Can Canada be still be referred to as “The True North strong and free” if we continue down the path that we're heading?
It’s a fair question to ask when unelected public health officers like B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry cast freedom of religion aside, and issue orders to cease all in-person religious gatherings.
The Emergency Program Act and the Public Health Act grants our government and public health officers sweeping powers. But such powers are to be used with true “emergencies,” and only when reasonable.
So, has COVID-19 proven to be reason enough to curtail the basic rights — like freedom of religion — protected by the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act?
After all, religious gatherings were still restricted in number, regardless of their space available, throughout the summer when the COVID-19 curve was flatter than a pancake and our hospitals were empty.
This past Sunday, Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley became one of at least three churches in B.C. to offer in-person services, despite Dr. Bonnie Henry banning services until at least December 7.
The church was fined $2,300, and told there could be more fines to come if the second and third service planned for the day were held. But the pastor and his congregation didn't back down, and — miraculously — no further fines were issued. The police officers actually decided to leave after they were unable to clarify which order they were acting on!
Watch my interview with Riverside Calvary Chapel’s pastor Brent Smith, and some of the church attendees, as they explain why they chose to practice their religion despite orders from Public Health.
If watching a church receive a $2,300 fine for offering a place of worship to its community made you as upset as I was, we need your help! Please donate what you can at FightTheFines.com.