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February 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A new poll has shed light on the declining state of Canadians’ mental health due to COVID lockdowns, revealing that depression has skyrocketed and that drug use is also on the rise.

The poll, conducted by Leger and commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), concludes that only two in five respondents said they had strong (very good/excellent) mental health.

The number of Canadians who have feelings of depression rose from two percent in March of 2020, to 14 percent in December of the same year. The poll concluded, “The pandemic is amplifying the close relationship between mental health and substance use.”

“Respondents with past and current substance use concerns report more mental health symptoms. Nearly 1 out of 2 respondents with past substance use disorders report moderately severe to severe depression symptoms since March 2020,” reads the summary of the report of the poll.

“Respondents with past and current mental health concerns report greater increases in substance use. Almost 1 out of 2 respondents with current mental health symptoms who consume cannabis report increased consumption.”

The poll was conducted between October and December of 2020, sampling a total of 4,009 people from across Canada. It found that only 40 percent of respondents reported strong mental health, compared to 67 percent before the lockdowns began.

The poll showed that 30 percent reported an increase in alcohol consumption during the lockdowns, with 40 percent of cannabis users saying their drug use went up as well.

The MHCC’s vice president of programs and priorities Ed Mantler said that “something is going on” with the mental health of Canadians. “That’s such a wide gap, it tells us that something is going on there. The fact that fewer Canadians feel their mental health is strong or excellent doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re experiencing a mental illness.”

“They may be experiencing sadness or anxiety that are completely normal reactions to what’s happening around us. But we do know that those who report severe symptoms of depression in particular have increased substantially.”

Despite authorities locking down many small businesses, kids’ sports, churches, and recreation facilities, governments nationwide kept liquor and cannabis stores open.

Virtually all of Canada is in a state of some sort of lockdown at the moment, the most severe in Quebec with a strict curfew in place, followed by Ontario, which recently announced that stay-at-home orders in the Toronto area would continue until at least March 8.

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PETITION UPDATE (3/22/2021)

Pastor James Coates has been freed!

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the legal counsel which has been representing Pastor Coates, just issued a statement saying that Alberta's Crown Prosecutors have decided to drop all but one charge against Pastor Coates, paving the way for him to be released soon.

This is a great victory, God be praised!

Please READ LifeSiteNews' latest article on this latest and unexpected turn of events for Pastor Coates.

While Pastor Coates will still have to stand trial for the one remaining charge in May, he will at least be free to prepare for the hearings, and to celebrate Easter with his family and congregation.

Thank you for taking part in this campaign advocating for Pastor Coates' release!

Of course, with a trial still pending, he's not out of the woods, yet. But, this is a gigantic step in the right direction.

During his trial, we will keep you updated as to his status and we will continue to support Pastor Coates.

We will also keep fighting to ensure that Canadian people of faith like him are never persecuted for exercising their right to worship freely.

Until the trial finishes, please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition in solidarity with Pastor Coates. Thank you!

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PETITION UPDATE (2/24/2021) - 

There have been two important, recent updates to the ongoing imprisonment of Pastor James Coates in Alberta, Canada.

First, Alberta's Premier, Jason Kenney has spoken out about Pastor Coates' incarceration.

Please READ LifeSiteNews' article about Premier Kenney's intervention, here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-premier-who-jailed-christian-pastor-claims-he-is-protecting-fundamental-freedoms-of-religion

And second, Pastor Coates' wife addressed a crowd of supporters at the jail in which her husband is being held, saying in part:

"People keep asking us what can you do for us? Open your churches. Open your churches! Take a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ and take a stand for the people! Love them, open the doors, that’s what we need to do right now."

To read about Mrs. Coates visit to see her husband at the Edmonton Remand Center and her full remarks, please CLICK on the following news article from LifeSiteNews: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/wife-of-jailed-candadian-pastor-tells-supporters-the-best-way-to-protest-is-to-open-your-churches

Then, please SIGN and SHARE this important petition. Thank you!

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Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church in Alberta, Canada has been ARRESTED for refusing to comply with extreme and likely unconstitutional government Covid regulations that ban people from gathering to worship in their church of choice.

You read that right: Even churches aren’t exempt from Trudeau Liberals’ all-out attack on peoples' freedoms in the wake of this pandemic.

But, Pastor Coates needs to be released immediately, and MPs must take steps to rein-in the extreme Covid regulations which provincial governments are using as an excuse to trample on essential freedoms.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition and STAND WITH PASTOR COATES.

Send a strong message to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Justice Minister Lametti, as well as to all Members of Parliament and to Canadian Provincial Premiers, that this CANNOT stand.

Some government officials are hoping to make examples out of faith leaders like Pastor Coates, who refuse to comply with unreasonable government demands to close-off places of worship to their own congregations.

That's why he remains in custody to this day.

But, no Canadian should ever face jail time for exercising their God-given, Charter-guaranteed rights, and action MUST be taken.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition.

NB: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FROM CANADA TO SIGN THIS PETITION.

Pastor Coates, who leads Grace Life Church in Edmonton, Alberta, originally suspended in-person services and church gatherings in good faith and out of concern for his congregants after Trudeau’s government first introduced Covid restrictions last spring.

However, the church reopened over the summer when it became clear that Trudeau’s shutdowns were here to stay, and that congregants would be indefinitely limited in their worship size or again banned from in-person worship altogether under their guidelines.

After Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, enacted new restrictions in November that cap all faith-based gatherings at 15% of building capacity (a major blow to churches that wish to resume worship for their members), Pastor Coates kept Grace Life’s doors open to anyone and everyone who wished to proceed with normal practice of their faith.

However, this simple exercising of congregants’ Charter rights was met not only with governmental resistance, but an unreasonably disproportionate legal response.

Pastor Coates was arrested and then quickly released on February 7th for practicing his faith alongside congregants, and arrested AGAIN on February 16th for the same reason.

Pastor Coates remains in custody today for refusing to allow Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his health officer Deena Hinshaw to infringe upon his congregants’ civil liberties any further.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which calls for the release of Pastor Coates, and asks Canada's MPs to take action to ensure that Canadian people of faith, like him, are NEVER persecuted for exercising their right to worship freely.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Alberta govt jails pastor for holding COVID-non-compliant worship services' - 
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-govt-jails-pastor-for-holding-covid-non-compliant-worship-services

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Another poll conducted by Nova Scotia’s Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) also raised alarm bells as well to the state of Canadians mental health. It showed that a total of 40 percent of Canadians report that their overall mental health has taken a nosedive since the start of COVID-19.

As for the Leger poll, it also concluded that access for addicts to help services is “not keeping up with increasing need.”

“Only 22% of respondents with current mental health symptoms and 24% with current problematic substance use report access to treatment since March; about 1 in 5 of respondents who have received care report finding access difficult,” the poll noted.

In January, a Canadian doctor’s research showed that lockdowns have caused vastly more harm than good.

Dr. Ari Joffe concluded in a paper published titled, “COVID-19: Rethinking the Lockdown Groupthink,” that the collateral damage caused by COVID-19 lockdowns will cause more harm than the virus itself, and will also far outweigh any benefits that might have been incurred by keeping everyone at home.

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