COVID rule-opposing Canadian priest charged criminally after protesting outside health minister’s home

The PolishCanadian A priest who has been repeatedly arrested for holding church meetings in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested again over the weekend after attending a protest outside the province’s health minister’s home.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid Pawlowski were arrested at the roadside on New Year’s Day on their way home from the protest, where about 50 people gathered for about 45 minutes on the road outside Alberta’s health minister Jason Copping’s house to demonstrate against ongoing health orders and the province’s vaccine pas program.

Artur Pawlowski has faced repeated, dramatic arrests and has been fined tens of thousands of dollars for his opposition to restrictive COVID-19 rules for his church, which he believes are unconstitutional, including restrictions that force certain speeches from the pulpit.

According to video in connection with the recent incident, a cortege of Calgary police pulled Pawlowski over, handcuffed him while lying face down in the snow and carried him to one of their vehicles.

Since the first drawing international attention Pawlowski last Easter for ousting armed police who entered his sanctuary to inspect it for compliance with COVID-19 rules, Pawlowski has refused to restrict participation in his church despite repeated allegations of contempt and other conspicuous arrests , including in in the middle of a highway and on the tarmac of Calgary Airport.

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In October, he was sentenced to 18 months probation by Judge Adam Germain at Queen’s Bench for holding worship services in violation of a court order related to failure to enforce masking requirements, attendance limits and rules on social distance. Germain limited his journey and gave the pastor a mandate to read a manuscript that echoes government health officials every time he speaks publicly about COVID-19 and vaccines, even from the pulpit. An appeals court issued a stay of these conditions last month.

‘Annoyingly Complicated’

Pawlowski and his brother were released on bail on Sunday after being accused of failing to comply with a court order allegedly banning them from attending an “illegal public gathering”.

Gathering outside to protest on public property is not illegal in Canada, but Alberta’s latest health order mandates that anyone participating in such a demonstration must at all times be masked and keep at least two meters away from others.

Many at the protest, which was monitored by a police helicopter, were unmasked and closer than two meters apart, according to video of the demonstration.

Asked why Pawlowski and his brother were the only ones from the protest who were arrested on their way home, a spokesman for the Calgary Police Service (CPS) told Fox News that they “unaware that anyone else at the protest had the conditions of the court that Arthur and David have. “

Calgary Police arrest Pastor Artur Pawlowski in the middle of a highway on his way home from church on May 8, 2021. (Courtesy Artur Pawlowski)

Calgary Police arrest Pastor Artur Pawlowski in the middle of a highway on his way home from church on May 8, 2021. (Courtesy Artur Pawlowski)

Sarah Miller, Pawlowski’s lawyer, told Fox News that she “can not explain” CPS’s position because the relevant court order, which was issued by Associate Chief Justice John Rooke in May, does not even mention Pawlowskis.

A source with the Calgary-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms further explained to Fox News that after their law firm challenged the Rooke order in court last year, it was changed to apply only to the owners of Whistle Stop Café and those who work together or in connection with them. The cafe in the remote Mirror, Alberta, faced prosecution from health authorities for keeping it open.

“It’s annoyingly complicated,” said Miller, who believes the complexity of the trial may lead some to see the latest incident as a simple case of harassment by the health minister.

“They just condemn Pawlowskis to guilt before they really understand the whole of it,” she said.

‘Walls of secrecy’

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the province’s chief executive, condemned the protesters the day after Pawlowskis was arrested, and shared an article about it on Facebook and Twitter.

“All Albertans have the right to protest peacefully,” Kenney wrote. “This right does not cover the intrusion into private homes and the harassment of families by public officials.” He went on to accuse the participants of being “fringe anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists.”

When reached for comment on why he would suggest Pawlowskis had violated and harassed a public official when they were not accused of doing so, a Kenney spokesman told Fox News that “it would be inappropriate to comment on cases before the courts. “

Pawlowski, who said he was invited to the protest to help keep the peace as a priest, told Fox News Digital that he did nothing illegal and that the premiere is “a liar”.

When Alberta Health Services (AHS) sought a prison sentence for Pawlowski last summer, he quarreled in a announcement to the court that he could share a cell with Prime Minister Kenney, who apologized in June after being taken in violation his own health regulations in 24 different ways during a private dinner with members of his cabinet.

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“Where are the politicians that we can hold accountable?” asked Pawlowski. “We can not even see them. They are not in their offices. They are not in the Legislative Assembly. They are hiding behind the walls of secrecy. Everything they do is ex parte. We are not even allowed. To go to court , when they give all these violations of our rights.

“The only thing we have right now is to go where they live and do our best to peacefully demand some answers. And that was what we did. We were very peaceful. No one violated,” he continued.

Alberta’s health minister did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

‘A peaceful resistance’

During a speech tour across the United States over the summer, Pawlowski met with lawmakers and warned the public that Western governments are increasingly resembling the communist regime in Poland he fled as a young man.

“Those who have never grown up in a totalitarian regime have no right to judge me, for they do not know what they are talking about,” the controversial priest said of those who hate him.

“And my message to them is very clear: I do not hate them. I love everyone. I love my enemies. I love Jason Kenney, even though I want to fight those bullies. I want to fight the totalitarian tyrants, but I did not hate people.”

Pawlowski stressed to his opponents that he is also fighting for their rights.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski is arrested by Calgary Police in the middle of a highway on May 8, 2021. (Courtesy Artur Pawlowski)

Pastor Artur Pawlowski is arrested by Calgary Police in the middle of a highway on May 8, 2021. (Courtesy Artur Pawlowski)

Each time he is arrested, Pawlowski kneels on the ground and forces officers to pull him, which he said is his attempt to make “a visual political point.”

“This is a peaceful resistance,” he said. “Mahatma Gandhi style, Martin Luther King Jr., Solidarity movement with Lech Walesa. We are not fighting back. We are fighting back by resisting and not abiding.”

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“I do not go after those people, remember,” Pawlowski said. “The villains, the thugs, are coming after us. They have joined this fight against the church. They have joined this fight against our children. They have entered this fight against free Canadians who just want to live their lives, just like we’ve been doing it for decades.

“But these days it’s unacceptable,” he added.

Since the pandemic, other churches in Alberta and across Canada have faced imprisoned priests, locked facilities, steep fines, and continued interference from officials. In June, late. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., urged the United States Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) to consider adding Canada to its watch list.

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