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JCCF says government won’t have to bring scientific evidence to trial of Pastor Coates

That means the judge will allow the trial to go ahead, but government lawyers won’t have to produce scientifically-backed evidence that Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s lockdown is constitutionally valid.

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The Alberta government will not have to provide scientific evidence to support COVID-19 lockdowns when it brings Pastor James Coates to trial next month, says the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

The JCCF, whose lawyers will represent Coates in the May 3 trial, issued a statement Friday saying the government lawyers told the court they would not be able to gather all their evidence by that date.

That means the judge will allow the trial to go ahead, but government lawyers won’t have to produce scientifically-backed evidence that Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s lockdown is constitutionally valid.

“Pastor Coates’ Charter challenge to the constitutionality and legality of Dr. Hinshaw’s orders will be heard by the Court at an unknown later date,” said the JCCF in a statement.

Coates and GraceLife Church, near Stony Plain, are charged with violating the Public Health Act for holding packed church services after more than one year of government restrictions.

Coates spent one month and six days in jail before his release on March 22 because he would not sign an agreement to stop pastoring his church according to the congregation’s beliefs.

“The Justice Centre was, and still is, prepared to present extensive scientific and expert witness medical evidence at Pastor Coates’ trial that demonstrate Dr. Hinshaw’s lockdown orders are unscientific, unnecessary and ineffective,” said the statement.

“After 13 months of violating Charter freedoms, the Alberta government refuses to present evidence in support of lockdowns in court, and unfortunately the courts have permitted the government to delay facing accountability in regard to Charter violations,” said John Carpay, President of the JCCF.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. It is clear that the government’s approach to any challenge to its lockdown policies is to withhold the evidence and delay as long as it can.”

“We are now in our thirteenth month of Charter-violating lockdowns, in what was supposed to be a temporary two-week measure to flatten the curve. By May 3, the government will have had fourteen months to assemble proper medical and scientific evidence to justify lockdowns and the resulting violations of our fundamental Charter freedoms. For the Alberta government to request that it not be required to provide evidence on May 3 in support of Dr. Hinshaw’s Orders, while at the same time barricading the church, is both reprehensible and pathetic.”

“The Alberta government supposedly has enough medical and scientific evidence to shut down hundreds of small businesses, pushing many of them into bankruptcy and to cancel over 20,000 medically necessary surgeries, and to force Albertans into a third lockdown. But when asked to produce this medical and scientific evidence at trial, the Alberta government declares itself incapable of doing so.”

“Albertans who are suffering financially, emotionally and mentally under another lockdown, with more restrictions being threatened, are rightfully going to be outraged at this news.”

“In the Charter challenge to Dr. Hinshaw’s orders that was filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench in December 2020, the Court has given the government until July 2021 to file its scientific evidence, even though the Justice Centre already filed its scientific evidence in January. Due to procedural steps and delays on the part of government lawyers, that court challenge will not be heard until at least September 2021.”

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

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. patricia fai

    April 16, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    When are we going to start questioning the decisions that judges make who are appointed by the government??? This decision in the Grace Life Church case is unacceptable!! As we can see from our neighbours to the South, many judges have their own agenda.

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Third pastor arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID lockdowns

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon.

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A Calgary baptist preacher has become the third religious leader arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID-19 regulations over church attendance.

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon. He had been the subject of repeated warnings from Alberta Health Services for having too many people at his services.

Earlier this month, on the church’s website, Stephens vowed to contiue services.

“Our actions are borne out of theological commitments to the Lordship of Christ and his instruction to the church as revealed in Scripture,” wrote Stephens.

“This, above all, is the reason why we have been gathering and will continue to gather … the consequences may be severe. But we stand before Christ rather than bend before consequences.”

Pastor James Coates, of the GraceLife Church, outside Edmonton, spent a month in jail after he was arrested by the RCMP for breaking lockdown regulations repeatedly. His case is still before the courts.

Last week, Pastor Art Pawlowski was arrested in Calgary for continuing to flout the regulations at his street chruch.

Calgary police at the AHS issued a joint statement saying Stephens was “arrested this afternoon for organizing a church service that was held today at Fairview Baptist Church, located at 230 78 Ave. S.E., that did not comply with public health orders, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. Police did not enter the church during today’s service.

“CPS has received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks. Last weekend, Pastor Stephens was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order obtained by AHS,” the statement said.

“The pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today’s service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees.

“For several weeks, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with leadership at Fairview Baptist Church to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. It is only when significant risk is identified or continued non-compliance is noted that AHS resorts to enforcement action.

“Once again, CPS acknowledges it is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we are still in a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”

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

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LETTER: Hypocrisy in high school rodeo approval

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

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RE: Hinshaw grants approval for high school rodeos

Dr. Hinshaw approved school rodeos after Premier Kenney thought the rodeo near Bowden was a bad idea. It’s the mixed messaging these two are giving that is making me mad. A lockdown with very minimum exemptions is what I thought Hinshaw wanted, but apparently not. A school rodeo can bloody well wait until after the lockdown is completed!! Let up on the Whistle Stop Cafe then, Dr. Hinshaw. What a bully.

It’s a real kick by Hinshaw, at the Whistle Stop Cafe owner. With his cafe now in chains, while Dr. Hinshaw gives out approvals during this so-called circuit breaker lockdown.

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB

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Opposition calls for crackdown on animal activists

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

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By EMMA GREGORY

A coalition of federal Conservatives, NDP and Bloc MPs want to increase punishment for animal rights activists trespassing on farms, because they might make the animals sick.

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Chief Veterinary Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there are no proven instances of an animal rights activists spreading a disease to animals while protesting at a farm.

“To our knowledge, there are not many documented cases from trespassing or from people having demonstrations. The one that I heard is the one in Quebec, but I’m not actually sure if there is evidence of transmission from the activists to the pigs. So in the scientific literature, we have not seen much evidence of transmission of disease from these activities,” said Dr. Jaspinder Komal, to the agriculture committee earlier this month.

The one instance Komal mentioned was an allegation made by Porgreg, a pig breeding facility in Saint Hyacinthe, Que.

The activists involved in that protest, members of the group Direct Action Everywhere, are charged under the Criminal Code with breaking and entering and mischief. Whether or not they gave pigs rotavirus is a matter before the court.

Rotaviruses are common amongst pig herds and typically are transmitted from pig to pig, via the fecal-oral route.

If a human were to spread a novel rotavirus to a pig it would be in a similar fashion.

When asked if she or any of her associates pooped in the barn, activist Jenny McQueen said, “No.”

Komal said the CFIA does not police activists.

“The CFIA enforces the Health of Animals Act and regulations which address disease and biological, chemical, physical agents that may affect animals or be transmitted to persons and in the same way to protect animals from these risks…CFIA inspectors are public officers they are not peace officers… In contrast, peace officers are generally police officers, their powers include the ability to detain or arrest individuals. Peace officers may also be armed where public officers such as inspectors are not,” he said.

There are several new provincial laws that seek to lay blame for disease outbreaks in farmed animals on activists.

The Canadian Biosecurity Guideline lists an intentional act of contaminating animals with a disease is considered a possible threat of bioterrorism.

Gregory is a Vancouver-based freelance reporter

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