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UPDATE: RCMP raid GraceLife Church; JCCF ‘outraged’ by ‘unjustified violation’ of Charter

Police and workers are constructing a barricade around GraceLife.

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With the police’s help, Alberta Health Services (AHS) barricaded GraceLife Church (GLC) at dawn Wednesday, preventing access to the building until the church complies with Alberta’s public health measures.

The church, just outside Edmonton, under Pastor James Coates, has been breaking COVID-19 lockdown regulations every Sunday by holding packed services.

Coates recently spent 35 days in solitary confinement at the Edmonton Remand Centre after turning himself in willingly for breaking COVID-19 public health measures.

He was released without conditions in advance of his trial on May 3.

His wife Erin Coates took to social media Wednesday to voice her frustrations over the continued antagonism faced by the GraceLife congregation.

“This is what happens when you have freedom of religion in a free and democratic society: they jail your pastor for freely opening the doors of the church and serving Christ’s sheep and hurting people. Now they’ve chained the doors of GraceLife Church enclosing in chain link fence,” said Erin Coates.

Opposed to the stance taken by AHS, she said, “Christ has and will prevail” for the “blood-bought people” of the GraceLife congregation.

“For all those who find satisfaction in this – you cannot stop the gospel. The name of Jesus Christ will go forth with even more power and conviction. The Word of God will sound out across this nation accomplishing all the work God has ordained to glorify Himself,” said Erin Coates.

NDP leader Rachel Notley rejoiced over Alberta Health Services taking further steps to enforce public health orders at GLC.

“I hope the members of GraceLife’s congregation take this opportunity to learn from the leadership of so many other communities in this province that have continued to practice their faith in a manner that is safe for not only themselves but the broader Alberta community,” she said.

Erin Coates urged Albertans to pray for those who “still think this is about a virus and health order,” referring to ongoing government narratives as degrading to our Charter and Criminal Code.

“God have mercy on our nation. I pray for their souls.”

According to an AHS press release, they have attempted to work collaboratively with GraceLife for several months to address the site’s ongoing public health concerns.

On December 17, 2020, AHS issued an order requiring GraceLife to comply with the province’s public health measures.

On January 21, 2021, AHS obtained a Court of Queen’s Bench Order requiring them to comply with the previous order. A Closure Order was issued a week later, requiring closure until they attained compliance with the restrictions.

“GLC has decided not to follow these mandatory restrictions, nor have they attempted to work with AHS to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” said the AHS press release.

On March 27, 2021, AHS sent a letter to Coates providing him with information on the continued spread of COVID-19. Last week, they invited Coates to meet virtually to discuss the risks presented by COVID-19. However, the church has not provided any dates to meet.

“With COVID-19 cases increasing and the more easily-transmitted and potentially more severe variants becoming dominant, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans,” said the release.

From July 10, 2020, to April 6, 2021, AHS has received 105 complaints from the public about GLC.

AHS inspectors, who were denied entry by Church elders last Sunday, have conducted 18 inspections at the site since July 10, 2020, and violations were observed at each visit.

There have been no outbreaks reported to health officials or confirmed during the course of the pandemic at GraceLife.

AHS recommends places of worship to observe alternate service options to limit congregants’ in-person attendance and prevent further outbreaks.

They suggest remote participation and “drive-by”, “drive-through”, or “drive-in” services while remaining inside their vehicle.

Restrictions on places of worship across the province remain at 15 per cent indoor capacity in light of the Alberta government’s rollbacks on its COVID-19 response.

When asked last week if they were directing AHS’s approach surrounding GLC, Health spokesperson Steve Buick said it would “not be appropriate for politicians to direct specific law enforcement actions regarding an individual.”

He said Health Minister Tyler Shandro expects all Albertans to follow the province’s public health measures.

Representing Pastor Coates and Grace Life Church, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms expressed outrage at the Alberta Government’s decision to enter and put up a double barrier wall around private church property today.

The Justice Centre will challenge the constitutionality of Dr. Deena’s Hinshaw’s Health Orders in Court, arguing they are an unjustified violation of peaceful assembly, association, and worship.

These concerns with lockdowns have been communicated to the Alberta Government repeatedly since April of 2020.
 
“The Alberta government has known for many months that it will be called to publicly account before the judiciary for its lockdown destruction of the Alberta economy and trampling of Albertan’s civil liberties,” states lawyer John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.
 
“The government has so far refused to justify the limits on worship and gathering. Health orders are inconsistent, differing from province to province, and arbitrarily created by one public health official who is under no obligation legally to advise the legislatures of the science and rationale which supposedly are the basis of the orders,” continues Carpay.
 
The Justice Centre is in the process of filing a subpoena to require Alberta Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw to testify at the trial of Pastor Coates on May 3, 2021.

The Alberta Government Crown Prosecutor is requesting the Court adjourn the May 3 trial, claiming the government needs until summer to assemble its evidence.

Dhaliwal is an Edmonton reporter for the Western Standard

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    April 8, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Whoever ordered this insanity needs to be locked up . . .
    The Feckless RCMP should be run out of Alberta . . . do they think they are in East Germany?

    Church is dangerous and Costco is just fine . . . so Bat-Chit Krazy . . .

  2. Joc2257

    April 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Who is the fascist communist a-hole that ordered this dictatorial move?

  3. Damien Walczak

    April 8, 2021 at 8:00 am

    This a complete abuse of power. Grace Life Church was sealed of based entirely upon a “What if” argument.

    Good luck in Court with that strategy, Mrs. Hinshaw ..

  4. John Lankers

    April 7, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    There will be a reckoning and only God knows what its gonna be.

  5. Left Coast

    April 7, 2021 at 9:39 am

    These same “Police” I suspect have been harassing the local Mosques during the pandemic too . . . yes?

    The “Police” have lots a tremendous amount of credibility and image during the PlanDemic . . . I doubt if they ever get it back. Don’t these dopes understand that long after this insanity is over they still have to live in the communit? Unless of course they are RCMP and can transfer back to Keybec or the MerryTimes.

  6. Steve Birtwistle

    April 7, 2021 at 9:36 am

    This type of gross government and law enforcement overreach is completely unacceptable and mirrors the actions of past dictatorial régimes to a frightening extent.

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Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

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A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

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

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Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

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

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

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

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