Pastors Rodney and Tracy Fortin have spent the pandemic playing defence against health authorities who wanted to barge in and inspect for COVID compliance.
When Rodney preached his sermons, Tracy would post up at the front door to keep the inspectors from disrupting people as they pray each Sunday.
Interrupting a church service is a violation of the Canadian Criminal Code, but the rule of that law wasn't one the province was willing to follow when checking for COVID compliance at churches where pastors refused to become an enforcement arm of the health ministry.
For protecting their flock, the Fortins were smacked with 12 counts of obstruction.
And the government started sending another agency to pester CITV — Occupational Health and Safety suddenly wanted to access the church to inspect it as a worksite, like a construction site or a welding shop!
Tracy was having none of that either, and blocked that inspection too.
And for that, CITV was issued a $5,000 administration penalty. So their lawyer, James Kitchen, flew into action and appealed the penalty.
And the government just withdrew the fine!
Even weirder, the government sent CITV a letter saying they were satisfied with the inspection OHS was able to do, and that's why they were setting aside the penalty.
Except, they were never allowed in. Not by Tracy, not by anyone. No inspection took place.
Either the government is confused, or, more likely, they didn't want to defend the sneaky lengths to which they were willing to go to invade the church in front of a judge. Probably a smart move.
While the withdrawal of the ticket is welcome news, Rodney and Tracy still have 12 charges of obstruction hanging over their heads for the same offence; not allowing the sanctity of their church and the worship taking place therein to be interrupted and harmed by the government.
The Fortins need all the help they can get while they continue to focus on ministering to a growing congregation, ballooning with people who feel dejected and abandoned by their own churches when those faith communities quickly capitulated to arbitrary COVID regulations.
Church in the Vine is being helped by their great lawyer at no cost to them through your generous donations to www.FightTheFines.com.
They are one of 2,200 other Canadian churches, families, businesses and otherwise law-abiding people who found themselves on the wrong side of the COVID police state for just trying to live their lives as normally as possible.
To donate to protect and defend the civil liberties of all Canadians, visit www.FightTheFines.com. All donations there qualify for a charitable tax receipt through a partnership with the registered Canadian charity, The Democracy Fund.