Corbella: Emergency expert says we should quarantine care homes and open society

Corbella: Emergency expert says we should quarantine care homes and open society

“Governments took every emergency pandemic plan they’d ever written and threw them out the window when COVID arrived.” — Emergency management expert David Redman

Author of the article:Licia CorbellaPublishing date:Jan 15, 2021  •  1 day ago  •  9 minute read

David Redman, the president of the Brio Townhomes condo board, was on scene from the moment the fire started. He was having a coffee with his wife on his front porch when he heard screams for help on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in Edmonton. Fire crews are working on a lingering blaze at a north Edmonton townhome complex that razed four units. (Greg Southam-Postmedia)
David Redman — a retired Lieutenant-Colonel with 27 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces and the former head of Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency — says while every emergency is different the planning process should always be the same. Photo by Greg Southam /00088341A

There’s not much point staffing and funding emergency agencies and plans if when an emergency strikes neither are called upon.

But that’s pretty much what’s happened in Alberta and in every other government in Canada, says an emergency management process expert.

Pandemic housing market to stay hot in 2021, but economists expect a hangover later in…

David Redman — a retired Lieutenant-Colonel with 27 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces and the former head of Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency — says while every emergency is different the planning process should always be the same.

“Governments took every emergency pandemic plan they’d ever written and threw them out the window when COVID arrived,” says Redman. “No one followed the process — even though they had plenty of time and forewarning as we had the benefit of seeing what was happening in China, Italy, Spain and France before the virus hit us in March (2020). Instead, they panicked, started flying by the seat of their pants and put the doctors in charge.”

Redman was so alarmed with Canada’s pandemic response, in April he wrote a three-page letter to Premier Jason Kenney saying, “I am genuinely concerned by the GoA response to this pandemic. It appears that we have scrapped the Pandemic Influenza support plan, started from scratch and decided to ignore all principles of Emergency Management.”

To say that Redman knows what he’s talking about is putting things mildly. He has been to war and  led troops in the former Yugoslavia, he was in charge of closing down Canada’s army base in Lahr, Germany in the early 1990s. He did such a great job of closing down that small city of 18,000 troops, their families, equipment and 940 pieces of infrastructure, including the fourth longest runway in Europe,  that two years later he was deployed to Croatia and Bosnia to lead the unplanned withdrawal under the orders of Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada’s United Nations troops from the area, only to be charged again to establish the staging bases to bring the Canadian brigade structure back to the area this time under NATO command.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman (L) marches with then Calgary Mayor Al Duerr in the Freedom of the City parade in spring 1996, when 1 Service Battalion and Lord Strathcona's Horse Royal Canadians were moved from Calgary to Edmonton. One year later, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry left the city in a controversial decision made by then Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces
Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman (L) marches with then Calgary Mayor Al Duerr in the Freedom of the City parade in spring 1996, when 1 Service Battalion and Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians were moved from Calgary to Edmonton. One year later, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry left the city in a controversial decision made by then Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces Photo by Photo courtesy of the Canadian A /Photo courtesy of the Canadian A

After retiring from the military, Redman was in charge of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency when everything changed on Sept. 11, 2001. On Sept. 12, along with “26 of the smartest people in Alberta” many of them government and industry leaders from the various sectors of the Alberta economy, including healthcare and critical infrastructure such as power plant, electrical lines, rail lines, etc., Redman pulled together all that information gleaned from brainstorming sessions and designed a system to protect Alberta. He was, as a result, made head of the province’s counter-terrorism strategy.Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada at the time, toured Alberta’s command centre and was so impressed with what he saw, he invited Redman, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, to Washington, D.C. to brief both the Senate and the House committees on national security. He has been keynote speaker at conferences on emergency preparedness, including with the Conference Board of Canada and fully retired in 2013.

In his April letter to Kenney — and he has since sent similar letters to every provincial premier and the federal government receiving only automated replies — Redman says the approach to battling COVID-19 has been all wrong. It has been focused almost entirely on limiting the number of deaths and we’ve failed at that.

