The ex-chief medical officer of Manitoba has filed an affidavit in the legal case challenging the Civil Emergency Measures Act, which was filed in the Yukon Supreme Court court by seven Yukoners last June. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

The ex-chief medical officer of Manitoba has filed an affidavit in the legal case challenging the Civil Emergency Measures Act, which was filed in the Yukon Supreme Court court by seven Yukoners last June. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Ex-CMOH of Manitoba argues for transparent decision-making in CEMA court case

Yukon Supreme Court petition argues that CEMA violates the Charter

The ex-chief medical officer of Manitoba has filed an affidavit in the legal case challenging the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA).

Yukon Supreme Court court petition, filed by seven Yukoners last June, argues that CEMA violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It says the Yukon government has exercised the powers enabled by CEMA with “an unprecedented lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability.”

The Yukon has been in a state of emergency under CEMA since March 2020.

Joel Kettner was the latest to file an affidavit associated with the petition. He is an associate professor at the University of Manitoba and worked previously as the chief medical officer of that province.

In his affidavit, he argues that the Yukon government should have been more transparent in its decision-making before declaring the state of emergency and then extending it.

“It is my opinion that the communication of the (Path Forward) plan is lacking in important details. Either these details did not exist or it has been decided to not share them with the public,” Kettner says.

“In either case, this would be cause for concern.”

In his 12-page affidavit, Kettner argues that transparency from public health officials and government leaders is pivotal.

“This is a matter of effectiveness and ethics, similar to the expectation from a clinical physician,” Kettner writes.

“Without it, the public — or an individual patient — is not able to understand the advice — or orders — that they have been given and are less likely to comply with them. This has been my experience in public health and in clinical practice.”

The affidavit continues to request information clarifying the Yukon government’s understanding of the threat posed by COVID-19. Kettner argues that the case can’t be successfully debated without that information.

“From a public health point of view, I can see no valid argument to withhold information, data, evidence or reasoning that was used to declare or renew a state of emergency on June 12, 2020,” Kettner says.

“On the contrary, in my opinion, it is in the interest of the health of the public that all relevant information available to and how it was used by public health decision-makers (including Cabinet) during an outbreak be communicated in a timely, transparent and accessible way to the public.”

The Yukon government has not yet filed a response.

The petition argues that while the state of emergency may have been justified, the government’s opaque decision-making defies democracy.

“This decision was made behind closed doors, with no public debate, no public consultation, no justification and no explanation of its intended purpose or aim,” the petition says.

“The use of emergency powers for an extended period of time is fundamentally inconsistent with the principle of accountability that is vital to a functioning democracy. It is also antithetical to the nature of an emergency.”

The petition argues that states of emergency should be a last resort, established in the short-term to respond to an imminent threat.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

CoronavirusYukon courts

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read