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COVID-19

Freedom Convoy leaders’ lawyers argue defendants encouraged peaceful protesting

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From LifeSiteNews

To Anthony Murdoch

Freedom Convoy leader Chris Barber’s legal counsel argued that text messages he sent to both police and fellow protesters during the convoy prove he was not encouraging people to commit crimes

On day 30 of the trial against Freedom Convoy leaders Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, the defense detailed to the court how text message exchanges from one of the leaders showed he was trying to ensure protestors were as respectful as possible and wanted to work with police.  

According to a day 30 update from the Democracy Fund (TDF), which is crowdfunding Lich’s legal costs, defense counsel for Barber, Diane Magas, said that a text conversation between Barber and an “individual known as ‘Big Baller,’” show that “Barber expressed his efforts to cease honking and persuade other truck drivers to follow suit,” in attempt to abide by law enforcement’s request.

Magas also highlighted how a text message exchange between Barber and an Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer, asking for a “slow roll” on Parliament Hill, “received police support.” 

“These instances, according to Magas, illustrated Barber’s intent for a lawful protest,” noted TDF. 

Magas questioned the Crown’s allegation that the leaders had planned a conspiracy, noting a February 12, 2022, agreement letter between the convoy protesters and the mayor’s office. 

“She questioned whether the Crown implied the mayor’s office was part of the alleged conspiracy,” noted TDF. 

“Magas highlighted a TikTok video on February 16, 2022, with Barber and Canadian lawyer Keith Wilson, where Wilson emphasized that the declaration of the Emergencies Act still permitted peaceful protests. Magas concluded her submissions by asserting that, considering the totality of evidence, the court couldn’t find an agreement for the alleged conspiracies without speculation.” 

In response, the Crown’s counsel said that a “directed verdict would be appropriate if there were no evidence of criminality,” but again argued for their Carter application to proceed.  

On Monday, which was Day 28 of the trial, the defense argued that a Crown request to make it so that criminal charges against one leader should apply to the other leader as well, and vice versa, should not be allowed to take place, as there is no evidence the pair worked in a conspiratorial manner. 

The Crown’s so-called “Carter Application” asks that the judge consider “Barber’s statements and actions to establish the guilt of Lich, and vice versa,” TDF stated.   

TDF noted that this type of application is very “complicated” and requires that the Crown prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there was a “conspiracy or plan in place and that Lich was a party to it based on direct evidence.”   

On Wednesday in court, the Crown claimed that they did not think of the protests as violent, but “disputed the defense’s characterization of the protests as peaceful.” 

The Crown claimed that non-violent protests could still be “disruptive and result in criminal charges,” as noted by TDF, adding that the court should consider limitations to Charter rights when looking at charges made against the leaders.  

In court, Judge Heather Perkins-McVey reminded the Crown that not everyone involved in the Freedom Convoy was working together. The Crown agreed this was the case.  

On Day 29, Lich’s legal counsel argued that her use of the rallying cry “hold the line” during the 2022 protests did not imply she was calling for people to engage in illegal activity.  

Lich and Barber are facing multiple charges from the 2022 protests, including mischief, counseling mischief, counseling intimidation and obstructing police for taking part in and organizing the anti-mandate Freedom Convoy. As reported by LifeSiteNews at the time, despite the non-violent nature of the protest and the charges, Lich was jailed for weeks before she was granted bail.    

The defense’s application came after the Crown abruptly decided to end its case last Monday, telling the court it would not call forth any new witnesses.    

In early 2022, the Freedom Convoy saw thousands of Canadians from coast to coast come to Ottawa to demand an end to COVID mandates in all forms. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted the Emergencies Act on February 14.  

During the clear-out of protesters after the EA was put in place, one protester, an elderly lady, was trampled by a police horse, and one conservative female reporter was beaten by police and shot with a tear gas canister.   

Lich and Barber’s trial has thus far taken more time than originally planned. LifeSiteNews has been covering the trial extensively.   

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COVID-19

Nova Scotia drops COVID vaccine mandate for healthcare workers amid ongoing staffing crisis

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

The Nova Scotia Health Authority is allowing unvaccinated staff to return to work when the new policy takes effect on February 26 after more than two years of being on unpaid leave.

Nova Scotia has dropped its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers amid an ongoing staff crisis.

On February 21, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced that it will no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers and is encouraging staff members who were suspended because of the mandate to return to work.

“By removing the mandatory vaccination requirement, both organizations aim to offer flexibility and support to employees, onsite medical staff, and preferred candidates,” read a joint statement from Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health.

“Staff members who chose not to receive vaccines or submit proof of immunization, when the policy was implemented, may have the opportunity to return to active employment,” the statement promised.