Instead, Alberta’s 2014 Pandemic Influenza Plan has four goals:

• Controlling the spread of influenza disease and reducing illness and death by providing access to appropriate prevention measures, care, and treatment.

• Mitigating societal disruption in Alberta through ensuring the continuity and recovery of critical services.

• Minimizing adverse economic impact.

• Supporting an efficient and effective use of resources during response and recovery.

“We’ve failed in all of those objectives clear across the country because they didn’t stick to a plan. They panicked. They were constantly surprised at the beginning with every new outbreak and every death in a long-term care home, but it was completely foreseeable.

“Pandemics happen continuously,” he points out. A pandemic — even an unknown and tricky one like COVID-19 — is not a public health emergency, Redman insists, it’s a public emergency, since all areas of society are affected: the public sector, private sector, not-for-profit sector and every citizen.

Redman says putting doctors in charge of a public emergency is the wrong approach.

He points to forest fires as an example. In Alberta, during a forest fire, like the one that burned down swathes of the city of Fort McMurray in May, 2016, the Wildfire Operations centre, was the subject matter agency, but it did not lead the provincial government’s response to the wildfire.

“Their job is to fight the fire. Their job was not to ensure that there was food and water. Their job was not to evacuate the citizens of Fort McMurray. AEMA leads the cross-government, private sector and municipal response.”

Clearly that has not happened with COVID. Most Albertans have no idea what the head of AEMA looks like, let alone his name. The names listed on its website of the executive director and managing director are both incorrect.

“We can’t keep doing this — locking down our whole society,” says Redman. “We don’t have 400 billion more dollars to tell healthy people to lock themselves in their houses and not go to work.”

Redman points out that Alberta’s 2014 Pandemic Influenza Plan should have been dusted off last January after the Chinese government finally acknowledged to the world that a new, contagious coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, had started spreading in early Dec. 2019. Then it should have been rewritten to deal with the specific challenges of COVID-19.

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Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman presides over the Change of Command ceremony in Lahr, Germany in 1992. Courtesy Lt-Col. David Redman
Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman presides over the Change of Command ceremony in Lahr, Germany in 1992. Courtesy Lt-Col. David Redman Photo by Courtesy Lt-Col. David Redman /Courtesy Lt-Col. David Redman

“In February we knew that over 95 per cent of the deaths in China and Europe were in seniors over the age of 60 with multiple co-morbidities,” says Redman, who backed uphis statements withreports.

“We should have immediately developed plans to protect our seniors over age 60 with co-morbidities, particularly those in long-term care homes. Our long-term care homes should have been placed into quarantine.”

Again, Redman points to Fort McMurray as an example, where many of its oilpatch workers do not live full time in that northern city. Many live not just outside of Fort Mac, but outside of the province of Alberta, working one month on followed by one month off of work.

Redman says LTC workers should have been asked to work one month on and one month off, living away from their families and being housed in accommodations set aside by the government.

Redman says, you wouldn’t need to force workers to do this, you would ask for volunteers.

“I never had a problem finding volunteers for really bad tasks in the armed forces,” explains Redman. “One of the things I was taught as a lieutenant is you never ask a soldier to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. So you say, ‘I’m going? Who’s going with me?’

“For example, every day we ran convoys that left from the coast of Croatia, drove up over the mountains and into Bosnia and if you know what the 1995 war in Bosnia looked like it was particularly ugly because it was a civil war. It was neighbour versus neighbour. And they didn’t care that you were driving a white UN truck. They’d shoot at us just for fun. So the most dangerous job we had on most days was riding those convoys and protecting those convoys.”

Redman said he would “ride shotgun” armed with a C7 rifle at least once per week and as often as every four days. “I never had a shortage of people to volunteer to ride shotgun and we rotated who those people were.”

