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Pastor Coates denied bail

The Crown – who asked not to be named over safety fears – argued Coates’s breach of undertaking was valid, regardless if he signed.

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Pastor James Coates has been denied bail and will stay behind bars until his trial in May.

Justice Peter B. Michalyshyn, in the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench, made the ruling Friday morning stating the pastor’s continued detention was “justified” and “necessary.”

“Pastor Coates is bound by the rule of law. His refusal to the condition of release and multiple noncompliances with the stated intent to continue concerns public safety,” Michalyshyn said.

Coates’s refusal prefaced on his “strong interpretation of holy scripture” rather than an unwillingness to ensure the health of his congregation, he noted.

An affidavit by his wife Erin Coates, which spoke to the religious atmosphere at the GraceLife Church, “presented nothing new for deliberation but the depth of his [Pastor Coates] convictions,” said Michalyshyn.

“Moreover, the Charter rights infringement case does not overcome the valid public health orders mandating distancing and occupancy limits of 15 per cent.”

Coates was represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

In a Thursday bail hearing, Coates’s counsel James Kitchen argued the condition of release to stop preaching was a direct violation of Coates’s conscience and without legal precedent.

“This matter violates Pastor Coates’s Charter rights … and disobeys his God. Its justification is suspect at best, and based on theory and not evidence,” Kitchen said.

“The court has had well over half a year to put together evidence for the imposed health order, and the condition of release can only be imposed upon conviction which has not taken place.”

“Pastor Coates is not a public health threat, and won’t hurt anyone or commit a crime,” he said, adding the condition “is a stain on the courts.”

Danielle Smith interviews Erin Coates

The Crown – who asked not to be named over safety fears – argued Coates’s breach of undertaking was valid, regardless if he signed, though Kitchen found that charge “incredibly weak.”

 Erin Coates, the pastor’s wife, said in an affidavit her husband could not abide by the conditions “in good conscience.”

“These beliefs include the necessity of the whole congregation gathering physically, in person for Sunday morning services,” Erin wrote in the affidavit.

She said failure to hold Sunday services would be “an act of disobedience to Christ.”

“The restrictions imposed by the (Chief Medical Officer of Health) are hurting Grace Life congregants far more than COVID ever could,” Erin wrote.

“It would be amount to fearing man instead than fearing God.”

Erin said her husband has lost weight in jail and is having problems with his neck. He is only let out of his cell twice a day for 15 minutes at a time.

Erin said her eldest son, not fathered by James, celebrated his 18th birthday on February 25 and was “heartbroken” when the pastor wasn’t around for him to legally change his name on that day.

Coates, of GraceLife Church, was arrested by the RCMP last month and in two court appearances has so far refused to commit to a judge he won’t do it again.

He is not scheduled to go to trial until May.

Edmonton Courthouse Photo by Alex Dhaliwal, Western Standard

In a letter  to Premier Jason Kenney, the JCCF pleaded with him to free Coates and also asked him to “assume responsibility for protecting the Charter rights and freedoms of Albertans, and cease allowing the Chief Medical Officer to violate them by health orders that are not reviewed by, or approved by, the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly.”

Kenney has declined to get involved.

But last April, the government did admit they have freed certain criminals from their jails. The justice ministry said it had released all 32 offenders behind bars for failing to pay fines and let offenders serving a weekend jail sentence to serve their time on house arrest.

Since December, Coates has received numerous warnings and tickets from the AHS and RCMP for having up to 300 people at his services. Current law in Alberta says churches are allowed to open at 15 per cent capacity.

“The congregants of Grace Life hold strongly to their religious beliefs regarding the necessity of gathering in-person to worship and to minister to each other through fellowship and corporate prayer and worship, exercising their Charter freedoms peacefully,” said the JCCF.

“The Justice of the Peace ordered Pastor Coates released on the condition that he stop holding church services, a condition he could not, in good conscience, agree to. Pastor Coates is currently in jail, awaiting trial, as he will not be released unless he agrees to the condition, or the Prosecutor agrees to withdraw the condition.”

In prison since two weeks, Coates risks another two months in prison if his bail is not lifted.

The RCMP said it had tried to work with Coates to no avail.

“We’ve been consistent in our approach of escalated levels of enforcement with Pastor Coates, and we were hopeful to resolve this issue in a different manner” said Insp. Mike Lokken.

