Minister Cameron Friesen is sharing a statement on COVID-19 enforcement after a Winnipeg church's college faced backlash on social media on the Long Weekend.
"Allegations of breaches of the Public Health Orders are circulating on social media. We take this situation seriously - there are consequences for those who break the public health rules and put others at risk," Friesen says in a statement.
As of Wednesday, no tickets have been given to Springs College after images circulated online of an allegid unmasked graduation ceremony.
Statement on Springs Church Enforcement pic.twitter.com/Sjp7TKVqF5— Cameron Friesen (@CameronFriesen) May 26, 2021
"At the same time, we remind Manitobans that there is an investigation underway, and it takes time to ensure the evidence is well-founded and documented. We have full confidence in our Justice Officials to carry out a complete and thorough investigation of these allegations."
Friesen holds a Bachelor of Arts from Canadian Mennonite University, which requires its students to study theology as a minor and has openly addressed churches during the pandemic.
Other Ministers chimed in on the issue over the weekend, including the province's Mental Health Minister.
Minister Audrey Gordon, a known member of Springs Church who operates the college wrote "I have read several posts stating that I was present at the Springs graduation ceremony. To my knowledge, no evidence has been provided to substantiate this claim" in a Facebook statement.
Her Facebook page has since been taken down.
In a statement, Springs Church's lead pastor, Leon Fontaine, said "countless hours are spent interpreting and implementing new weekly Manitoba Health orders. Members of the public were not put at any risk at any time as a result of the virtual college graduation."
Fontaine says "unfortunately, some pictures with no context led to a lot of misunderstanding."
He says the ceremony was filmed in their television studio to be shared with a drive-in audience, and the "Virtual College Graduation" was broadcast to the parking lot.