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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.




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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  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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LEAK: UCP caucus meeting to discuss leaks to the Western Standard

The leak of this story took place while the meeting to discuss the leaks is currently underway.




The UCP caucus is currently holding an emergency meeting to discuss a series of leaks, with several sensitive discussions finding their way to publication in the Western Standard in recent months. The leak of this story took place while the meeting to discuss the leaks is currently underway.

Two MLAs that spoke on condition of anonymity told the Western Standard said that Kenney called the emergency meeting with no formal agenda presented in advance, but that the meeting is currently focused on finding and potentially punishing the sources.

A significant number of UCP MLAs have been unnamed sources in recent Western Standard news stories, including three MLAs that said Kenney – when discussing attendees of the rogue rodeo in Bowden – told them, “If they are our base, I want a new base.”

MLAs were told attendance at the hastily called meeting was “mandatory.”

The drama started around midnight Thursday morning when Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership was dealt another serious blow as the first MLA in his own caucus called for him to step down.

Todd Loewen, UCP MLA for Central Peace-Notley in northwest Alberta, published a scathing letter around midnight in the first minutes of May 13, saying Kenney refuses to listen to the public and to caucus members, that his leadership has failed, and UCP supports have abandoned Kenney specifically.

Loewen used the letter to inform Kenney he was immediately stepping down as chairman of the UCP caucus.

The letter takes direct aim at Kenney’s caucus management, premiership, and leadership over the party. 

“I no longer believe caucus can function properly; meetings have been cancelled without members’ consent, significant decisions of government have been made without notice to members, and our input as elected members is rarely considered,” wrote Loewen. “Additionally, I feel it is best to resign this position [caucus chairman] to be able to speak freely.

“The government’s response to a hostile federal government has been perceived as weak and ineffective. Albertans have lost trust in the leadership of our government and are no longer willing to extend to us any benefit of the doubt on most issues.” 

Loewen’s remarks also took direct aim at Kenney’s personal leadership.

“The caucus dysfunction that we are presently experiencing is a direct result of your leadership. The people of Alberta have lost trust in this government because you have not brought needed balance and reason to the discussion. Albertans and our UCP party members deserve better,” he wrote.

“I thank you for your service, but I am asking that you resign so that we can begin to put the province back together again.”

The letter comes as Kenney’s leadership is already on the ropes. More than a dozen UCP constituency associations have already passed special resolutions demanding a leadership review, however Kenney poured cold water on the idea, pushing the vote to just six months before the next election

Growing caucus tension also bubbled to the surface when 17 UCP MLAs signed an open letter condemning Kenney for putting Alberta back under a third lockdown. Kenney’s dismissal of the letter led to a series of leaks from the UCP caucus, with several MLAs telling the Western Standard the premier threatened them with an early election if they did not have confidence in his leadership.

Soon after the rogue rodeo in Bowden, Alta. to protest the third lockdown, UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney said in reference to the attendees, ““If they are our base, I want a new base.”

Kenney denied the story as “fake news” and said that the comments were only referring to people making death threats against him, but UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney was “lying.”

This story will be updated as the caucus meeting continues.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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Conservatives remove Twitter ad after outrage

The ad was an attack on the Justin Trudeau government’s vaccine rollout across the country.




Erin O’Toole has admitted the Conservative Party was behind a social media ad that drew howls of disgust.

He confirmed the party took down the ad at the height of the outcry.

Conservative ad

The ad was an attack on the Justin Trudeau government’s vaccine rollout across the country.

This week, in the latest setback, several provinces announced they were halting second injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine over fears of blood clots.

The ad showed people celebrating summer after having two shots of vaccine entitled “Two Dose Summer.”

That photo was placed atop of one called “Trudeau Summer” showing what appears to be a COVID-19 victim in rough shape in hospital.

“I didn’t think attack adds in Canada could go lower than the infamous Chrétien “face ad”…they may have just done so,” said a Twitter user identified as Red Moose.

“Long ago I reached the conclusion that the CPC doesn’t want the electorate to take them seriously. Why can’t Canada have a credible opposition?” said Wally Kibler.

“When this is all over and we are finally able to live a normal life remember that Erin O’Toole and his team mocked our collective efforts, as a society, with childish and mean attack ads in an effort to score a political point,” said Adam Bolt.

When question Friday, O’Toole didn’t say whether or not he personally approved the ad.

But he did say the tweet detracted the serious discussion about vaccine supply and reopening plans, which is why it was removed

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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BREAKING: CBC loses lawsuit against CPC for using clips in ads

The lawsuit alleged CBC clips used in CPC ads were “taken out of context and are edited and relied on to make partisan points for the benefit” of the party.




The CBC has lost its lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada over its use of CBC material in ads during the 2019 federal election.

In October 2019, the CBC served notice it wanted the Conservative Party of Canada and its executive director, Dustin Van Vugt, to acknowledge the party “engaged in the unauthorized use of copyright-protected material.”

The lawsuit alleged CBC clips used in CPC ads were “taken out of context and are edited and relied on to make partisan points for the benefit” of the party.

The clips were taken from The National and from the “Power Panel” segment of Power and Politics.

“The CBC has not established that it has suffered some adverse impacts from the Respondents’ use of its Works in the ‘attack ads’, nor should such adverse impacts be assumed,” said the ruling by Federal Court Justice Michael L. Phelan.

“The CBC expresses concern that its material is being used in a non-partisan way which affects its journalistic integrity and damages its reputation for neutrality.

“There is no objective evidence of the likelihood of any reputational damage. After all the years of political coverage in multiple democracies, there was no evidence presented that a broadcaster’s segment disclosed in a partisan setting reflected adversely on the broadcaster.

“The role of the CBC itself has been a political topic. There may be situations in the future where the manner of use and distribution of CBC material may adversely affect the CBC – however, that is not the case here.

“Given the Court’s findings that the Respondents’ use of CBC copyrighted material was for an allowable purpose and was “fair dealing”, this matter must be dismissed with costs at the usual scale.”

The ruling delighted Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre.

“CBC was supposed to cover the Conservative Party fairly during the election. Instead, CBC was launching a failed lawsuit against the party. Today, CBC lost that lawsuit. They should apologize for launching it & reveal the legal bills they charged taxpayers,” he tweeted after the ruling.

“CBC sued to stop Conservatives from using footage showing Trudeau in a bad light. The state broadcaster was protecting Trudeau, not copyright. Remember that next time you see another glowing CBC story about the Prime Minister.”

You can read the courts full judgement here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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