“The Pastor’s actions, and the subsequent effects those actions could have on the health and safety of citizens, dictated our response in this situation.”

The church has continued to hold packed Sunday services while Coates has been in jail.

The RCMP were on scene and said pandemic laws continue to be broken, but no further legal action has been taken.

NDP leader Rachel Notley has taken to Twitter to voice her displeasure towards GraceLife 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 to “step in and stop” those who continue to evade efforts to flatten the curve. 

Dahiwal is an Edmonton reporter for the Western Standard

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Damien Walczak

    March 6, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    I must remind Mrs. Notely that the Constitution is a document to held against the Government. The Province or State cannot make Laws that fail the Falsification, Criminal or Constitutional test(s).

    None the these Orders or Policies have seen the inside of a courtroom – compliance is 100% voluntary.

  2. Mars Hill

    March 5, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    The RCMP is an arm of the Liberal Party of Canada who is an arm of the CCP….understand

  3. BabyItsColdOutside

    March 5, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    It is ironic that the Crown Prosecutor’s name is Karen.

    Karen Thorsrud.

  4. Left Coast

    March 5, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    where’s the comments?

  5. Maggie Barber

    March 5, 2021 at 10:45 am

    You offered me 10 free articles a month, in which I signed up for. Then immediately advised me I need upgrade to read this article. How can I trust your reporting, when you misrepresent yourself to get members to pay…

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MAKICHUK: Rory, Napoleon and the Equalization reckoning

My friends, a reckoning is coming and it all begins on Monday when you enter the municipal voting booth.

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“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

Rory went camping with his wife in lovely BC about seven months ago.

That’s not his real name but it will suffice for now.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent, like in that detective television show Dragnet.

My entire life is a lengthy list of bad TV shows but that’s another story.

They parked the trailer, set up the picnic table and did what most campers do including letting out their cat, Napoleon.

Again, the name was changed to protect the cat’s innocence.

Everything was fine until it was time to go home. No Napoleon.

They searched and searched, nowhere to be found. No Napoleon.

Time eventually runs out on these matters and while it’s a heart-breaking decision, you have to move on. 

But Rory would use social media to search for his faithful cat.

Seven months later … yes, seven months, he would get a message, short and simple, with a photo.

It read “Is this your cat?”

Rory raced back, with trailer in tow — ready to spend days there if he had to.

This time he was not coming back without his furry pal.

Strangely enough, as he was parking the trailer, he looked in the mirror … a cat stood by, stoically watching.

It was skinny, in rough shape but there was no mistake — it was Napoleon.

Seven months, still alive!

He called and he came. But when he tried to pat him he pulled back. Frightened.

I better not screw this up, Rory thought, so he turned on the gentle charm. 

It worked. In minutes, Napoleon was curled up on the passenger seat headed back to Cowtown and an appointment with the vet.

According to FAQ Cats online, “a domesticated cat is unlikely to survive in the wild on its own for a considerable amount of time. Cats that have not spent time outside do not have the necessary skill set to survive in the wild by themselves.”

So tell me, how did Napoleon survive seven months on his own? It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma, like … who killed JFK?

But let me take a guess — I think he survived on his smarts.

Napoleon probably ate camp food remnants or begged from campers. Maybe he killed birds or small rodents. 

Ate spiders, bugs or anything that moved. Drank stream or rainwater.

Maybe he found a local benefactor. Who the hell knows.

All I know, is that Napoleon toughed it out. His desire to live, to survive, kept him going.

Seven months. 

Think about that for a moment. How long would you last out there?

And then there are the predators. Things that want to eat you.

This ranges from hawks, raccoons, foxes, or even bigger animals like bears, bobcats and cougars, says FAQ Cats.

Little food to be found and death all around you.

Even outdoor survival guru Bear Grylls would have a hard time with this one.

So what is my point with Napoleon’s dramatic tale of survival?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And oh my, there is a will … and every day it grows stronger.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again … and I’ll keep saying it until the day I die. It’s time Alberta goes its own way.

Either we get a new deal under confederation or we walk. 

We can do this, I know we can. Albertans … true Albertans … are a strong, resilient, hard-working people.

We want our children and grandchildren to have a future. To have good jobs, the opportunity to grow and prosper and to make our province a better place.

That does not seem likely under the Trudeau regime in Ottawa. In fact, a road of economic despair awaits us.

My friends, a reckoning is coming and it all begins on Monday when you enter the municipal voting booth.

