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Justice Centre to defend BC COVID defendants

Gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted in BC in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-9 virus. In-person church services have also been banned.

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Court challenges will be launched in defence of 16 people and churches in BC who have been slapped with $2,300 fines for violating provincial health regulations.

Gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted in BC in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-9 virus. In-person church services have also been banned.

“Pastors and faith communities have been issued whopping fines for holding religious services despite having gone to extraordinary lengths to comply with health guidelines, including limiting attendance to no more than 50 persons, pre-registering attendees, rearranging seating to ensure physical distancing, providing hand sanitizer and masks and enhancing cleaning and sanitizing procedures,” said the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in a statement.

The JCCF will be providing legal representation to all the people and organizations facing charges.

“Many members of faith communities cannot access online services. For these individuals, gathering in-person is essential to their spiritual and emotional well-being, especially to cope with the negative effects of lockdowns. Support groups have been allowed to remain open, yet the government of BC has warned: ‘Do not attend a service at a church, synagogue, mosque, gurdwara, temple, or other places of worship’.”

The JCCF said the restrictions are being imposed on residents at the same time hundreds of people are flocking to Costco or Walmart outlets.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of citizens to protest and to gather for religious worship and puts the onus on government to show that any infringement of Charter freedoms is justified in the circumstances,” said Marty Moore, a JCCF lawyer.

“Individuals across the province of BC have been issued significant fines for responsibly exercising their fundamental Charter rights and freedoms – the Justice Centre’s legal team will be challenging each of these tickets in court. COVID-19 does not cancel Canadians’ constitutional rights.”

The group is representing the following churches and individuals.

Alain Beaudoin
Brent Smith
Free Grace Baptist Church
Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack
Grant Reich
Heather Lucier
Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church
Jack Schoeman
James Butler
John Koopman
Jonah Zryd
Kelowna Harvest Fellowship
Riverside Calvary Chapel
Timothy Champ
Valley Heights Community Church
100 Mile House Baptist Church

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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CTF calls on governments to get their pipeline act together

A lack of pipelines is costing the federal government $13 billion in lost revenue, said Terrazzano.

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All levels of government must get on the same page to try and stop more taxpayers’ money from being flushed down the pipeline drain, says the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“This shows that politicians need to get their act together so we can build pipelines in Canada,” said Franco Terrazzano, the Alberta Director of the CTF, on Monday.

Terrazzano was reacting to reports from the U.S., that President-elect Joe Biden was planning on killing the Keystone XL pipeline expansion on the first day he enters the Oval Office, January 20.

Alberta has already invested $1.5 billion in the pipeline, even though Biden was already talking about killing the project as he campaigned in the Democratic primaries.

“That means the feds need to repeal damaging legislation such as the No More Pipelines Law and the discriminatory tanker ban, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to do everything in his power to make sure Keystone XL moves forward,” said Terrazzano.

“Taxpayers are being dragged further into debt because politicians have been roadblocking pipelines in Canada and that needs to stop.”

A lack of pipelines is costing the federal government $13 billion in lost revenue a year, said Terrazzano.

Kenney has said he is “concerned” over the reports and vowed legal action if Biden does cancel the US$8 billion project.

Trudeau has so far been mute.

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

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Ousted UCP MLA Rehn blasts Kenney over lockdown measures

In a Facebook letter addressing his removal, Rehn noted he was now free to criticize Kenney’s government.

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As calls mount for him to step down, it didn’t take ousted UCP MLA Pat Rehn long to take a shot at the government he used to be part of.

Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, was booted out of the party caucus on Friday, in part for not living up to his responsibilities in the riding.

In a Facebook letter addressing his removal, Rehn noted he was now free to criticize Kenney’s government.

“There are some advantages of not being tied to a party, however. I will now be able to express my opposition of some of the lockdown measures, such as closing gyms and businesses,” Rehn said.

“I believe strongly that measures must be taken to prevent Covid-19 spread, but also recognize the long-lasting effects caused by the lockdown itself.”

Rehn vowed to represent his riding to the best of his abilities in the future.

“There are still some large projects in the works I’m proud to be a part of, and I am optimistic this region will see great growth as we move forward, put 2020 behind us, and start fresh in 2021,” he wrote.

Rehn was one of seven UCP snowbird MLAs who jetted out of the province over the holidays while their own government had Albertans under a strict lockdown.

Rehn tweeted a picture of himself from a cave in Mexico, one of the moves that kicked off the entire scandal.

Rehn was ousted from caucus days after after an entire town council called for his firing.

In a withering letter to Rehn, the Slave Lake council alleges a litany of problems they have had with him.

The town, with a population of 6,500, 255 km northeast of Edmonton, made public a laundry list of complaints against Rehn, including missed meetings and failure to represent the area for economic development.

They claim Rehn doesn’t even live in Alberta (or Canada), saying he resides in Texas.

Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman called on Rehn to step aside.

“When you’ve lost the respect and support of the people you represent, as well as the people you work with, I think you need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask what you’re still doing there,” Warman told the Canadian Press.

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association has also urged Rehn to step down.

“It is imperative for MLAs to be engaged with the cities, towns, villages, summer villages and counties they represent,” it said in a statement.

“It is therefore particularly regrettable that Slave Lake, High Prairie, and other municipal councils from the provincial constituency of Lesser Slave Lake had to take the unprecedented step of publicly reporting their struggles with building a productive relationship with MLA Pat Rehn.”

Meanwhile, a deep-dive into the expense claims of Rehn are raising questions about where the MLA spent most of his time when the legislature was not in session, and their appropriateness.

The MLA billed for three meals a day in Edmonton for two full months – even when the legislature was not in session – despite representing a constituency in northern Alberta.

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

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BREAKING: Alberta to run out of COVID vaccine Monday, Kenney says

This means the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis individuals and seniors over age 75 has been put on hold.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says while the COVID-19 vaccination program has gone well in Alberta so far, they will soon have no more shots to give.

“Due to the unexpected supply disruption the federal government announced last week, Alberta will have no more vaccine doses available to administer as first doses by the end of today or early tomorrow,” said Kenney in a Monday statement.

“Accordingly, no more new first dose appointments will be accepted and some first dose appointments already booked will be rescheduled over the coming days to accommodate limited supply. Doses have been allocated to ensure second doses are available for committed appointments.

“As I have stated several times since our vaccine rollout started, our ability to get needed vaccine in the arms of Albertans is limited by the number of vaccine doses we have on hand. It is frustrating to see this happen while other countries, like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel have received significantly larger quantities of vaccines.

“I am deeply disappointed at the situation we are now facing. The news on January 15 that Pfizer shipments would be cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks only adds to our frustration and means we have had to significantly slow down our vaccination plan.

“Alberta currently has the capacity to deliver 50,000 doses per week. In March, we expect to be able to administer about 200,000 doses per week. But we do not have the supply to match. Unfortunately, this means that the planned vaccination of First Nations and Métis individuals and seniors over age 75 has been put on hold.

“I want to assure Albertans that despite this setback, we remain in position to immediately ramp-up and get back to record vaccination numbers once sufficient doses are delivered. We remain undeterred in our efforts to get vaccines to those who need them most.”

…more to come

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

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