If you think care workers would never do that, Redman points to the care home near Lyon, France where for 47 days and nights 29 members of the 50 staff at the Vilanova home, brought in mattresses, sleeping bags and pillows and locked themselves in with their 106 residents in order to keep them safe from COVID. No residents died from COVID, though some passed away from other causes, and it was reportedly a joyous time.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman salutes during a Remembrance Day ceremony in the former Republic of Yugoslavia on Nov. 11, 1995. Photo courtesy Lt Col David Redman
Lieutenant-Colonel David Redman salutes during a Remembrance Day ceremony in the former Republic of Yugoslavia on Nov. 11, 1995. Photo courtesy Lt Col David Redman Photo by Photo courtesy Lt Col David Redm /Photo courtesy Lt Col David Redm

Providing generous compensation to care workers who would quarantine with LTC residents would ensure an appropriate number of volunteers.

That plan might have cost a couple of billion dollars, says Redman. Instead, we continually lock down the whole of society at a cost to the federal government alone of $380 billion, never mind the cost to the provinces, and of destroyed businesses, rising depression rates, increased spousal abuse, spiking overdose death rates, cancelled surgeries  leading to deaths and reduced quality of life, cancelled weddings and old people dying without families by their sides. Redman is also very concerned about what these lockdowns and on-again-off-again schooling is doing to the education and socialization of Canada’s children.

“To date, in Canada, over 96 per cent of our more than 17,500 COVID deaths have been in seniors, over the age of 60, with multiple co-morbidities,” said Redman. That is over 15,440 deaths. It is likely thousands of these deaths could have been avoided, as over 80 per cent of the deaths in the first wave occurred in long term care homes.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, up until May 25, Canada had the highest death rates of residents in long-term care homes of any other OECD country.

“LTC residents accounted for 81 per cent of all reported COVID-19 deaths in Canada, compared with an average of 38 per cent in other OECD countries.” And yet, no comprehensive plan for LTC homes was established. It’s shocking.

According to the National Institute on Aging at Ryerson University, by Jan. 5, 2021, long-term care and retirement homes reported just 11 per cent of the Canadian totals of COVID-19 infections and 73 per cent of total deaths.

“The largest proportion of COVID-19 cases in Canada has been in individuals aged 20-29 years. The smallest proportion has been among people aged 70-79 years. However, most deaths from the disease have been among older Canadians — 71 per cent among people 80 years and older, and almost 97 per cent among individuals 60 years and older,” says the Library of Parliament report entitled: Long-Term Care Homes in Canada – The Impact of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, when Postmedia asked Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw whether she and the government consulted the 2014 pandemic plan, Dr. Hinshaw said that she had.

“The 2014 pandemic plan was, of course, a large part of our planning in the early days. Much of that plan is relevant to COVID, some of it is less relevant to COVID. We did not create a separate plan,” she said.

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That is obvious.

She added that she “liaised very closely” with the AEMA over the initial phases of the pandemic and we continue to liaise with them. We have an emergency operation centre in the Ministry of Health.”

Redman says the province and every other government in Canada had ample time to rewrite their pandemic plans to protect our seniors, particularly those living in LTC, none of them did. He also says that Premier Kenney should be the person relaying the government’s daily messages, not Hinshaw. She should have focused on creating surge capacity in our hospitals and passing on medical information to the public.

We all know hindsight is 20-20, but Redman was making these very points back in April.

“The only plan we’re using now is to lock down healthy people and hope that COVID isn’t brought into long-term care homes. Hope isn’t a plan,” he said.

Many more elderly people will die in Canada before they are all vaccinated and the healthcare of Canadians for generations to come will be compromised as we work to pay off our ballooning debt and deficits cause by the lockdowns. All for want of a good plan.

We must learn from this failure and never let it happen again.

Licia Corbella is a Postmedia columnist in Calgary. lcorbella@postmedia.com

Twitter: @LiciaCorbella

Ralph Klein’s niece opens her barbershop in defiance of Kenney’s lockdown

Ralph Klein’s niece opens her barbershop in defiance of Kenney’s lockdown

Bladez 2 Fadez, a barbershop in central Alberta, first opened its doors in August 2020. It’s a tough economy to open any small business, but especially now, during a time of ever-evolving pandemic restrictions on retail and services.

Bladez 2 Fadez was, until yesterday, a recently closed barber shop. Premier Jason Kenney made a mid-December decision to ban all personal care services, including hair and nail salons as well as barbershops, as part of his latest swath of COVID-19 restrictions on business.

However, Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m, Bladez 2 Fadez owner Natalie Klein served her first client in a month. Klein, despite the looming threat of fines, is opening her doors to the public. If that last name sounds familiar to you, it should. Klein is the niece of late, great Progressive Conservative Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.

I was on hand to talk with Natalie, her first customers and the locals from Innisfail and its surrounding communities — including Glen Carritt and Haley Wile of United We Roll, and Tracy Walker — a Red Deer salon owner who came to us at Rebel News’ IWillOpen.com with her own story of lockdown defiance.

Natalie told me that people have a right to support their families, and she knows she can work safely in her shop.

I promised Klein that if she received a ticket for her act of survival and civil disobedience, Rebel News would help her fight it at FightTheFines.com.

The day ended with no fines issued, but with intense pressure from Facebook tattletales, Natalie expects one to come soon.

What do a wrestler, protester, and a teenager have in common? ENORMOUS COVID-19 fines

What do a wrestler, protester, and a teenager have in common? ENORMOUS COVID-19 fines

We’re trying to help as many people as possible fight their COVID violation fines. Every day we receive more and more “Fight the Fines” cases through our online portal at FightTheFines.com. It’s almost impossible to keep up, but we haven’t stopped trying to take on every single one of those tickets. We’re also crowdfunding on that site so we can pay the legal fees associated with fighting each case.

The fines are often much less than the legal fees, but that’s the price we have to pay to stand up for our civil liberties. If you would like to chip in to help us recoup those costs, please click here

I have three crazy stories for you today. 

The first brings two of my biggest passions together: fighting government overreach and professional wrestling. 

“Hotshot“ Danny Duggan is a professional wrestler and wrestling promoter. His business depends on travelling from venue to venue and, more importantly, on fans buying tickets to go to his live events. Needless to say, all that is illegal now in every province and territory in Canada.  

So Danny got creative — he filmed his wrestling event in a closed facility in full compliance with the existing laws. But someone decided to report Danny’s production through the COVID snitch line, summoning police and bylaw enforcement to issue Danny a $1,300 fine! 

Here, take a look:

Power Trip: Cops charge pro wrestler for hosting closed, private

taping of CWE event in Manitoba

Next, we have Chris Schmidt. Chris and his friends recently attended an anti-lockdown protest in Red Deer, Alberta.  

They tried to keep to themselves, but that didn’t stop a Segway cop from chasing them down and asking for their information. Chris reluctantly agreed and since he didn’t receive a ticket at the event, he didn’t think much of the interaction.  

But wouldn’t you know it, nearly a week later, police showed up at his house to hand him a $1,200 ticket. 

You can watch that story right here

So a Segway cop rolls up to an anti-lockdown protest in Red Deer,

Alberta...

Finally, I want to introduce you to the real-life version of the Footloose town: Winkler, Manitoba. Winkler just might be ground zero of heavy-handed COVID enforcement. 

That’s where police have been issuing COVID tickets to maskless seniors picking up their prescriptions at the store, fining teenagers for hosting socially distant birthday parties and Christmas carolers singing in a public park.

Winkler is also where the RCMP pulled over Bailey Friesen and his friends for no other reason but to issue each of them a $1,296 COVID fine. 

They weren’t speeding, drinking, or doing anything else noteworthy — they were simply driving. 

It’s unbelievable. Click here to watch. 

Is Winkler, Manitoba the town from Footloose? COVID ticket handed

down for driving with friends

If you get a ticket, make sure you submit your story to FightTheFines.com so we can pair you with one of our excellent civil liberties lawyers. 

Despite what our health officials want us to think, pandemics do not override our Charter rights. But to preserve those rights, we have to defend them, especially when they’re actively being trampled on. 

If you agree and want to help us continue taking on these cases, please click here or visit FightTheFines.com today. 

