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US senator blasts Alberta for locking up pastors

Police in Alberta have arrested three pastors – James Coates, Tim Stephens and Art Pawlowski – under orders from the Alberta Health Services for repeatedly holding services that breached COVID-19 capacity regulations.

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A US senator is urging his government to put Canada on its freedom of religion watch list because Alberta repeatedly arrested and jailed pastors for breaking COVID-19 regulations.

“I am troubled that our Canadian neighbors are effectively being forced to gather in secret, undisclosed locations to exercise their basic freedom to worship,” Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley wrote in a letter to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“Frankly, I would expect this sort of religious crackdown in Communist China, not in a prominent Western nation like Canada. Canadian authorities’ arrest of faith leaders and seizure of church property, among other enforcement actions, appear to constitute systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Police in Alberta have arrested three pastors – James Coates, Tim Stephens and Art Pawlowski – under orders from the Alberta Health Services for repeatedly holding services that breached COVID-19 capacity regulations.

“On June 14, Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, who was previously arrested in May, was arrested again at home in front of his wife and children. Media outlets captured heartbreaking video of the pastor’s children sobbing as they held their father’s hand through the barred window of a police car. Pastor Stephens’ alleged violation was holding an outdoor worship service in a park, which was apparently discovered by a police helicopter flying overhead,” Hawley wrote.

“Other Canadian pastors, such as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, have similarly faced arrests and enforcement actions. Authorities reportedly seized and fenced off the GraceLife Church building in April, which sparked a protest of hundreds of people in opposition to the move.”

Hawley noted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “everyone has the following fundamental freedoms,” which include the “freedom of conscience and religion.”

“The arrests and actions taken to enforce overly burdensome and unjustified orders, however, do not seem to live up to this praiseworthy statement,” he said.

“Canadian authorities’ arrest of faith leaders and seizure of church property, among other enforcement actions, appear to constitute systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. I urge the Commission on International Religious Freedom to take whatever action is necessary to address and rectify this situation, and consider adding Canada to the Commission’s Watch List.”

Hawley’s letter was cc’d to Kirsten Hillman, the Canadian ambassador to the US.

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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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. test

    June 28, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    test

  2. R3

    June 28, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Liliana Brown,
    Other media, like Global covered Hawley but they attempted to discredit him with their usual evil Trump supporter crap.

  3. Aynus Rand

    June 28, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Josh, don’t you have some murderous anti-democratic insurrectionists you could spend some more time with & support… ?

  4. Shepherdess

    June 28, 2021 at 10:28 am

    While I appreciate Senator Hawley’s attention to this, to say that he will request that Canada be put on the freedom of religion watchlist while many pastors in the U.S. are facing million dollar fines for opening their churches, Christian viewpoints are being censored on social media, and Christians who are Republicans are losing their jobs, this seems hypocritical. However, maybe he is having the same fight in his home country and in that case I stand corrected.

  5. Josh

    June 25, 2021 at 10:13 am

    @Left Coast

    https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/2006/BillText/er/HTML

    Line 1097-1118

    Even though its personal choice. This portion was left in place.

    Its more up to the discretion of health authorities but if the past year and a half has taught us anything. They do not have our best interest in mind.

  6. Left Coast

    June 25, 2021 at 8:52 am

    @ JOSH . . .

    I am pretty sure you watch too much CNN . . . that is a bizzar accusation, can you supply any support for your statement?

  7. Cosmo Kramer

    June 25, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Liliana, sadly you are right. Kenney probably knows this and would not be worried. They may have to take notice if Canada is added to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s watch list. It does belong there.

    I would like to add that I know people of non-Christian faiths who have been going to their places of worship for services for over the past year and have been left alone. I am not complaining in that I think they should be allowed to worship but so should Christians as well. The Kenney government is specifically targeting Christians for persecution.

  8. Liliana Brown

    June 25, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Too bad mainstream media will never cover this.

  9. Andrew

    June 25, 2021 at 12:23 am

    Thank you Senator Hawley!

  10. Josh

    June 25, 2021 at 12:03 am

    @COSMO KRAMER
    im pretty sure florida still has its legislation to vaccine indivials they deem as a threat at all costs.

  11. Cosmo Kramer

    June 24, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    If things get worse here, maybe a lot of us could qualify as a persecuted minority and be accepted into the USA (Florida!) as religious refugees.

  12. Declan Carroll

    June 24, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    The deplorables throwing down the gauntlet for Albertans. #AmericaFirst, MAGA#1!

  13. Baron Not Baron

    June 24, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Communist POS Kenney.. I hope he chokes to death on his dinner, while others were blocked from having work, to provide a diner for their families.

  14. francis witzel

    June 24, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Thankyou Senator Hailey , our government is not listening to its own people maybe they’ll listen to you , but I doubt it , Trudeau is trying really hard to copy China

  15. berta baby

    June 24, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    wow how embarrassing for communist kenney…. Canada is just a colony of china and the left and migrants just keep blindly voting for it. Look at Hong Kong and look at the censorship laws and the jailing of pastors here… shame on our leaders and the people who vote for them

  16. Left Coast

    June 24, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Senator Hawley is a brilliant man . . . and a dedicated public servant.
    Too bad we don’t have a few like him in Canadian Politics.

    Locking down Churches was the stupidest thing Govts could do. Millions of Canadians depend on their local churches for emotional well-being. But thoughtless Govt lackies and inept Politicians like Kenny decided they were not “Essential”.

    Large contributors like Wallmart, Safeway, Costco and other large Corporations were allowed to function. 100s of people wandered through their businesses handling 1000s of items. This was deemed “SAVE” but sitting in a church pew social distancing was “Dangerous” . . . this is patently INSANE, and these gutless politicians should get ZERO votes next election cycle. Small Business was given the same Treatment by these imbeciles . . . we will likely never be able to add up the damage, deaths & economic destruction. But I guarantee it is much larger than the numbers that died from the Virus!

    Class Action lawsuits should be cued up to go after these incompetent so-called leaders!

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

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

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News

Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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