Canada Anti-lockdown rally at Alberta legislature voices support for jailed pastor
Trial date set for Alberta pastor who held church services despite health orders
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court today as a three-day trial was set to start May 3. Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars. Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions.
EDMONTON — Dozens of police and sheriffs kept hundreds of opponents of Alberta's pandemic restrictions separated from counterprotesters at the province's legislature on Saturday.
Many of the anti-lockdown speakers voiced support for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church near Edmonton, who was arrested earlier this week when the church continued to hold Sunday services that police allege violated COVID-19 restrictions.
Prior to the demonstration, supporters said prayers outside the Edmonton Remand Centre where Coates has been remanded in custody for refusing to agree to bail conditions.
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A sign carried by one demonstrator said "Free the Preacher, Jail the Premier."
The other group of protesters, which was smaller, held signs that said "Masks Save Lives" and "Hate Speech Not Welcome Here."
One demonstrator was apprehended and taken away forcefully, and police said in a tweet that the man was taken into custody for "causing a disturbance" at the outset of the event.
A number of the anti-lockdown demonstrators arrived in Edmonton after driving in a convoy from southern Alberta, beginning in Lethbridge and passing through Calgary before heading north.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson issued a statement ahead of the demonstration, saying COVID-19 is "not a joke or a hoax" and that wearing masks and following public health measures saves lives.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Judge grants interim injunction to Alberta government in EMS dispatch dispute .
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — A judge says a northern municipality must resume transferring emergency medical calls to a provincial dispatch centre by noon on Saturday. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Kent Davidson heard a joint application from Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, which delivers health care in the province, to require the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to send medical calls to AHS dispatch. He granted an interimCourt of Queen's Bench Justice Kent Davidson heard a joint application from Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services, which delivers health care in the province, to require the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to send medical calls to AHS dispatch.