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A day of historic impeachment, a Capitol as armed encampment

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WASHINGTON — The scene in the U.S. Capitol seemed jarringly disconnected. Inside the House chamber, the nation’s lawmakers spoke with solemnity about democracy, the rule of law and the words of Abraham Lincoln as they undertook a vote to remove the president from office.

They wore masks, a rule imposed by Democrats, as a measure of the pandemic that continues to ravage the country.

But only steps away, outside the chamber doors, there was the look of an armed encampment.

The House impeachment of President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on the home of the branch of government created in Article I of the Constitution contained arresting reminders of the violence and death wrought just a week ago and the fears that the Capitol needed enhanced protection to prevent it from happening again.

Where visitors once walked, hundreds of National Guard members camped out, protecting lawmakers still reeling from last week’s violence and preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Capitol grounds were wrapped in seven-foot fences, and scores of other law enforcement officers and troops kept a watchful eye.

A replica of the dome that stands atop the Capitol, the Statue of Freedom, resides in the Capitol’s visitor centre. Beneath it, soldiers slept on marble floors while others huddled to discuss their marching orders for the day.

They massed together from one end of the giant hall to the other and their numbers made it impossible to follow the signs calling for social distancing. To protect from COVID, they wore masks, and to protect from potential violence, they stockpiled riot shields and gas masks.

Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, a military veteran who lost both legs in the war in Afghanistan, was shocked at the sight and that so many soldiers were deemed necessary to keep the Capitol safe.

“It’s as sad as anything can make me in this world,” Mast said as he gave some of them a tour.

The Capitol always sees stepped-up security precautions leading up to an inauguration, but it rarely looks like the nation is on a war footing.

But along with the signs of fear, there were also signs of gratefulness for those protecting the Capitol. A tunnel leading to House office buildings has become a makeshift tribute to members of law enforcement who protected the Capitol when a violent mob overran the building in an attempt to derail the certification of Electoral College votes in the presidential election. More than 50 police officers were injured in the attack, including 15 who were hospitalized. One was killed.

“Thank you for keeping my mommy safe,” said a poster with smiley faces and stars and signed by “Clair Age 8.”

The thank you signs poured in from all ranks and political parties, including a letter from the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We would not be here without you,” said another poster signed “thank you from AOC,” the initials for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y.

Outside of the Capitol, members of the National Guard — many carrying semi-automatic assault rifles — are supplementing the work of the U.S. Capitol Police, forming perimeters around each of the office buildings that lawmakers and their staffs use when not in the Capitol for votes. The number of entrances into the buildings has been dramatically diminished and those approaching must present a credential to get in.

The tensions were also apparent inside the House chamber. Beginning Tuesday, lawmakers had to walk through a metal detector before being allowed to enter the chamber. Members of Congress have previously enjoyed nearly free range at the Capitol, able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the building. In the House chamber, there have been Capitol Police officers and civilian door monitors but no screening stations. Reporters had to do the same to enter the galleries above the chamber.

As the debate over whether to impeach Trump ensued in the afternoon on the House floor, one side called for unity, the other accountability. It’s very much unclear whether either will happen.

“This is a moment of truth my friends,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. “Are you on the side of chaos and the mob, or on the side of constitutional democracy and our freedom?”

“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted. That’s what the president did, that is all he did,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who created a tempest inside the party by declaring she would support impeachment, quickly left after casting her “aye” vote. But another GOP impeachment backer, John Katko of New York, lingered for a bit near a desk with a terminal that keeps a tally.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled the vote and announced the tally — but only after waiting for California Democratic ally Maxine Waters, a strong opponent of Trump, to cast the 232nd and final vote to impeach him.

As Pelosi announced the vote count, there was hardly a sound, a single clap from one or two in the audience that was quickly replaced by silence as most members headed for the exits.

By Kevin Freking And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press







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Alberta

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith promises bill protecting rights to refuse vaccines is coming

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The plan is to introduce an amended Bill of Rights this fall that includes protections for individuals’ personal medical decisions.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has promised that the province’s Bill of Rights will be amended this fall so that there are protections added for people’s personal medical decisions that most likely will include one having the right to refuse a vaccine.

Smith’s promise to add protections for personal choice on vaccinations comes because of the COVID jab mandates put in place for a time in Alberta under former Premier Jason Kenney.

