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UPDATED: Judge delays decision on bail for Coates

The Crown asked not to be named over safety fears.

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Pastor James Coates will have to wait one more day to learn if he will get bail.

Justice Peter B. Michalyshyn, in the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench, made the ruling Thursday afternoon. Coates was represented by the Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms.

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.”

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 schedule 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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Mars Hill

    March 4, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    The RCMP is an arm of the Liberal Party who is basically an arm of the CCP; ask Dr Tam about this situation, she’d be able to bring everybody up to speed.

  2. JSon Kenney

    March 4, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    The whole system is corrupt. We have no legal system. This is clear. The people now must dismantle this judge, the rcmp, hinshaw and Kenney… they all have to face court of the people since the court system we fund has failed.

  3. Left Coast

    March 4, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    This is just so Illegal & CCP style on all fronts . . .

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BREAKING: Omicron found in Alberta

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

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The tentacles of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have reached Alberta.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said an Albertan returning home from Nigeria, via the Netherlands, has tested positive for Omicron.

Hinshaw said they tested positive a week ago and the person, who traveled alone, is now self-quarantining.

She said medical officials are trying to “delay” the spread of the variant until more research is done.

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

Hinshaw also urged people not to take out their frustrations against the family of the infected person nor the countries that are under an Omicron watch.

In her daily update, Hinshaw said in the last 24 hours, health officials have found 238 new cases of coronavirus. There are 434 people in the hospital with 81 in ICU. Another six people are reported to have succumbed to the virus.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

Six confirmed cases of the variant of concern have now been confirmed in Canada so far.

Earlier in the day, Canada added Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to its Omicron travel ban.

On Friday, the government put restrictions on travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

“Obviously we’re watching very, very closely the situation with Omicron,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on his way into the cabinet meeting.

“There may be more we need to do and we’ll be looking at it very carefully.”

More to come…

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

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Unvaxxed grounded in Canada

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

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As of Tuesday, Canadian travellers over the age of 12 will no longer be able to fly or travel by train in Canada without proof of vaccination.

The policy was originally set to come into effect on October 30, however, the federal government announced it would grant a grace period to unvaccinated travellers allowing for a negative COVID-19 test to be provided within 72 hours of the trip.

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

The new travel restrictions for the unvaccinated come on the heels of the emergence of a new variant of concern (VOC) dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cases involving the new variant, originally detected in South Africa, have been found in other countries including five cases within Canada.

Although there is not much known about the new variant at this time, the WHO confirmed scientists around the world are working to determine how the highly-mutated variant will affect transmissibility and severity of illness in the population.

Canada, along with other nations, closed its boards and expanded its screening protocols to travellers arriving from affected areas in southern Africa.

The Canadian airline industry welcomed the vaccine mandates when they were announced in October. Air Canada and West Jet have both confirmed they will be asking all travellers to produce proof of vaccination before boarding their carriers as of Tuesday.

While health measures such as masking and screening will still be required, no measures for quarantining individual travellers have been put in place with the exception of those who have travelled through or arrived from southern Africa.

“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” the government indicated in a statement.

The Canadian government is also warning permanent residents abroad to expect to provide vaccine passports to return home.

The rules don’t apply to commuter trains.

The Government of Canada has created a “reliable way to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination history when travelling internationally and within Canada,” states the government’s website. The document is verified once uploaded to ArriveCAN upon returning to the country.

The website warns travellers are not guaranteed entry to another country with the documents and suggests checking the rules of your destination country and the countries you travel through.

“Today, Canada passed a sad milestone in its history,” said Matt Slatter, a pilot with a major Canadian airline and a founder of Free 2 Fly, a hub that has “Canadian aviation professionals standing with passengers in defence of freedom.”

“No longer can it hold itself as a beacon of freedom and liberal values.”

The Free 2 Fly website encourages passengers and airline workers who “feel strongly that the ability to travel should not be linked to vaccination status,” to sign up and join their movement.

“With the advent of mandates requiring all aviation and rail passengers to be vaccinated, Canada is now effectively a two-tier society,” said Slatter.

“On one tier, compliant citizens are afforded many of the rights they once enjoyed in a free society. While the other tier is essentially relegated to their own localities, with limited exception.

“History suggests this style of governance will only lead to more tragedy and heartbreak. The cure is inevitably worse than the disease. Will Canada learn from the mistakes of the past?”

Currently, there are just under 38,000 signed up on the Free 2 Fly site. One of the goals of the group is to “wage a legal campaign to block, and/or overturn, all vaccination mandates.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

CRTC trying to hang up on spoof calls

Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

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All those calls from the taxman and Canadian Border Services officials threatening to arrest you could soon be coming to an end thanks to new regulations from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“Many Canadians are now able to determine which calls can be trusted thanks to a new technology aimed at combating spoofed calls named STIR/SHAKEN. Caller ID spoofing is frequently used in nuisance and fraudulent calls to mask the identity of the caller,” said the CRTC in a release.

“As of today, telecommunications service providers will certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new technology will help reduce the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing. As service providers continue to upgrade their IP networks and offer compatible phones to their customers, more and more Canadians will be able to see the effects of STIR/SHAKEN.”

It’s believed up to 25% of all calls in Canada are scams.

The CRTC said Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

“This new caller ID technology will empower Canadians to determine which calls are legitimate and worth answering, and which need to be treated with caution. As more providers upgrade their networks, STIR/SHAKEN will undoubtedly reduce spoofing and help Canadians regain peace of mind when answering phone calls,” said Ian Scott, CRTC CEO.

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