Yours truly, 

Sheila Gunn Reid 

Medico-Stalinism in Australia: Victorians Need Covid Permit to Go Home or Face $5,000 Fine

AUSTRALIA – Victorians Need Covid Permit to Go Home or Face $5,000 Fine

January 11, 2021 https://www.rt.com/news/512142-victoria-covid-permit-fine-andrews/

Victorians need Covid permit to go home or face $5,000 fine under Australian state’s new rules

Victorian protective service officers walk past a sign urging people to stay home during Melbourne’s lockdown.   Victoria is forcing every person seeking to enter the Australian state to obtain a new permit, including people who live there. Those who flout the new Covid-19 rules risk being slapped with an AU$5,000 ($3,856) fine.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new regulation while detailing a relaxation of his state’s hard border with New South Wales.

The changes mean that Victoria residents stuck in regional parts of the neighboring state – which have been designated as an ‘orange zone’ – can prepare to return to their homes. However, the city of Sydney remains designated as a ‘red zone’ and is not included in the relaxed measures.

RT

Victoria premier Dan Andrews. © REUTERS/Luis Ascui

The new rules apply to every arrival in the state, even those from Covid-safe states and territories that have not experienced virus outbreaks in months.

As well as obtaining the permit, travellers from an ‘orange zone’ are required to get tested within 72 hours of arriving and must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Andrews has faced criticism from civil liberties campaigners and political opponents for his tough measures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest move was blasted by opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who accused the government of overreach for policing people who travel through green zones.

“Doesn’t matter if you’ve been to a green zone that’s never had a case of coronavirus in its history, you now need the Government’s permission before you can come back to Victoria,” O’Brien said.

This is a huge step, it puts the Government in control of every single Victorian’s life.

Reports in Australian news outlets suggest the traffic light system could remain in place for much of 2021.


Also on rt.com ‘Dan Andrews’ Stasi’: Victoria premier under fire for proposed law that would allow government officials to arbitrarily arrest citizens https://www.rt.com/news/501366-victoria-people-arrest-each-other/

Justice Centre to defend numerous individuals and faith communities issued $2300 tickets under BC public health orders

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News Release Justice Centre to defend numerous individuals and faith communities issued $2300 tickets under BC public health orders
Photo: Dawson Creek Mirror VANCOUVER: The Justice Centre of Constitutional Freedoms announced today that it will be challenging more than a dozen $2300 tickets given to different British Columbia individuals and faith communities, all for allegedly violating COVID public health orders.
 
The Justice Centre represents the following individuals and faith communities from across the province of British Columbia:

Alain Beaudoin
Brent Smith
Free Grace Baptist Church
Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack
Grant Reich
Heather Lucier
Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church
Jack Schoeman
James Butler
John Koopman
Jonah Zryd
Kelowna Harvest Fellowship
Riverside Calvary Chapel
Timothy Champ
Valley Heights Community Church
100 Mile House Baptist Church

The Province of B.C., specifically Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has made orders prohibiting people from organizing or attending “events” “except as provided for” in her Orders
 
This has resulted in individuals being ticketed while exercising their Charter rights to peacefully protest because they did not comply with various requirements in the Orders, such as collecting the first and last names and contact information of fellow protestors. 
 
Further, in-person worship services have been completely prohibited, regardless of the extra safety measures implemented by the faith community. Pastors and faith communities have been issued whopping fines for holding religious services despite having gone to extraordinary lengths to comply with health guidelines, including limiting attendance to no more than 50 persons, pre-registering attendees, rearranging seating to ensure physical distancing, providing hand sanitizer and masks and enhancing cleaning and sanitizing procedures. 
 
Many members of faith communities cannot access online services. For these individuals, gathering in-person is essential to their spiritual and emotional well-being, especially to cope with the negative effects of lockdowns. Support groups have been allowed to remain open, yet the government of BC has warned: “Do not attend a service at a church, synagogue, mosque, gurdwara, temple, or other places of worship”. These severe measures are being imposed on BC residents, while the BC government allows hundreds of people to gather at any given time in a Walmart or Costco. The government allows residents to gather and seat six at a table at bars and restaurants. 
 
On January 7, 2021, the Justice Centre filed a Petition challenging the BC governments’ lockdown Orders on the basis that they unjustifiably violate the rights and freedoms of BC residents protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of association; and the rights to life, liberty and security of the person as well as equality rights.
 