Speaking to Albertans at a recent town hall in Bonnyville, Smith said that the COVID crisis resulted in many people being discriminated against for their own medical decisions and that “it shouldn’t have happened.”

Smith, who leads the United Conservative Party (UCP), said that she believes “every person has to be able to do their own assessment, their own health assessment, to be able to make those decisions.”

The original plan by Smith was to add protections for one’s vaccine status directly Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA). However, this plan was nixed after she was advised by Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel chair Preston Manning that this was not the right legislation for an additional protection.

Instead, Smith promised that a better “law” dealing directly with vaccine status will be forthcoming.

On Monday, Smith confirmed on X that an updated version of the Bill of Rights is coming.

“It’s time. Let’s get this done,” she wrote.

Last year, Smith, as reported by LifeSiteNews, promised to enshrine into “law” protections for people in her province who choose not to be vaccinated as well as strengthen gun rights and safeguard free speech by beefing up the provincial Bill of Rights.

On Smith’s first day on the job and only minutes after being sworn in, she said that during the COVID years the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime.

She took over from Kenney as leader of the UCP on October 11, 2022, after winning the party leadership. The UCP then won a general election in May 2023. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down during COVID.

Smith promptly fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire Alberta Health Services board of directors, all of whom oversaw the implementation of COVID mandates.

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs.

While Smith has not said much regarding the COVID shots since taking office, she has allowed her caucus members to have broad views when it comes to known safety issues related to the jabs.

UCP MLA Eric Bouchard hosted a sold-out event titled “An Injection of Truth” that featured prominent doctors and experts speaking out against COVID vaccines and mandates.

“Injection of Truth” included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates and the shots, including Dr. Byram BridleDr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne.

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government and all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under Kenney being no exception.

The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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COVID-19

Ontario gov’t drops over 100 fines from COVID era for compliance violations

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Charges were withdrawn for violations of the Quarantine Act ‘due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.’

Canadian legal advocacy group The Democracy Fund (TDF) says that because of generous donor support it secured the staying or withdrawal of 109 COVID-era tickets given to multiple people in Ontario.

The TDF said in a press update sent to LifeSiteNews that most often the charges were withdrawn or stayed “due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.”

“It’s gratifying to see our hard work pay off, and a relief to our clients who have endured years of legal uncertainty,” TDF paralegal Jenna Little said.

“But the government is still doggedly pursuing many clients for charges that should not have been brought in the first place and consume scarce judicial resources.”

The TDF observed that its clients were charged under the Quarantine Act s.15 (failure to provide information to screening officer), s.58 (failure to complete ArriveCan, failure to arrange for quarantine), or s.66 (obstruct an officer).

It noted that the fine for each charge was around $5,000, with “with potential total fines for conviction on all charges reaching $681,250.”

“Though many of these cases have been successfully resolved, many remain,” the TDF said.

Some of the charges were issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, such as s.7.0.11 (obstruct an officer), which can carry a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The TDF stated that in “rare cases” some clients were also charged under “s.10 of the Reopening Act (gather or fail to close premises).”

The TDF noted that despite the recent court wins, there are still “hundreds” of clients who are facing “potential fines and jail time for peacefully protesting or objecting to government overreach during COVID lockdowns.”

The TDF said that during COVID the government used the opportunity to enact “rights-infringing, overbroad laws.”

“Legislators and bureaucrats zealously enforced these laws against Canadians in an effort to secure compliance and suppress peaceful protest. Fortunately, The Democracy Fund (TDF) and its team of lawyers and paralegals, with the support of generous donors, fought back,” it said.

The TDF, founded in 2021, bills itself as a Canadian charity “dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty,” by promoting constitutional rights “through litigation and public education.”

In early July, LifeSiteNews reported that TDF lawyers helped get criminal charges against a Canadian man who participated in the pro-family 1 Million March 4 Children protest over radical LGBT ideology being taught in public schools dropped by the Crown.

Over the last couple of years, the TDF has been active in helping Canadians persecuted under COVID mandates and rules fight back. Notable people it has helped include Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, an Ontario pediatrician who has been embroiled in a legal battle with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for her anti-COVID views. She has also had the help of Elon Musk.

COVID vaccine mandates, which came from provincial governments with the support of the federal government, split Canadian society. The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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