As you know, Artur Pawlowski's arrest was a political arrest. You don’t need a dozen police to have a SWAT-style public takedown of a peaceful christian pastor on the side of a busy highway, for a provincial offence that is really a glorified traffic ticket. That was a political decision, made by politicians.
100 police seized Grace Life church in Edmonton, nationalized it, put latrines right on the front steps and set up a little police bunker there with a big fence around it. Like it was an outpost in Afghanistan.
All because they opened their doors during the pandemic. That was a political decision, made by politicians. Same thing with all of them.
And the reason I tell you that, and show you Alberta examples, is that the politician who made those atrocious decisions, Jason Kenney, is gone, in large part because of those atrocious decisions.
And you saw, last weekend, that Danielle Smith, the new premier, who ran on an explicitly anti-lockdown platform you saw that she fulfilled a campaign promise already, by apologizing to the unvaxxed for their unfair treatment.
She had said similar things before. Here she was a few days earlier, in Edmonton, talking about adding the unvaxxed to the list of people you can’t discriminate against, under the human rights code.
And the most interesting part, I thought, was when our reporter Selene asked premier Smith if she would stop prosecuting those old charges made under Kenney’s regime.
Interesting. And really, why not? If they were political decisions to start them — as in, not legitimate law enforcement priorities, not normal law enforcement tactics — why can’t the next political leader change things back to normal, especially since she campaigned on doing so?
Just this week, New York’s Supreme Court ruled that firing unvaccinated employees was illegal; and not only do they all get their jobs back, they get back-pay, too. Interestingly, the court said the whole justification was a lie, because vaccines don’t stop transmission of the virus, so the claim that you need to do that to protect others wasn’t true.
The pendulum is swinging back. Even Charlie Crist, a lockdown Democrat, was claiming he was an anti-lockdowner, when campaigning against Ron DeSantis!
Everyone has moved on. I showed you the massive New York Times poll the other day, less than 0.5% of Americans think the coronavirus is a top priority – A tiny fringe minority.
You can see how small that club is by going out in public these days — there are still some people wearing masks out there. But it’s a tiny number. Everyone else is living normally again, now that the forced mask laws are gone. It was a madness, a madness that lasted two years.
So why is that madness persisting in the govenrment, still prosecuting people like Artur Pawlowski and hundreds, even thousands of others?
Well, luckily I have the largest recipient of Trudeau’s newspaper bail-out money to tell us. Postmedia, which owns the Calgary Herald. They have the Trudeau answer:
"Smith proposal on COVID-19 fine amnesty raises political interference concerns
"Her language suggests that perhaps her intention is to actually interfere with those that are working their way through the system."
Oh really? So it wasn’t political interference to start. But it’s political interference to stop.
Premier Danielle Smith’s proposal to grant amnesty to those fined for violating COVID-19 public health orders could amount to political interference in the justice system, a University of Calgary health law expert says.”
Oh, so a health law expert says you can’t stop a prosecution. Is there anyone more discredited as a class in 2022 than health law experts? Published in a Trudeau newspaper?
On Saturday, Smith told reporters at her United Conservative Party’s annual general meeting that she’s seeking legal advice on forgiveness for those being prosecuted in relation to laws introduced to help stem the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.”
And she won. But a health law expert says you can’t. Who is this health law expert?
What Smith is describing doesn’t quite align with the idea of a legal pardon, said Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor at the U of C’s law and medicine faculties. That’s because Smith’s comments specify outstanding fines, while pardons would apply to those who have already been convicted.”
Now, let me stop you right there. Who mentioned a pardon? A health law expert did, apparently. Danielle Smith didn’t. A health law expert, if she really was an expert, would probably know that provincial premiers do not have the power to grant a pardon. And that the matters in question are largely not criminal offences.
But hey, don’t let me stop you calling her a health law expert.
Here’s what Lorian Hardcastle said about the obvious way to stop prosecutions — which is to stop prosecutions:
“Her language suggests that perhaps her intention is to actually interfere with those that are working their way through the system,” she said.
“We, for good reason, generally allow prosecutorial discretion to lay charges and prosecute individuals under validly enacted laws, and we generally frown upon, for good reason, politicians interfering with the process by politicizing it, which is what she seems to be doing.”
Again, we’ve got someone calling herself a health law expert. But she says there were validly enacted laws. But actually, no — they weren’t laws. Laws are passed by the legislature, after debates and hearings and votes.
These extreme public health orders were issued by bureaucrats who have never been elected or subjected to scrutiny.
But even if these were actual laws, we have a new premier who campaigned on changing them. Again: how is it interference to stop it, but it wasn’t interference to start it?
I’ll give you a better answer in a moment, but first let me tell you who this health law expert talking to the Trudeau media is. I mean, is she a neutral, scholarly professor?
I checked out her twitter feed:
What is this nonsense? If you are so concerned about COVID (which I suspect you aren't... I suspect you are just looking for an opportunity to slag on Trudeau), why don't you phone up your pal Kenney and talk to him about his total failure of leadership? #WhereIsKenney
I’m no fan of Kenney these days either. But let’s not pretend we’re talking to a health law expert. We’re talking to a partisan activist.
This government is determined not to let anyone have public health protections. First, Kenney said he's looking into stopping municipalities from having vaccine passports. Then, LaG told schools they can't have restrictions.
This. Except replace Trump throwing paper towels with Kenney throwing cloth masks at kids in schools.
We're all going to catch Omicron, so why even try?
Kenney doesn't seem to care how many of us die,
He's too busy enjoying Jamieson in the sky.
Moe and Kenney are two peas in the same rotten pod. I hate seeing this happen in AB, where I am now, and I hate seeing it in SK, where I grew up. They both need to go.