It’s time to let those Eastern Laurentian elites know that you have had enough.

The question you will face goes like this:

Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making Equalization payments, be removed from the Constitution?

I’m voting yes, with extreme prejudice, and I hope you will do the same.

Let’s give Justin The Younger a nice kick in the squares.

Personally, I think it’s the purr-fect option.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the military editor for the Asia Times.
makichukd@gmail.com

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WS Exclusive Poll: Support for Kenney ‘grim’ as calls to resign grow

Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi described the figures for Kenney as “historically low.”

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Things aren’t getting any better for Premier Jason Kenney with a clear majority of Albertans saying he’s not doing a good job and should resign.

The poll, conducted by Mainstreet Research, shows 69% of Albertans don’t approve of the job Kenney has done. 

Only 28% of those polls think he has done a good job.

Mainstreet Research

Asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Jason Kenney is doing as Premier of Alberta?” a whopping 55% said they strongly disagreed with the statement.

Another 14% said they somewhat disapproved.

The poll found only 10% of Albertans strongly approved of the work Kenney has done, with another 18% saying they somewhat approved.

Pollsters found 3% who didn’t know.

Kenney does appear to have some support from people who say they are going to vote for the UCP next election. A total of 77% either strongly or somewhat approved of his leadership. With 22% saying he’s not doing a good job.

There’s also anger in the rural areas with 61% of people in the north of the province disapproving of Kenney, in the south disapproval is at 65%.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

Amongst NDP voters, not unsurprisingly, 90% disapproved of the job he is doing. A total of 75% of Wildrose Independence Party supporters said they weren’t happy with Kenney.

When pollsters asked if “do you think Jason Kenney should resign as premier?” a total of 58% said yes, 29% said no and 13% weren’t sure.

A total of 73% of UCP voters said Kenney should stay and ride out the storm.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi described the figures for Kenney as “historically low.”

“It’s pretty grim, very dire. It’s shocking to me,” said Maggi.

Maggi said Kenney is sitting at a negative 41 — the difference between supporters and opponents. He said only embattled former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne has similar numbers before her election wipeout in 2018.

“That’s a historically high number in Canada,” said Maggi.

“The only way back now for the UCP is through new leadership.”

Maggi said Kenney is paying the price for his perceived bungling of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Most people are just looking for another option before the next election.”

The analysis in this report is based on the results of a survey conducted on October 12-13 2021 among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher in each subsample. Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding. 

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NDP support holding strong across Alberta

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

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The UCP would be gutted and Rachel Notley back as premier if an election were held today, an exclusive new poll done for the Western Standard shows.

The Mainstreet Research poll shows Notley’s NDP currently has the support of 41% of Albertans with Jason Kenney’s UCP well back at 25%

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

The upstart Wildrose Independence Party collect 11% support in the new poll, with 5% siding with the Alberta Party, with the Liberals and Greens at 1% each. A total of 14% of voters were undecided.

Wildrose leader Paul Hinman polls best among people who are refusing to get vaccinated. When they were asked, 34% chose Wildrose, 29% for the UCP and only 2% for the NDP.

If the undecided are removed from the poll, the NDP checks in with 45%, the UCP with 29%, the WIP with 13% and the AP with 6%

In that poll, the NDP is also leading in Alberta’s two major cities. In Edmonton, the NDP has 62% support with the UCP at 21% In Calgary, the NDP leads with 48% support and the UCP at 31%.

Rural areas seem split. Northern rural areas favour Kenney 34% to 29% for Notley. Southern rural areas like Notley at 32% with Kenney at 29%.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

“Things are looking pretty grim for Kenney,” said Mainstreet CEO and President Quito Maggi.

“It’s 18 months until the next election, and that can be an eternity, but numbers in this realm for the better part of a year, with no positive movement, shows the trouble he is in.”

Maggi said he was a little surprised by the lead of Notley in Calgary, normally a Conservative bastion.

“It speaks of the personal unpopularity of Jason Kenney himself. The policies of the NDP probably aren’t supported in Calgary but they are willing to vote for the candidate that will defeat Kenney,” he said.

Maggi noted Kenney is now getting it from both sides of the political spectrum and the WIP is taking enough to leave Notley with a majority victory. He predicted an NDP victory would only be by one or two seats.

The analysis in this report is based on the results of a survey conducted on October 12-13 2021 among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Mar- gins of error are higher in each subsample. 

Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding. 

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