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Brian Pallister, premier of Manitoba.cpac / YouTube

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, December 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Only days after issuing huge fines to a church for holding “illegal” drive-in church services, a Canadian province has now reversed course and will allow people to worship in their cars in church parking lots.

Beginning this Saturday, the provincial government of Manitoba under Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister will let people attend drive-in church services, so long as they remain in the car and the occupants are of the same household.

The change to allow drive-in services was announced by the chief public health officer of the province, Dr. Brent Roussin, Tuesday, after the province said it would be extending its severe restrictions, albeit with some easing, such as allowing drive-in church services.

Last Sunday, the pastor of the Manitoba Church of God in Steinbach, Tobias Tissen, was fined over $6,000 for holding a drive-in service for the second week in a row.

According to a Rebel News report, the fines were handed out not by the local police, the RCMP, but by officers with “Manitoba Justice” written on the backs of their jackets.

The change from the Manitoba government comes only days after the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF)  warned that it will seek an injunction to allow drive-in church services if the government did not reverse course.

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A Coptic Christian immigrant to Canada has been expelled from the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine for refusing to change his personal beliefs about the value of life from conception and the right to own firearms.

Rafael Zaki, who emigrated from Egypt with his parents to escape religious persecution, has wound up being subjected to another form of persecution...this time, in Manitoba.

Indeed, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Rafael's fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion.

Please SIGN this petition to Manitoba's Minister of Economic Development and Training, Mr. Ralph Eichler, asking him to initiate an independent investigation into Rafael's case, and to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Justice for Rafael must be swift and commensurate with the persecution he has endured at the hands of the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine.

The trouble for Rafael began in 2019, when anonymous accusers claimed that pro-life and pro-gun rights posts on his personal Facebook account made them feel "unsafe."

Unbelievably, these anonymous accusers even equated Zaki's being pro-life to his being "misogynistic and hostile to women" when nothing could be further from the truth!

But, an investigation of Zaki's posts was then undertaken, and he was ordered to attend seven "remediation" sessions with the College's Associate Dean for Undergraduate medical education, Dr. Ira Ripstein.

Immediately after he was notified of the accusations, Zaki removed the post which other people found unacceptable.

Then, he issued TEN apologies, five to his peers and five to his professors.

But, even after removing the posts and apologizing profusely, and attending the seven "remediation" sessions, Dr. Ripstein still wasn't impressed by Zaki's apparent contrition because he surmised that the young med student had not changed his beliefs.

And, why should he change his beliefs?!?

It is Rafael's right to hold pro-life and pro-gun rights views and express them publicly, as long as he did not bring university business into the conversation - which he did not.

And, the university has absolutely no right to insist that one of its students change his or her sincerely held beliefs which are not objectively hateful or incite violence.

But, in the end, Rafael was expelled from the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine, with Dr. Ira Ripstein seeming to act as Rafael's judge, jury and executioner.

So, right now, it is essential that Manitoba's Minister of Economic Development and Training, Ralph Eichler, launch an independent investigation into the treatment of Rafael Zaki at the hands of the College's administration.

We are calling for swift justice for Rafael Zaki so that he doesn't lose another minute of medical study to these chilling attacks on his freedom of speech and religion.

SIGN and SHARE this petition and stand up for Rafael now!

Then, please politely contact Minister Eichler's office to politely ask for justice to be done for Rafael Zaki. Please use this contact information:

Minister's Office
Phone: 204-945-0067
Fax: 204-945-4882
Email [email protected]

Thank you!


'Canadian university expels medical student for anti-abortion, conservative Facebook posts'

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A representative of the JCCF told LifeSiteNews that the group is “pleased” that the province has decided to allow people to worship outdoors in their cars. 

“The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is very pleased to hear that the Province of Manitoba has reversed its decision to ban drive-in church services. We warned the Premier a week ago that this ban was not compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, not justifiable at law, and that if not reversed, we would file an Injunction Application,” said Allison Pejovic, a JCCF Winnipeg-based lawyer and a member of the Manitoba bar, to LifeSiteNews.

“This is a small victory for Manitoba churches whose congregants are desperate to worship together, even if it’s just from their cars in a parking lot. More work needs to be done, however, to reverse Manitoba’s extraordinary and harmful interference with civil liberties.”

Pallister and his government have enacted some of the most severe and restrictive COVID-19 lockdown measures in Canada, moving the entire province into their red “critical” phase of lockdown on November 12.

As part of the provincial lockdown, all churches had to close and could only “provide services virtually.” Social gatherings of any kind were not permitted in Manitoba, and only businesses listed as “critical services” can be open at 25 percent capacity. This means that gyms, movie theaters, recreation centers, and museums are being ordered to close. Restaurants can offer take-out only, but schools remain open. 

It was only recently that the Manitoba Church of God in Steinbach was handed a $5,000 fine after defying COVID-19 restrictions to hold an in-person service. The same church again defied COVID-19 rules banning all church services other than virtual ones on Sunday, November 29, and held a drive-in service that saw the police block the parking lot of the church.

Tissen forged ahead with the planned service but had to do so from the side of the highway with a loudspeaker in the back of a truck. He used the church’s Facebook page to give updates to his parishioners.

A few days ago, a Manitoba judge denied a request from Springs Church in Winnipeg to be able to hold drive-in services after they took the government to court with a claim that their charter rights were being violated.

The church had been fined over $32,000 for holding drive-in church services against government lockdown orders, but the judge ruled that he did “not believe that the applicants meet their burden of showing that [they] will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted.”

At the end of November, the JCCF released a “comprehensive Charter analysis of the Manitoba Government’s lockdown measures,” going on to say the Pallister government’s COVID-19 orders “violate the Charter freedoms of citizens to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship, all while crippling society and the economy.”

“The Province seems to have completely ignored the fact that Manitobans have Charter rights that protect their freedoms to assemble, associate, worship, and express themselves,” said Pejovic.

Last week, Pallister told reporters he was the guy “who’s stealing Christmas” to keep people in his province “safe” from COVID-19.

For respectful communications, please contact:

Premier of Manitoba — Brian Pallister

Phone: 204-945-3714
Fax: 204-949-1484
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BrianPallister

204 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8

To contact Manitoba members of the Legislative Assembly, please CLICK HERE.


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