The Petition also challenges the Orders on the basis that they are unreasonable and exceed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s authority as Provincial Health Officer.
 
“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of citizens to protest and to gather for religious worship and puts the onus on government to show that any infringement of Charter freedoms is justified in the circumstances,” notes Marty Moore, Justice Centre staff lawyer.
 
“Individuals across the province of BC have been issued significant fines for responsibly exercising their fundamental Charter rights and freedoms,” states Mr. Moore. “The Justice Centre’s legal team will be challenging each of these tickets in court. COVID-19 does not cancel Canadians’ constitutional rights.”
 

For media interviews please contact:
 
Marty Moore, Staff Lawyer, Justice Centre
Phone : (587) 998-1806
Email: mmoore@jccf.ca; media@jccf.ca
 
  VISIT OUR WEBSITE

WATCH: Trudeau Says “Not Following The Rules” Could Mean “Prison Time”

WATCH: Trudeau Says “Not Following The Rules” Could Mean “Prison Time”

NewsSpencerFernandoJanuary 5, 20210

Rather than end the authoritarian, anti-democratic lockdowns, Trudeau and the corrupt political class continue to double-down on ruthless government power.

Justin Trudeau is escalating the authoritarian language surrounding the endless lockdowns being imposed on Canadians.

In the video below, Trudeau says “not following the rules” could mean “prison time.”

As I pointed out on Twitter, Trudeau only makes this threat after politicians are returning home, and are thus protected from it being imposed on them:

“Now that all the politicians are coming back from their vacations, Trudeau threatens prison time for those who break the rules. Of course, that threat only comes after politicians are safely protected from it.”

Now, the answer to hypocritical politicians travelling isn’t to place more restrictions on Canadians.

The answer is to end the lockdowns, end the restrictions on Canadians, make all of these recommendations voluntary.

Consider that the politicians are still claiming that the Charter protects the right to travel, which is correct.

However, if we have the right to travel outside the country and come back, then we must also have the right to travel freely within the country.

And that means we have the right to keep our businesses open, visit our families, and gather with whomever we want.

It is impossible to justify restrictions within our country while keeping the borders and airports open.

To end this hypocrisy, we must end the restrictions, and respect the freedom of Canadians to make our own individual choices.

Spencer Fernando

Spirited Argument by Defence Lawyer Ian McCuaig Gets Crown to Drop “Outrageous” Requirement of a COVID-test to Obtain Bail http://cafe.nfshost.com/?p=5402

Crown drops bail condition that forced man arrested at Toronto BBQ protest to submit COVID-19 test

[In political cases, the Crown often seeks to impose restrictions or conditions that have nothing to do with ensuring that the accused will show up for trial. This case is one small victory in the war against political persecution. Paul Fromm]

Betsy Powell January 04, 2021

A Markham man who planned to argue in court Tuesday that he was unlawfully ordered to take a COVID-19 test and turn the results over to police has abandoned that fight after the Crown dropped the condition of his release on bail, his lawyer said Monday.

However, the issue of whether that “outrageous” bail condition was constitutional remains unresolved and still needs to be argued in Ontario Superior Court, says defence lawyer Ian McCuaig.

Michael Arana, 27, was arrested during a boisterous, high-profile pandemic lockdown protest outside Adamson Barbeque on Nov. 26 and charged with six counts of assaulting a peace officer, two counts of uttering threats and one count of obstructing a peace officer. It’s alleged he spit at officers.

“For Mr. Arana, we won, but there’s a bigger issue here… the issue becomes whether this an appropriate bail condition at all,” McCuaig said Monday.

Arana represented himself at a bail hearing where the justice of the peace, at the request of the Crown, agreed to release him from custody if he immediately scheduled a COVID-19 test and promised to provide police with the test results.

When he learned what happened, McCuaig stepped in to launch a legal challenge to the “invasive medical testing” and requirement to report “potentially personal health information to the police as a condition of his bail,” which violates his charter rights, reads the bail review application record filed in court on Arana’s behalf.

