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Church pastor arrested for holding service in defiance of lockdown

Notley applauded the arrest and said that open defiance must be stopped.

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With severe COVID-19 restrictions still in place, some religious congregations across the Alberta are starting to push back harder against what they see as restrictions on their freedoms.

On February 8, 2021, Parkland County RCMP laid charges against James Coates, the Grace Life Church pastor, in contravention of Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act, for being over capacity and failing to adhere to physical distancing requirements.  

Coates has been served an Undertaking with conditions and is to attend Provincial Court in Stony Plain on March 31, 2021.

Local RCMP confirmed that in December, a violation ticket was issued to the pastor, and on February 7, the pastor was arrested and released with a court appearance date.

NDP leader Rachel Notley took to Twitter to voice her displeasure towards Grace Life Church.

“We cannot have open defiance of public health orders while the vast majority of Albertans do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Notley.

She urged the premier and the Alberta government – who has yet to publicly respond on the matter – to “step in and stop” those who continue to evade efforts to flatten the curve. 

Since early December, the RCMP has been working with AHS in an ongoing investigation into the activities surrounding the church’s non-compliance. 

On February 7, the RCMP, along with the Public Health Inspector with AHS, attended the church and determined that the facility was over double the current restricted capacity level. 

The church proceedings were not interrupted by the RCMP, and Coates was cooperative with the RCMP following the service’s end.

“There are many different discussions and considerations at play in relation to the Grace Life Church and their non-compliance,” says Inspector Mike Lokken, Detachment Commander of Parkland RCMP.  

“We have ensured that the church is well aware of the conditions that they need to follow, and they have been afforded repeated opportunities to comply,” he said. “In collaboration with AHS, we have now followed up with escalated enforcement.”

Occupancy limits on places of worship remain at 15 per cent occupancy across the province, per AHS public health measures.

Alex Dhaliwal is a reporter for the Western Standard

News

Rebel UCP MLA Barnes blasts Kenney on COVID and a PST

Barnes said his Cypress-Medicine Hat constituents are “suffering extreme fatigue” and are frustrated Premier Jason Kenney didn’t open more of the province

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Renegade UCP MLA Drew Barnes is blasting his own government with two barrels – over COVID-19 lockdown regulations and a possible provincial sales tax.

Barnes said his Cypress-Medicine Hat constituents are “suffering extreme fatigue” and are frustrated Premier Jason Kenney didn’t open more of the province on Tuesday when he announced a slight relaxation of some restrictions.

Despite reaching benchmark to move onto Phase 2 of reopening, Kenney only allowed gyms to start offering some services and for libraries to open at 15 per cent capacity.

“Some of my colleagues (in caucus) are finally starting to push back – it’s going to be an interesting few weeks in politics,” Barnes said in an interview with the Western Standard.

Barnes tweet

“The government has lost the trust of some people here. The benchmarks were set and met. Albertans have done the hard work. But now the mental and economic crisis is just as bad as the COVID crisis.

Barnes noted his area only has about 10-12 COVID-19 cases at the moment.

“I’ve had a few people tell me they are just going to open now regardless. I’m urging everone to respect the rules,” Barnes said.

“I’m calling on Premier Kenney and the Chief Medical Officer of Health to recognize the mental and economic crisis is just as bad as the COVID-19 one.”

At a press conference this week, Kenney again refused to rule out introducing a PST – and Barnes again blasted the idea.

“It is time for the government to make some strong decisions when it comes to getting its spending in line,” Barnes told the Western Standard.

Barnes tweet

He noted experts have said if Alberta brought its spending in line with other provinces, it could reduce the deficit to nothing.

“It’s time for taxpayers to start demanding more for their money,” he said.

Barnes has been critical of his UCP on numerous policies – from centralizing EMS dispatch to the slowness of bringing in a provincial police force.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

REVISED: Wheatland County calls on Kenney to ease COVID restrictions

The motion’s sponsor, Coun. Jason Wilson, told the Western Standard his constituents aren’t happy with Kenney and his COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

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An Alberta county has adopted a motion demanding the provincial government take steps towards easing their COVID-19 restrictions.

The motion in Wheatland County passed by a vote of 5-2 Tuesday night and will now be forwarded to Premier Jason Kenney and his cabinet.

Coun. Jason Wilson, told the Western Standard his constituents aren’t happy with Kenney and his COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“It continues to go from bad to worse,” said Wilson, admitting he has coffee with some of his constituents, also a breach of pandemic laws.

He said the fiasco that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccine rollout has become shows Alberta is better to go it alone.

