James Kitchen, the lawyer representing Edmonton-area Pastor Tracy Fortin and her church, explained his plans to appeal the outrageous convictions of Tracy and the church entity for obstructing a public health officer and described his attempts to have fines stayed while the appeal is heard. A GiveSendGo fundraiser has been set up by the church in the event the appeal is denied. To donate, click here. The fines, if they are not stayed, must be paid by the end of August.
Pastor Tracy and Church in the Vine were convicted in May of three counts of obstruction for blocking Alberta Health inspector from entering into active worship services to check for COVID regulation adherence. The inspector was part of a COVID compliance task force comprised of inspectors, police and local bylaw officers that had a laser-like focus on churches and places of worship. The inspector was asked to come back to examine the church's COVID protocols at a time when her presence would not interrupt worship and prayer, though she never did. Crown prosecutor Karen Thorsrud had asked for $120,000 in fines for the first-time offender with no criminal record, something Kitchen told Rebel News was way out of step with legal precedent set in other obstruction cases.
Tracy and her husband Rodney, also a pastor at the church, offered the church as a sanctuary for those in need of front-line spiritual aid during the lockdown. For a time, they were also offering religious exemptions to vaccine mandates after assessing whether believers had sincerely held religious convictions. Their efforts helped dozens of people remain in their jobs and schools.
Tracy was convicted by the province of a regulatory offence for doing what she says she is called to do: protect the congregation from the intrusion of the state. And, even though she faces great personal peril — including civil enforcement of the judgement — for her moral stance, she told the judge she would not change a thing. She can sleep at night.
While the church is fundraising to cover potential fines, Rebel News viewers shave been helping in their legal defence, including the appeal of the convictions. You can make a tax-deductible donation to help Tracy and the church overturn this persecutorial decision at www.SavePastorTracy.com. At that same website, you can see our billboard telling the world about her fight with the government for religious freedom and sign our petition calling on the government to stop this needless and malicious attack of this gentle woman of faith.
We will hand-deliver that petition to the candidates vying to replace outgoing Alberta premier Jason Kenney to confirm their commitment to religious freedom and civil liberties.