“The Crown’s decision to require the unrepresented Applicant (who has a known history of mental illness) to either accept this unlawful condition or spend the weekend in COVID-19 isolation in jail awaiting a contested hearing is oppressive, remarkable, and reprehensible. It is a marked and unacceptable departure for the reas

Washington state restaurants openly defy COVID-19 restrictions, championed by far-right groups[Since when did support of freedom become “far right”?]

Washington state restaurants openly defy COVID-19 restrictions, championed by far-right groups

Jan. 4, 2021 at 6:43 pm Updated Jan. 4, 2021 at 9:14 pm

Protesters listen to speakers Monday in the parking lot of Farm Boy restaurant, outside of Olympia, that is defying restrictions against sit-down service. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Joey Gibson, of Patriot Prayer, urges other businesses to join with Farm Boy, a restaurant defying COVID-19 restrictions. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Outside Farm Boy the protest continued, while inside sit-down service went on in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Protesters outside Farm Boy rally against COVID-19 restrictions. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

1 of 4 | Protesters listen to speakers Monday in the parking lot of Farm Boy restaurant, outside of Olympia, that is defying restrictions against sit-down service. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times) By Hal Bernton Seattle Times staff reporter

WOODLAND, Cowlitz County — Outside the door to Brock’s Bar & Grill, people stood on the sidewalk with U.S. and Trump 2020 flags. Inside, the place was packed with people enjoying Sunday afternoon drinks in what was billed as a “Day of Defiance” to the COVID-19 restrictions that have banned such service in the state of Washington.

Owner Polly Merwin says she worked 32 years tending bar to make the money to buy the business, which she fears is now at risk.

“We the people have to take a stand. Small business can’t survive,” Merwin declared.

Patrons of Brock’s Bar & Grill in Woodland, Cowlitz County, head into a Sunday afternoon opening for bar drinks and food in defiance of state COVID-19 restrictions. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)
Patrons of Brock’s Bar & Grill in Woodland, Cowlitz County, head into a Sunday afternoon opening for bar drinks and food in defiance of state COVID-19 restrictions. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)

This protest on Sunday was part of a broader backlash in parts of Washington and Oregon against measures imposed in recent months by the states’ governors to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The movement has gained support among residents in some communities wary of government pronouncements and angry over rules that have kept big-box stores open while shutting down indoor-dining services. Advertising Skip AdSkip AdSkip Ad

And it has been championed on social media by a far-right network including Patriot Prayer, Washington Three Percenters, the Proud Boys and People’s Rights, a group formed with the help of Ammon Bundy, an organizer of the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover.

These events have included statehouse rallies in Olympia and Salem that drew armed supporters, and sometimes turned violent. And some have done double duty as rallies in support of President Donald Trump as speakers echo the president’s claims — rejected dozens of times by courts — that the election was stolen from him through fraud.

Another “Stop the steal” rally is planned for Wednesday at the Olympia Capitol to coincide with a larger protest in D.C. as Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes that will put President-elect Joe Biden in the White House.

The Washington and Oregon events are promoted on a “Patriot’s Calendar” that included a post for Sunday’s Brock’s Bar & Grill opening. It also helped spread the word about a Monday afternoon rally that attracted dozens of people to Farm Boy, a Thurston County drive-thru and sit-down restaurant facing $183,141 in state Department of Labor & Industries penalties for 19 days of indoor service that are deemed to be willful violations of state rules.

Farm Boy employees on Monday were serving people inside a modest wood-frame restaurant building, which had blinds drawn down over the windows. A sign said, “Enter at own risk.”

“I stop keeping track [of the fines] because I’m not paying them,” said Brian Robbins, Farm Boy’s owner. Robbins said that his actions were “strictly about survival,” to avoid laying off his workers. In a brief speech urged “all small businesses to open — do it today.” Advertising Skip Ad

Mike Faulk, a spokesperson for Gov. Jay Inslee, said indoor dining at restaurants creates a higher risk for COVID-19 transmission. “We are at a serious point in the pandemic where medical systems threaten to be overwhelmed,” he said. “To save lives, we made the painful decision to temporarily close indoor dining. We take no enjoyment in it, but it was the right thing to do based on the science of the virus.”