Got it. That took me about sixty seconds to find on Google. It’s unthinkable, unbelievable that the Trudeau papers didn’t know who this “health law expert” was. But it’s better to call her a health law expert than to call her a political activist who hates the conservatives, isn’t it?
But let me give you a little bit of law, that this health law expert didn’t.
Here’s a ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada — something that a health law expert could have found. Here’s a leading case called Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta, at paragraph 47:
47 Significantly, what is common to the various elements of prosecutorial discretion is that they involve the ultimate decisions as to whether a prosecution should be brought, continued or ceased, and what the prosecution ought to be for. Put differently, prosecutorial discretion refers to decisions regarding the nature and extent of the prosecution and the Attorney General’s participation in it. Decisions that do not go to the nature and extent of the prosecution, i.e., the decisions that govern a Crown prosecutor’s tactics or conduct before the court, do not fall within the scope of prosecutorial discretion. Rather, such decisions are governed by the inherent jurisdiction of the court to control its own processes once the Attorney General has elected to enter into that forum.
Let me translate: prosecutors can drop a case at any time. They can stop it. They often do. Just the other week, a prosecutor dropped two out of the three charges against Artur Pawlowski, literally the morning of the trial.
The test for prosecutions are two-fold:
- Is it in the public interest to proceed?
- Is there a reasonable likelihood of conviction?
Let me compare it to, say, Trudeau trying to call off the prosecution of the corrupt company in Quebec called SNC-Lavalin.
SNC Lavalin admitted to massive corruption, which is the kind of crime that needs the public rebuke of a criminal conviction. A conviction was almost assured. But lockdown cases against ordinary moms and dads are not in the public interest — these protesters are being massively over-charged and over-prosecuted. And partly for that reason, the courts are throwing the charges out — Artur Pawlowski, for example, has won his last two court cases overwhelmingly including a unanimous ruling by the Court of Appeal.
SNC Lavalin was a serious crime with shocking details that every prosecutor could see needed to go to trial. Compare that to Pastor Artur being the first-ever person charged under the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, a law designed to stop eco-terrorism against pipelines, etc. All he did was give a pep talk sermon to some truckers.
No public interest. No chance of conviction. Maybe Postmedia’s “health law expert” might take a break from tweeting against conservatives to, you know, studying some law.
One more thing about the SNC Lavalin case, which I think is a great comparison. Trudeau secretly lobbied Jody Wilson-Raybould to drop the case against SNC-Lavalin, and then undermined her and then finally fired her — and then lied about it all when asked. The fact that he kept it a secret showed that he knew it was improper.
By contrast, Smith has publicly and repeatedly talked about this public policy change being made in good faith. This isn’t a private favour to get a rich and powerful friend out of trouble. It’s a conscious decision to move beyond the lockdown and the extreme policing and prosecutions that came from it.
There’s another obvious difference. These are peaceful protests and civil disobedience. Political; even religious.
Other than the few cases involving firearms, every lockdown prosecution has civil liberties elements to it. Alberta’s motto is “strong and free” — it ought to be the freest place to peacefully disagree with the government, especially since these lockdown orders weren’t even debated in the Legislature, they were all issued by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
The Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously sided with Artur Pawlowski for that reason. I’m 100% sure the prosecution under the eco-terrorism law will fail too (and that law might actually be struck down).
SNC-Lavalin was purely about graft and fraud.
Of course the locker-downers will hate this. Because they loved the lockdown, loved the power, loved being in the upper caste in society. And any denunciation of lockdowns as authoritarian — well, it’s an insult to them, it punctures their self-image of being righteous saints. It shows that maybe history won’t regard them as the heroes they think they are.
In Ottawa, the trucker commission is showing that the invocation of the Emergencies Act was a purely political manoeuvre that had no legal or factual basis — it was just a way for Trudeau and the police to save face.
Let me give you one more Trudeau analogy. I wonder if Postmedia’s health law expert might have thought of this: marijuana laws.
For many years, police across Canada, including in Alberta, simply declined to charge or prosecute any cases of simple marijuana possession. They would occasionally add it to a list of other charges someone was facing, but they would almost never charge someone for having a joint. This was a policy decision approved of by police chiefs, prosecutors and Attorneys General. And Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing marijuana — He tested that idea in public, and ran an election on it.
So, for years police and prosecutors used their discretion. And then Trudeau used his political capital to change it.
Like criminal laws against marijuana possession, these old lockdown laws are out of sync with the spirit of the times. The courts are starting to turn against them; the people have moved on; and the over-enforcement of lockdown laws is one reason why the last premier is no longer premier.
And you know what? Let the opposition bray about this. Let them gnash their teeth. Remind people how much they loved lockdowns and closed schools and masking children and shutting down stores and restaurants and gyms.
Absolutely. They want to re-litigate that? Now?
Let Rachel Notley and the NDP run in 2023 on locking down friends and neighbours, let them.
There will be controversies in the next seven months until the Alberta election. Sometimes you get to choose your controversies in life; sometimes they are thrust upon you.
It’s better to choose your controversies; choose your battlegrounds. I think siding with freedom and making your opponents reveal themselves to be authoritarian bullies is a good controversy to choose. And when Turdeau’s Calgary newspaper complains about it, with a wackadoodle Twitter lawyer, you know you’re on the right track.
Hey, do you agree with me? If so, please sign our petition at LockdownAmnesty.com. We’ve got more than 21,000 signatures on it so far; and we just set up a billboard along the highway promoting it. We’ve got a few more moves on this file, too — I’ll let you know when we’re ready to announce them.
But this is important. It’s a government taking responsibility for a terrible time. WE can’t let the Trudeau palace guard in academic and the media try to stop this.
GUEST: William Diaz-Berthiaume