Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

COVID-19

Pastor challenges Dr. Bonnie Henry over illegal discrimination between faith groups

Published

7 minute read

From the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

BC pastor seeks Court order for the BC Attorney General and Provincial Health Officer to disclose records of exemptions provided after some records show that Dr. Bonnie Henry unfairly favoured some faith groups

ABBOTSFORD, BC: The Justice Centre announces that Pastor John Koopman is challenging the prosecution against him after discovering that BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, granted preferential treatment to some faith groups over others. Pastor Koopman was charged with violating Covid gathering restrictions for hosting in-person worship services even while Dr. Henry allowed some Orthodox synagogues to gather for outdoor and even indoor services.

In a hearing running December 4-7, 2023, at the Abbotsford Law Courts, Pastor Koopman will be seeking records of the accommodation requests the Provincial Health Officer received and how she handled them, and records of communications she received from BC politicians about prohibiting in-person worship services.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 402 at Abbotsford Law Courts, 32203 South Fraser Way.

John Koopman is the Pastor of the Free Reformed Church in Chilliwack, British Columbia. In November 2020, Dr. Bonnie Henry prohibited in-person worship services while allowing bars, restaurants, gyms, and salons to remain open for in-person service.

Based on its religious convictions to gather for worship in-person, the Free Reformed Church re-opened its doors in 2020 and 2021 while simultaneously complying with health orders regarding face masks, hand washing, social distancing, etc. In January 2021, the Free Reformed Church, along with two other churches, filed a constitutional challenge to the prohibition on in-person worship services. After filing the challenge, Pastor Koopman and others submitted an accommodation request to gather for in-person worship services, but their request received no response for several weeks. At the same time, Dr. Henry had been responding promptly (within one or two days) to accommodation requests from Orthodox synagogues, granting them permission to meet in-person.

Two business days before the Court was to hear the constitutional challenge, Dr. Henry finally granted the Free Reformed Church and the two other churches limited permission to gather outdoors, while refusing permission to gather indoors, claiming this to be too risky. However, earlier that same week, Dr. Henry had granted all Orthodox synagogues in the province permission to gather indoors.

On March 18, 2021, BC Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson dismissed the Free Reformed Church’s challenge, in part because Dr. Henry had granted permission to meet outdoors. The BC Court of Appeal upheld Chief Justice Hinkson’s decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada subsequently denied leave to appeal.

Meanwhile, Pastor Koopman and other churches and pastors have been prosecuted by the Crown in the BC Provincial Courts. On November 8, 2022, Pastor Koopman was found guilty of hosting an in-person worship service on December 6, 2020.

On April 14, 2023, Pastor Koopman submitted an Application to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, alleging that the discriminatory actions of the Provincial Health Officer had made the continuation of his prosecution offensive to societal notions of fair play and decency and had brought the administration of justice into disrepute. In response, on May 10, the Crown argued that the abuse of process application should not proceed to an evidentiary hearing, and that Dr. Henry and Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Brian Emerson should not be subpoenaed as witnesses in the case.

From May 15–18, 2023, Judge Andrea Ormiston heard arguments on whether the abuse of process Application could proceed to an evidentiary hearing. On September 6, 2023, Judge Ormiston denied the Crown’s Application to summarily dismiss Pastor Koopman’s abuse of process Application because she found that there was “some evidence that the PHO preferred some faith groups over others.” Judge Ormiston found that, under the circumstances, it was not “manifestly frivolous” to think that the continued prosecution of Pastor Koopman “risks undermining the integrity of the judicial process.”  Judge Ormiston did decline to allow Dr. Henry or Dr. Emerson to be subpoenaed in the matter.

The December 4–7 evidentiary hearing at the Provincial Court of British Columbia in Abbotsford will address whether the Attorney General of British Columbia and/or Dr. Bonnie Henry are required to:

  • Provide records of the accommodation requests Dr. Henry received and how she handled them;
  • Provide records of communications between Dr. Henry and the British Columbia Premier, Health Minister, and/or other elected officials and/or their staff in relation to restricting or prohibiting in-person worship gatherings.
Lawyer Marty Moore stated, “The actions of the Provincial Health Officer toward people of faith in British Columbia during Covid were frankly shameful. She categorically prohibited in-person gatherings for worship, indoor or outdoors, and even brought an injunction application seeking to have pastors and parishioners arrested for gathering for worship. At that same time, she was providing permission to select groups to meet for worship, both outdoors and, in some cases, indoors, while ignoring, from what we can tell, all other requests from other religious groups to meet. In this context, we believe that the prosecution of Pastors in BC for violating the PHO’s Orders ‘offend societal notions of fair play and decency and bring the administration of justice into disrepute,’ and that, consequently, these prosecutions should be stayed. The Court, and the public, deserve to see the evidence Pastor Koopman is seeking from the PHO on whether accommodation requests were granted based on science or other factors, and the extent to which politics played a role.”

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

COVID-19

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

Published on

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.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

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

Published on

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.   

Continue Reading

Trending

X