The rebellion by Alberta churches against the province’s COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings continued this weekend, while GraceLife Church pastor James Coates remains behind bars at Edmonton’s Remand Centre.
A number of churches in Alberta have been reopening for indoor congregations following the arrest of Pastor Coates, after provincial public health officials accused his Edmonton-area church of violating restrictions on attendance, masking and distancing.
John Carpay, director of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing Pastor Coates, suggested that Alberta’s restrictions are a violation of Canada’s constitution.
“The health orders violate our Charter Section 2 rights to assemble and associate worship, Section 6 rights to move and to travel, and Section 7 charter rights to life, liberty, and security,” Carpay told CTV News Edmonton.
“If the past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, I don’t think it’s likely that Pastor Coates is going to abide by unscientific public health workers but that’s his decision.”
Rebel News was on the scene this weekend in Alberta, documenting the scene as other places of worship held their own in-person services in support of Pastor Coates.
In Medicine Hat, the Heights Baptist Church allowed its members to come inside for Sunday services.
Here in Medicine Hat, Alberta at Heights Baptist Church. Another church in Alberta that believes holding Sunday Service is an essential service.
— Lincoln Jay (@lincolnmjay) February 28, 2021
Meanwhile, in Calgary, Alberta Health Services — alongside officers from the Calgary Police Service — snapped images of congregants attending services at Fairview Baptist Church.
— Mocha Bezirgan (@BezirganMocha) February 28, 2021
Rebel boss Ezra Levant alleged that these actions were in violation of Canada’s Criminal Code, particularly the section prohibiting the disturbance of a religious gathering.
I accuse Nenshi’s @CalgaryPolice of breaking Criminal Code section s. 176(2), disturbing a religious gathering. They walked right into a church service with their guns. That’s illegal in Canada. Source: https://t.co/Y0t8OauTrj pic.twitter.com/0ljKGNGVqi
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) February 28, 2021
Fairview Baptist Church previously held indoor services on February 21, when Rebel News’ Keean Bexte was in attendance to cover the church’s defiance of COVID-19 restrictions in support of Pastor Coates. No tickets were issued that day by police or public health.
Keep following Rebel News for more on Alberta’s church rebellion, with a full video report coming later this week.