A Canadian pastor is going through his ultimate trial after three years of repeated fines, arrests and imprisonment for protecting his church open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artur Pawlowski, pastor of the Cave of Adullam congregation in Calgary, stated he’s accused of inflicting $400 million price of damages for officiating a church service throughout the trucker blockade on the U.S.-Canada border final 12 months.
“That is the ultimate fruits of over 40 tickets for the COVID tyranny, the home arrest, the jail, all of that stuff,” Pawlowski informed Fox Information Digital forward of his trial, set to start Thursday, Feb. 2, in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Pawlowski, the primary Canadian clergyman to be ticketed for alleged COVID-19 violations, claims the fees in opposition to him are an try to criminalize his speech.
“It is loopy stuff,” he stated.
He additionally slammed Alberta’s new premier, Danielle Smith, who he stated mentioned his potential amnesty final fall however has since “backpedaled.”
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Pawlowski, who additionally heads a charity to feed Calgary’s homeless, faces as much as 10 years in jail if convicted on the fees stemming from his participation within the trucker convoy in Coutts, Alberta.
He’s charged with mischief over $5,000, contravention of the Important Infrastructure Protection Act and failure to conform along with his launch situation to maintain the peace and be of fine conduct.
‘I can’t obey’
Pawlowski first drew international attention in April 2021 when he threw armed police and a well being official out of his church as they tried to examine it for public well being compliance throughout an Easter service.
He was seen in a viral video chasing authorities out whereas likening them to the Nazi Gestapo. When officers returned every week later with a court order that empowered them “to do something needed” to enter his church and arrest him, Pawlowski recorded himself throwing them out once more and warned his viewers that Canada more and more resembles the communist regime his household endured in Poland.
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Calgary police arrested the pastor 5 instances after he continued to conduct companies in defiance of the courtroom order, together with as soon as in the course of a busy freeway on his means residence from church. On one other event, he was arrested on the tarmac of Calgary Worldwide Airport following a talking tour within the U.S.
Pawlowski told Fox News Digital on the time that authorities appeared to have rummaged by means of his baggage on the airport and snooped in his laptop computer.
After a number of courtroom appearances, a federal decide mandated in October 2021 that he recite a script publicly denouncing his personal opinions on COVID-19 and vaccines.
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“I stated, ‘I can’t obey this courtroom order,’” Pawlowski stated on the time, earlier than the order was stayed upon appeal. “I refuse to obey a crooked decide’s order. He isn’t a decide, he is a political activist.”
When truckers in Coutts protested vaccine mandates by blocking the crossing alongside Alberta’s border with Montana final February, Pawlowski was invited to ship a 20-minute speech by which he urged them to “maintain the road” in opposition to the federal government with out resorting to violence. He additionally warned them in opposition to touring to the provincial capital of Edmonton, fearing they might face a authorities crackdown just like what occurred to truckers who had protested in Ottawa.
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Days after his speech, he was arrested at his residence and spent 51 days in two completely different prisons, the place he claimed authorities abused him by locking him in a small cage, putting him in a psychiatric ward and making an attempt to instigate different inmates to harm him. The inmates refused and a few reached out to him for religious steerage, he stated.
‘The identical villains’
Pawlowski informed Fox Information Digital that he has been below home arrest since his launch from jail final April and can’t go away his residence with out the permission of his probation officer. He ran for political workplace and have become the chief of the Alberta Independence Occasion final September.
Smith, who was sworn in as premier on Oct. 11, was the first Canadian leader to apologize for the remedy of unvaccinated folks within the nation. Canada’s authorities mandated vaccinations in federally regulated workplaces, issued journey restrictions, ordered months-long enterprise shutdowns and arrested residents who violated the lockdowns.
The nation’s remedy of the clergy drew the eyes of some American neighbors. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., urged the U.S. Fee on Worldwide Non secular Freedom in 2021 to consider adding Canada to its watch list after a Baptist minister in Calgary was arrested when a police helicopter reportedly discovered his church gathering outdoors.
The Ohio State Legislature handed a decision urging the identical final March, and thousands protested at Canadian consulates all through the U.S. throughout Pawlowski’s imprisonment.
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Throughout a speech on the United Conservative Occasion’s (UCP) annual basic assembly final fall, Smith famous that the a number of pastors who had been arrested within the typically conservative province ”come to high of thoughts” when she thinks of people that had been unfairly penalized for disobeying COVID protocols. She additionally floated a plan to pardon such offenders.
However Pawlowski stated nothing materialized in his case. He blamed that on members of Smith’s cupboard, who he stated worry for their very own reputations after being concerned in his prosecution below Smith’s predecessor, Jason Kenney.
“I believe the most important drawback is that she appointed the identical villains in her cupboard,” Pawlowski stated, noting that a number of the similar cupboard ministers who had been caught violating their own COVID-19 rules throughout a personal dinner in 2021 stay in place.
“She’s extraordinarily weak,” Pawlowski stated of the brand new premier, whom he claims to have recognized for 15 years since they had been each in Alberta’s Wildrose Occasion. “Bear in mind, you are coping with a flip-flopping politician who crosses the flooring, abandons folks, guarantees one factor and adjustments her thoughts.”
“I do know her and she or he desires to please everybody, and she or he does not stand for something,” Pawlowski added. He alleged that representatives from the UCP got here to his residence a number of instances to supply him a deal to not run for workplace or to desert his political social gathering, however he refused.
“I am a pastor,” Pawlowski stated. “I am not Judas Iscariot, I am not the Whore of Babylon. I do not betray the folks. So, I stated no, after which [Smith] got here out in public and she or he says, ‘Effectively, I am not bringing amnesty.'”
Citing the upcoming trial, a spokesperson for the Alberta authorities declined Fox Information Digital’s request for remark in response to Pawlowski’s claims.
Pawlowski likened his ordeals to “a refining hearth” that he stated has widened the attain of his ministry and invigorated his faith.
“I observed, even in my very own preaching, that every little thing we went by means of — and are nonetheless going by means of — solely gave us a stronger religion and zeal and affirmation that every little thing that we learn within the Bible is definitely the reality,” he stated.
Pawlowski stated most of the Canadians concerned along with his ministry proceed to undergo the lingering penalties of their authorities’s pandemic response, which he claims has broken the Canadian financial system and compelled many he personally is aware of to take vaccines.
He says there was an inconsistent software of COVID-19 protocols within the nation that had been meant “to take away or to destroy the center class.”
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“That is why the IKEAs and Walmarts had been open, however small companies had been commanded to be closed,” he stated. “I may convey my total church and half of my neighborhood to IKEA throughout the largest lockdowns, the place 500 folks had been allowed. However I couldn’t have a church service with 100 folks.”