Brian Robbins, the owner of Farm Boy restaurant, is hugged by supporters after he gave an emotional speech to those gathered for a rally outside his restaurant protesting lockdowns for small businesses. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Brian Robbins, the owner of Farm Boy restaurant, is hugged by supporters after he gave an emotional speech to those gathered for a rally outside his restaurant protesting lockdowns for small businesses. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The movement’s tactics this fall have included singling out state L & I staff for harassment. One employee involved in an investigation of indoor service by Spiffy’s Restaurant & Bakery in Chehalis. His name and age were publicized, and protesters appeared outside his home, according to The Daily Chronicle.

The efforts to go after the investigators have prompted L & I to stop putting staff names on orders of immediate restraint, according to Tim Church, an L & I spokesman, who said that Spiffy now faces $202,419 in penalties.

“There have been protests at homes a few different times. Nasty voice mails and emails. All sorts of things,” Church said.

In Lewis County, Spiffy’s efforts to stay open have drawn support from Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, who said in a December interview posted on Facebook that he had been a customer of the restaurant for more than 30 years. “ … We need to stand up as conservatives and as Republicans, we need to stand up for our constitutional rights and say enough is enough … Don’t be a sheep.”

The movement’s support from some local law enforcement and politicians is welcomed by Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, who has been active in both Oregon and Washington.

“People just need to stay open. If they want to start throwing people in jail, I mean, they can try, but that’s not going to work out to the state’s favor because that’s just going to have more people rise up,” Gibson said.

Rallies against restrictions

Gibson was one of the featured speakers at a Salem rally held on a rainy, gray New Year’s Day in Salem. This event drew several hundred people, including contingents of Proud Boys, some armed, carrying cans of bear spray and wearing ballistic vests.

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Two weeks earlier, during a rally against COVID-19 restrictions at a one-day special session of the Oregon Legislature, some protesters smashed glass doors at the Capitol building and an altercation became physical as those who entered the building were asked to leave by Oregon State Police troopers, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.

There were no efforts to force entry into the Capitol. The event was organized by Oregon Women for Trump, who combine a fierce loyalty to the president with a disdain for COVID-19 rules. At this rally, there was also antipathy toward the COVID-19 vaccines, which drew boos when mentioned by a speaker.

“I myself am not going to take one, and most of the people I know will not,” said Kathy Elgin.

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Elgin has flown back to Washington, D.C., to participate in demonstrations there in support of the president. Despite all this travel, and not wearing masks during the outdoor events, Elgin said she has not come down with COVID-19.

She said she does, however, take hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump once said he took to fend off the infection but that the Food and Drug Administration has concluded is not an effective treatment.

During a roughly 2-mile march from the Salem Capitol building to Mahonia Hall, the governor’s residence, protesters occasionally broke out in chants that hurled obscenities at Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as well as antifa, anti-fascists from the left, some of whom had organized their own small event in Salem on New Year’s Day.

Oregon state police form a line to protect the Salem residence of Gov. Kate Brown — Mahonia Hall — on New Year’s Day. Protesters gathered to oppose COVID-19 restrictions.  (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)
Protesters lashing out against COVID-19 restrictions on New Year’s Day roll out a giant American flag in front of Mahonia Hall, Salem residence of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. One protester holds a sign that says, “Well regulated militia sign-up !” (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)

1 of 2 | Oregon state police form a line to protect the Salem residence of Gov. Kate Brown — Mahonia Hall — on New Year’s Day. Protesters gathered to oppose COVID-19 restrictions. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)

some of the protesters unfurled a huge American flag that they stretched in front of the Oregon State Police troopers who guarded the entryway. In front of the flag, one man held up a sign that said, “Well-regulated militia — sign up!”

One speaker denounced a fake pandemic. Another declared, “We are on the brink of civil war,” prompting someone in the crew to remark, “And we’ve got the guns.”

Packed bar, few masks

At the Sunday event in Woodland, Brock’s owner, Merwin, said in a Facebook post there would be good food, good drinks and a live band. By 2 p.m., dozens of people were inside the bar as football games and Fox News played on overhead televisions. Advertising Skip Ad