On Jan. 7, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry informed British Columbians that her province-wide Gathering and Events Order would be extended at least until Feb. 5.
While the order does allow up to 50 “patrons to be present at a support group meeting,” the public health office still refuses to recognize that churches and places of worship provide support to communities. Those who feel they need to attend in person to receive such support are also exercising their Charter protected right to religious freedom in doing so.
Thankfully, those expected to enforce such bylaws are able to use some discretion regarding how they respond to churches and other places of worship that remain open during these challenging times for all.
Recently, I travelled out to a small B.C. town called 100 Mile House, after hearing reports of how the local RCMP are taking a more militant approach to addressing COVID-19 bylaws. Some of the members of 100 Mile House Baptist Church who believe they must practice their religion in person must also worry about being fined or arrested, and in the church’s case, have Canada Revenue Services called on them if they continue to hold services.
This strategy of enforcement from 100 Mile House RCMP officers seems to be a pattern of sorts. In another recent report, I introduced you to one of our Fight The Fines cases, where we are providing free legal defence to a small business owner named Nicole Weir who was served with a promise to appear, fined, and says she was threatened with possibly losing her business by RCMP.
Click here to hear from pastor Grant Reich of 100 Mile House Baptist Church, along with others who attended church on the Sunday I visited them.
If you are a church or business that simply can’t continue to be closed and have decided to open anyways, contact us at iWillOpen.com, so we can stand with you as you tell your story.
Additionally, if you have received fines for going to church, peacefully protesting or shopping while exempt from wearing a mask, we at Rebel News and our amazing lawyers want to help you fight those fines. You can tell us what you were fined for, or donate to the cause, at FightTheFines.com.