Pastor Artur Pawlowski was once again in court last week, this time in relation to charges extending from two gatherings over the 2020 Christmas season. Those events, much to the chagrin of local authorities, were intended to ensure Calgary’s unhoused and disenfranchised were fed and cared for, despite some authorities believing the charitable efforts were not to be permitted because of Covid-19 restrictions.
It is worth remembering that virtually all of Pastor Artur Pawlowksi’s charges stem from preaching, opening his church and serving his community — all of which are Charter-protected rights, by the way. But the matters addressed in these proceedings are the result of his efforts to feed the most vulnerable members of society, the unhoused and hungry, which highlights the absurdity of the vendetta against Artur.
Further highlighting the irrational malice and concerted efforts of authorities to selectively punish Artur is the fact that proceedings took up three days of the backlogged courts’ time. The Crown called nine witnesses against Artur, most of whom simply affirmed allegations the persecuted pastor never denied, like his attendance at the events in question.
Worse still, a recent court victory by Hatim Kheir of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms saw Judge Michael Dinkel rule that the health order under which many, including Pastor Artur, were charged does not in fact apply to protests or public gatherings, but instead only to private social gatherings. At face value, this may mean that the health order violation charges against Artur were never valid in the first place, further drawing into question the use of court resources.
Even after three full days, a verdict was not reached and court proceedings on this matter will reconvene some time in the future.
I joined Sarah Miller of JSS Barristers, Pastor Artur’s legal counsel, for a breakdown of the action in court and a forecast of Artur’s legal battle moving forward.
All of this judicial theater, and no doubt thousands upon thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money being spent on what very well may be a quashed $1,000 ticket, highlights the absurdity of Covid-19 enforcement. Fortunately, Pastor Artur Pawlowski has not been alone in standing up against this authoritarian bullying behavior, and thanks to your ongoing tax-receipt eligible support at SaveArtur.com, he will be able to continue fighting for justice.