Paul Tuns

On Oct. 13, Calgary ‘street’ pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother Dawid, were fined, put on probation, and ordered to preach the government’s talking points on the science of COVID-19, following their contempt of court convictions in June for breaking anti-pandemic masking rules. Christopher Scott, owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe in Calgary, was also sentenced for not enforcing mask mandates issued by the province. Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Adam Germain said “they’re on the wrong side of science,” adding, “they are also on the wrong side of common sense.”

Germain said the three “have contributed to this ominous health situation” and “encouraged others to doubt the legitimacy of the pandemic.”

The three are banned from criticizing health orders, including on social media, unless they also promote the government’s health orders, including in the pastor’s sermons.

The Pawlowkis have repeatedly held maskless church services in Calgary and prevented health authorities’ entry into their Dover, Alberta church, southeast of Calgary. The specific charges in this case related to a church service the pastor led at Cave at Adullam church in Calgary this past spring.

Germain speculated in his decision, “it is not an unreasonable observation that the Pawlowskis revelled in their arrests and went out of their way to make their arrests the Saturday night news spectacle that it became.” The judge said of Artur Pawlowski, “he has a fervent desire that I martyr him.”

He fined Artur $23,000 and Dawid $10,000 and handed them 18- and 12 months probation respectively; cafe owner Scott was fined $20,000 and placed on 18 months probation. As part of their probation, they are prohibited from speaking against Alberta Health Service (AHS) order unless they also provide countervailing arguments. They must also obey AHS orders and do 120 hours of community service. They are also prevented from leaving the province. Artur Pawlowski recently returned from a summer tour of the United States in which he spoke to rallies and media about restrictive pandemic mandates and forced vaccinations in Alberta.

Following the verdict, Artur Pawlowski was interviewed by Rebel News, during which he said, “Welcome to Chinada 2021.” Pawlowski said the judge effectively banned him from working as a preacher by compelling speech during his services with which he does not agree. “Basically, what the judge is saying is that I cannot be a pastor anymore. For 18 months, I have to give up my rights, I have to give up my convictions, I have to give up my faith, and I cannot participate in anything that I believe in.”

He said if he abides by the judge’s probation requirements, he would be lying, telling Rebel News: “I have to become a liar every time I open my mouth in order to actually speak about the corrupted judges, the corrupted court system, and the corrupted politicians, because you know and I know, they are breaking the same rules all the time.”

Pawlowski’s lawyer, Sarah Miller, is preparing an appeal of Judge Germain’s decision. She said it was a “huge win” that her client was not sentenced to a jail term. In September, AHS lawyer John Siddons asked the court for a 21-day jail sentence for “openly” flaunting COVID restrictions.

Lawyer Don Hutchinson wrote in Convivium that Pastor Pawlowski has a “propensity to dissent from government regulation in his efforts to share the Gospel” – for example, using sound amplification equipment on city streets without a permit – and that civil disobedience requires accepting the lawful consequences prescribed by civil authorities. Hutchinson argues that while Pawlowski might have anticipated penalties such as fines or imprisonment for his civil disobedience, he “could not have foreseen” a “judicial order that Pawlowski mouth the majority opinion on COVID-19 government health measures at any time he might present his dissenting opinion in public.”

Hutchinson calls Germain’s order “improper, objectionable, and offense to the concept of a ‘free and democratic society’.” He said that Germain’s order “inhibits free speech by compelling involuntary speech.” Hutchinson said that Pawlowski should appeal because “the speech encumbering order of Justice Germain pleads for reconsideration by the Alberta Court of Appeal.”