Under the new policy set to take effect February 26, staff members “who chose not to receive vaccines or submit proof of immunization will be eligible to apply for onsite medical privileges with Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health, provided they meet all other necessary job requirements.”

Starting in November 2021, Nova Scotia mandated the experimental vaccine for healthcare workers. Those who refused the shot were placed on unpaid leave.

 According to a letter sent to The Canadian Independent, the province is telling unvaccinated healthcare workers to return to work when the new policy takes effect.

The email informed them that it is “imperative” to reach out to their manager to “confirm your intention to return to work or resign employment with Nova Scotia Health.”

“We understand this update may raise questions and concerns associated with a return to work,” the email stated. “We encourage you to reach out to your manager to discuss any supports and resources you may need to assist with your transition back to the workplace.”

The policy change comes amid record-high healthcare wait times of 27.7 weeks, the longest in the past 30 years and 198% longer than the 1993 average of 9.3 weeks.

The data surveyed 1,200 Canadian doctors across 12 specialties and 10 provinces. The report found that Nova Scotia had the longest wait time of 56.7 weeks, followed by Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick with 55.2 weeks and 52.6 weeks, respectively.

Vaccine mandates for healthcare workers remain in place across Canada despite the critical staff shortages in hospitals. While some provincial governments have lifted their mandates, many hospitals still require the experimental vaccine.

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COVID-19

Most Canadian nurses were hesitant to take COVID jab: gov’t data

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Researchers found that over 50 percent of nurses in Canada and nearly a third of doctors were hesitant to take the experimental COVID vaccine, but did so anyway to keep their jobs amid workplace mandates.

A recently unveiled survey has found that a significant number of Canadian healthcare workers, including most nurses, were hesitant to take the experimental COVID shots, and only did so because it was mandated across the sector.   

According to a survey conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, results of which were obtained February 19 by Blacklock’s Reporter, 59 percent of healthcare workers were hesitant to take the experimental COVID vaccine, but many chose to put aside their concerns as the shot was mandatory to keep their jobs.  

“The prospect of losing their employment played a role in their decision to get vaccinated or not,” the report, titled National Cross-Sectional Survey Of Health Workers Perceptions Of Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness, found.  

“They expressed significant hesitation towards COVID-19 vaccines due to the speed of vaccine development and their perception of the potential for side effects,” it continued.  

The research found that 31 percent of doctors and 54 percent of nurses admitted “some level of hesitancy” to take the shot. The report found that “concerns about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines were among the largest factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy.” 

LifeSiteNews has published comprehensive research on the dangers of receiving the experimental vaccine, including heart damage and blood clots.    

A recent study done by researchers at the Canada-based Correlation Research in the Public Interest  found that 17 countries have a “definite causal link” between peaks in all-cause mortality and the fast rollouts of the COVID shots and boosters.  

However, despite their concerns, the report found that 89 percent of healthcare workers took the shot, mostly due to fears of losing their job.  

“Vaccine mandates were one of the most commonly reported reasons for getting vaccinated among respondents with a high proportion of nurses indicating it was the sole reason for vaccination,” the report said. 

Another revealed that vaccines were “developed in a matter of a couple of months and handed out like candy.”  

“I have a family and a mortgage it was like, what would I be able to do to make the same amount of money?” a third questioned.  

According to the report, 8 percent of workers refused the shot entirely, 87 percent of whom said they were concerned about the long-term effects of the vaccine, while 72 percent said they rejected that the vaccines were being mandated.  

64 percent of those who remained unvaccinated despite mandates said they lacked “confidence in Canada’s regulatory system,” 52 percent thought “the impact of COVID infection is greatly exaggerated,” 45 percent had religious reasons, and 20 percent were planning to become pregnant. Respondents were allowed to select more than one reason for opposing vaccination.

Notably, the survey found that “the proportion of self-reported infection did not vary significantly based on vaccination status,” meaning vaccinated healthcare staff were just as likely to transmit COVID as vaccinated ones.  

Currently, vaccine mandates for healthcare workers are still in place in many jurisdictions across Canada, despite a critical staff shortage in plenty of hospitals. While some provincial governments have lifted their mandates, many hospitals still require the experimental vaccine as a condition of employment.   

However, many healthcare workers have refused the vaccine and are appealing the mandates. In November, hundreds of British Columbia healthcare workers joined together to sue Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry for ongoing COVID shot mandates preventing them from working.      

Similarly, Ontario pro-freedom Dr. Mark Trozzi plans to appeal after he was stripped of his license for critiquing the mainstream narrative around the COVID-19 so-called “pandemic” and the associated vaccines.   

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