be released to lawyers challenging that decision, an Edmonton judge ruled.

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In a ruling posted online on Tuesday, Queen’s Court Judge Grant Dunlop said materials that Justice Secretary Tyler Shandro claimed were immune from public interest production must be handed over. by the medical director of health.

Lawyers representing the Alberta Federation of Labor, which applied on behalf of the parents of five immunocompromised children, argued that the material should be released in its challenge to the public health order to lift the mandate.

Dunlop, who received the material for review last Wednesday, did not finalize the PowerPoint or minutes, nor did he disclose any Cabinet discussions or deliberations.

In a certificate backing his claim that the documents should remain private, Shandro said: “If cabinet members’ statements were made subject to disclosure, this could impede the free flow of discussion and harm the process of democratic governance.”

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Shandro also indicated that disclosure of the information would be “detrimental to those not involved in this litigation, as the precedent impact of being forced to disclose confidential Cabinet discussions, or materials prepared for Cabinet consideration, could impede the free flow of future Cabinet discussions”.

But the judge said that the searched material did not contain such information.

“The implication of those statements in Minister Shandro’s certificate is that the PowerPoint presentation and Cabinet minutes contain statements by Cabinet members or Cabinet discussions or deliberations. They don’t,” Dunlop said.

“The minutes establish only decisions, and not statements or discussions or deliberations between the members of the Cabinet. The PowerPoint presentation contains information about COVID in Alberta and other parts of the world, with an emphasis on what other provinces were doing and experiencing, and presents options for easing public health measures in Alberta.”

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The judge also said that disclosing the material was important to uphold the administration of justice in the case.

“In this case, the relationship between the decisions of the Cabinet and the decisions of the medical director of health is a central issue. The applicants allege improper delegation by the medical director of health to the Cabinet, while the Crown argues that the Cabinet makes political decisions and the medical director of health implements those political decisions through his order.

Dunlop said that if the government intends to appeal its ruling, it will hear a request to suspend it within the next week, and if not, Hinshaw will hand over the material then.

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On twitter: @KMartinCourts

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