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Judge rules Coates trial only available on audio, not video

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 lockdowns.

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An Alberta judge has ruled the trial of Pastor James Coates will not have video available to the public.

Instead, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom said Judge Robert Shaigec ruled only audio of the proceedings will be made public.

“Shaigec decided that up to 1,000 people will be permitted to attend the trial virtually through the court’s virtual software. However, the court has decided that those people will only be able to hear the trial, and not be able to watch it. There will be no video feed,” said the JCCF is a statement.

“The judge’s decision follows a request by the government prosecution lawyer that the trial not be viewable virtually. The prosecution lawyer did not want any images or video stream of her to be viewable during the trial. The court additionally granted the prosecutor’s request that her name not be used during the trial.”

Coate’s trial for breaking public health orders will start May 3 in provincial court in Edmonton. The trial is set for up to four days initially, but will then be adjourned “because government lawyers are not yet prepared to present any medical or scientific evidence that might support the health orders under which Pastor Coates is charged,” said the JCCF.

The judge has limited the number of people able to attend inside the courtroom to a total of 12 people (of which eight are directly involved with the trial). Only four members of the media will be allowed in the courtroom.

“Although the Justice Centre is pleased that up to 1,000 people will be able to listen to the trial, it is our position that restricting video access to the trial goes against the open court principle and removes the Crown Prosecutor from public accountability,” said the JCCF.

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 lockdowns.

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.

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 Division 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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mike Bujold

    May 2, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    GraceLife is actually closer to Spruce Grove than Stony Plain. That gets mixed up a lot in the reporting. Not a big deal, but something worth noting!

  2. JONATHAN DIXON

    May 1, 2021 at 7:54 am

    “The prosecution lawyer did not want any images or video stream of her to be viewable during the trial. The court additionally granted the prosecutor’s request that her name not be used during the trial.” Why is that? Is she afraid? Has her life been threatened? Are there other forms of public retaliation that she is afraid of, such as public ridicule? Is she, herself, afraid that she will be judged by members of the public? If she really believed that she was standing on the side of truth and justice and that God was on her side, then why would she be afraid? Her name and her photographs are going to come out anyway, one way or another, and she will have to answer for her actions to God and in the court of public opinion. She cannot prevent this. So why try?

  3. Left Coast

    April 30, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    “because government lawyers are not yet prepared to present any medical or scientific evidence that might support the health orders under which Pastor Coates is charged,” ?

    They will likely NEVER be prepared . . . because there is NO Science. Everything that the Govt has done was knee-jerk, imitating China.

    Places like Sweden & South Dakota that had no lockdowns are in far better shape today than is Alberta. Even California, the poorest run state in the union had Disneyland open up Today.

    If I was the “Prosecutor” I would not want my name released either . . . this case is a loser for the Govt I suspect !

  4. R3

    April 30, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Judges, most with undergrad degrees in brainwashing Humanities are corrupt and biased. Lady Justice’s scale is off balance.

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MLA Barnes slams proposal for Alberta chopper changes

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Report has 11 recommendations including having just one provincial air rescue operation, Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS).

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Independent Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes is sounding warning bells to the UCP after it received recommendations to centralize air rescue operations under STARS.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Report has 11 recommendations, including having just one provincial air rescue operation, Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS).

The proposal said STARS would work with other helicopter emergency medical providers to ensure consistent, safe coverage across Alberta. Provincial funding for STARS would rise to 50% of their operating budget from the current 23%.

“This delayed report’s recommendations are not only bad news for prompt, full coverage air ambulance services for hundreds of thousands of southern Albertans, it is also bad policy for all Albertans,” Barnes, the MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat, told the Western Standard.

“Southern Alberta’s emergency air helicopter ambulance (HALO based in Medicine Hat) can not only provide faster service with fewer stops, but it also operates much more efficiently and allows for operating reliability for the entire province with a second flight Operations Certificate.  

“It is essential all Albertans be treated equitably with government-funded life-saving air ambulance health services, and the UCP government’s refusal to fund southern Albertan’s air ambulance (HALO) the same as STARS must change immediately.”

Currently, Alberta Health Services provides about $8.4 million per year to helicopter emergency medical services funding. Approximately 1,450 helicopter flights take place each year; 7,300 are flown using fixed-wing aircraft.

The government said it will examine the report over the coming months.

The recommendations also include:

  • Legislation: A new air ambulance regulation would establish consistent deployment, operational, clinical and aviation standards.
  • Dispatch integration: The dispatch of STARS would be integrated with other emergency medical services to allow for the best use of all services to achieve the most efficient response.

The report can be read here.

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

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Pastor Coates gets GraceLife Church back on Canada Day

The church has been barricaded since early April after a dawn raid by Alberta Health Services and the RCMP.

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It will be a extra-special Canada Day for Pastor James Coates who will get his GraceLife Church back when the Alberta government cuts off the padlocks on his church.

The government confirmed in an e-mail to CityNews Edmonton its restrictions will be dropped July 1, the same day Alberta is dropping all its COVID-19 restrictions.

The church has been barricaded more than two months since an early April dawn raid by Alberta Health Services and the RCMP.

Coates was jailed for more than a month in mid-February because he was defying provincial COVID-19 lockdown orders by holding services at a capacity not authorized by the government.

At two bail hearings, Coates said he refused to abide by conditions that he stop preaching.

After being released from jail, the church continued to see large services, leading to AHS — with the help of the RCMP — raiding the facility and building three fences around it.

While large protests erupted at the walled-off church Coates continued with his services at a secret location, and then posted them on YouTube.

They have since been holding services at undisclosed locations.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church, according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity. Shandro has denied the story.

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

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China, Russia, Iran call for UN investigation into Canada’s treatment of indigenous peoples

Chinese officials cited the discovery last month of what are believed to be the unmarked graves of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops.

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A coalition of countries – including China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – is demanding the UN probe Canada’s handling of it’s indigenous peoples.

“We are deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations against the indigenous people in Canada. Historically, Canada robbed the indigenous people of the land, killed them and eradicated their culture,” said Jiang Duan, a senior official at China’s mission to the UN in Geneva.

“We call for a thorough and impartial investigation into all cases where crimes were committed against indigenous people, especially the children.”

CBC report Jiang cited the discovery last month of what are believed to be the unmarked graves of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops.

Jiang said the probe demand was on behalf of China, Russia, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is much better than China at dealing with historical injustices.

“The journey of reconciliation is a long one, but it is a journey we are on. China is not recognizing even that there is a problem. That is a pretty fundamental difference,” Trudeau told reporters.

“In Canada, we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Where is China’s truth and reconciliation commission? Where is their truth? Where is the openness that Canada has always shown and the responsibility that Canada has taken for the terrible mistakes of the past, and indeed, many of which continue into the present?”

Trudeau pointed out China’s “systemic abuse and human rights violations against the Uyghurs.”

He added Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Leslie E. Norton delivered a statement on behalf of 44 countries calling for China to allow international observers “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access” to Xinjiang, where the Uyghur minority are based.

“We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” said Norton.

“Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uyghurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uyghur culture.”

His statement was on behalf of countries including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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

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