Paster Coates

It will be a extra-special Canada Day for Pastor James Coates who will get his GraceLife Church back when the Alberta government cuts off the padlocks on his church.

The government confirmed in an e-mail to CityNews Edmonton its restrictions will be dropped July 1, the same day Alberta is dropping all its COVID-19 restrictions.

The church has been barricaded more than two months since an early April dawn raid by Alberta Health Services and the RCMP.

Coates was jailed for more than a month in mid-February because he was defying provincial COVID-19 lockdown orders by holding services at a capacity not authorized by the government.

At two bail hearings, Coates said he refused to abide by conditions that he stop preaching.

After being released from jail, the church continued to see large services, leading to AHS — with the help of the RCMP — raiding the facility and building three fences around it.

While large protests erupted at the walled-off church Coates continued with his services at a secret location, and then posted them on YouTube.

They have since been holding services at undisclosed locations.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church, according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity. Shandro has denied the story.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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