Jason Wilson

“This proves how little Alberta needs Canada. If we were independent, we could have everyone vaccinated by now,” said Wilson adding his area’s disappointment that Kenney’s loosening of regulations on Monday only allowed libraries to reopen.

“By sending the motion to Premier Kenney we hope to see a different approach from them and a faster pace of things.”

It’s not the first time Wilson has disagreed with Kenney.

A 2019 motion by Wilson, called for an end to equalization payments, the creation of a provincial police force, be in charge of collecting Alberta income tax revenue and control of immigration.

The Kenney government has made slight steps to getting a better deal for the province in Confederation. He has formed the Alberta Parole Board and set up panels to study other issue like taxation and setting up a provincial police force.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

U.S. environmental groups poured $2.4 billion in 2019 to further climate change ideology

Ludwig warned had the finances from these groups also been included, the final numbers might be double or even three times current figures.

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New research from the Capital Research Center, an American-based think tank, reveals environmental groups poured a record $2.4 billion in 2019 to further left-wing climate change ideology.

“This stunning figure contrasts with the environmentalist movement’s self-image as David vs. Goliath: impoverished, idealistic eco-activists outgunned by powerful interests in the “fossil fuel” industry,” said its Senior Investigative Researcher, Hayden Ludwig.

He said Liberals have long claimed the Right outguns environmentalists despite holding the country’s best-funded special interests.

However, a 2018 misleading study measuring the income of broadly right-leaning groups focused on a host of issues, including welfare, telecom regulation, agricultural policy, etc., to produce the claim conservatives spend $1 billion per year to stop action on climate change, amounting to a 10 to 1 disparity with environmental groups.

CRC examined the finances of 166 left-leaning policy, activist, litigation, and research organizations along with any associated political action committees (PACs) that primarily focus on climate change or environmental regulation. 

The think-tank captured their revenues, expenditures, and the amounts of grants they paid out in 2019 using publicly available Form 990 findings.

Their inquiry found these organizations raked in $2.67 billion from donors, nearly all of whom remain undisclosed. These organizations, including special interests, spent a whopping $2.43 billion paying staffers, attorneys, activists, professional fundraisers, and researchers and lobbying for environmental regulations. 

“In the case of 501(c)(4) groups and PACs, they also helped elect Democrats and oppose Republicans in the 2019-2020 election cycle,” said Ludwig, as mostly left-leaning nonprofits received $435 million in grants.

“These figures don’t include lobbying by private firms for renewables subsidies, left-wing groups with a broader focus than climate change or the environment or eco-Right groups, self-identified “conservative” organizations that support carbon taxes and other global warming policies.” 

He warned had the finances from these groups also been included, the final numbers might be double or even three times current figures.

“The tax status of these organizations sheds light on the distribution of funds within the environmental movement,” said Ludwig. 

With 111 of 166 groups IRS-designated 501(c)(3) public charities, donations provided to them are tax-deductible. The 501(c)(3) nonprofits account for the overwhelming majority of finances CRC traced.

CRC traced 83.95 per cent or $2.24 billion of the $2.7 billion in total revenues uncovered, 83.1% of $2.02 billion of the $2.4 billion in total expenditures found, and 78.5% or $342 million of the $435 million in grants paid.

Of the 166 groups, 46 are 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofits, which are permitted to spend significantly more on lobbying than their 501(c)(3) counterparts. 

The top 20 biggest spenders also number among the loudest voices pushing environmental regulations:

  1. World Wildlife Fund: $236 million
  2. Environmental Defense Fund: $188.6 million
  3. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): $173 million
  4. Sierra Club: $150 million
  5. World Resources Institute: $120.8 million
  6. National Audubon Society: $118 million
  7. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): $109.9 million
  8. Sierra Club Foundation: $93.9 million
  9. National Wildlife Federation: $89.7 million
  10. EarthJustice: $78 million
  11. League of Conservation Voters: $66.5 million
  12. NextGen Climate Action Committee: $56.8 million
  13. NextGen Climate Action: $54 million
  14. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): $53.5 million
  15. Rocky Mountain Institute: $45 million
  16. Resources Legacy Fund: $42.3 million
  17. Union of Concerned Scientists: $40.7 million
  18. Greenpeace: $37.7 million
  19. Oceana: $36 million
  20. League of Conservation Voters Education Fund: $34.8 million

“These are the titans of “Green” Activism Inc. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars to pass the socialist Green New Deal and promote radical global warming legislation that promises to jack up household electricity prices and enable the Left’s war on science,” said Ludwig.

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s reporter based in Edmonton.

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