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Alberta government attorney rejects allegations school mask mandate was lifted due to 'flammable' border protests

Government lawyers were heard on Thursday, the second day of a court hearing on the Alberta government's sudden withdrawal of mask requirements for school children. February.

Gary Zimmerman, an attorney representing the government of Alberta, said, "Applicants are not trying to paint a picture that the revocation of the mask mandate was made for an irrelevant or inappropriate purpose. Interesting. 

A family of five immunocompromised children and the Alberta Labor Union (AFL) are calling for a review of the decision made at the February 8 cabinet meeting.Alberta The state's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, presented various options to the Cabinet as the number of cases declined.

A press conference was held later in the day to limit restrictions.

Removal of the mandatory mask requirement for school children took effect on February 14. 

The group's lawyers said Wednesday that Dr. Abandoned her powers as a minister, claiming she had failed to meet her duty to protect medically vulnerable schoolchildren.

They advocated mask mandates in Alberta schools. It said the decision to remove was not consistent with public health advice and was instead made by government officials for political reasons, such as "suppressing protests" at the Coutts border crossing. 15}

On Thursday, it was the government's turn to respond.

"While they refer to the flammable situation at Coutts, Dr. Hinshaw — or the Cabinet, or for that matter — was motivated by the politics of 

He argued that this decision 

"The latest relevant statistics, jurisdictional scans, science, effectiveness of interventions, … , and That includes the fact that requiring children to wear masks is not without consequences," he said.

"The decision... was made in good faith, using our best judgment based on the information available at the time."

Under their guidance, students are allowed to make their own decisions regarding mask use.

"Therefore, with respect to this particular matter, we are returning Alberta to its pre-pandemic state," he told the court.

According to the Applicant's legal team, the children at the center of this lawsuit were either as a result of having to miss school or, in another case, because they had social responsibilities. I suffered isolation, alienation, and bullying. They were the only ones wearing masks at school.

Health over education

Zimmermann said the removal of mandatory mask orders forced families to choose between their children's health and education. That's not true, he told Judge Grant Dunlop. He said no children were prevented from attending school and there was no evidence that anyone was isolated from their classmates.

"None of these people appear to have been affected in relation to being unable to attend school because they removed their masks," he said.

Applicants say they are not seeking restoration of statewide authority. 

Instead, their attorneys, her Orlagh O'Kelly and Sharon Roberts, declared that it was not her Hinshaw who made the decision and that she could not extradite in the future. I am asking the judge to Power supply to cabinet.

Zimmerman noted that there was no record of detailed discussions held during the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Implementation of Priorities . However, he claims that Hinshaw made the decision because Hinshaw recommended it as an option and signed the order. suggesting that she remained critically involved," Zimmerman said. 

Mr. Roberts said in his closing remarks that the government had been unable to prove why mask mandates were suddenly lifted.

"The government's message seems to be 'I can't see anything here.'"

"What we heard today. ... Children must be a child, that's the explanation given then, that's the explanation given today, and that's what you can make a decision about. There was nothing else," Roberts said.

Dunlop said it would likely take weeks to review all the evidence.

Brian Raby is an enterprise reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have any good article ideas or tips, bryan.labby@cbc.ca or Twitter @CBCBryan