By Allan Stein from
Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s troubles with the Canadian authorities began long before his sermon to commercial truckers encouraging their peaceful defiance against what he thought were “oppressive” public health mandates for COVID-19.
In 2005, he began serving and ministering to downtown Calgary—Alberta’s poor and downtrodden. “In other words, feeding the homeless and praying for them, which is now illegal,” he described to The Epoch Times in a telephone interview while under house arrest in Calgary following his court conviction in May for inciting mischief and violating his release conditions.
The police eventually showed up at Mr. Pawlowski’s church, telling him he couldn’t feed the homeless by law. Neither was he allowed to assemble or preach in public.
Such actions are also illegal and punishable with tickets, fines, and even jail time.
He added that tensions with the authorities had reached the point where police showed up at his church weekly.
During the pandemic, he received 40 tickets for COVID-19 violations, including one for a Christmas celebration he said drew a response from over 100 police officers, 52 police vehicles, as well as anti-terrorism units.
Over 300 Citations
Between 2005 and 2015, Mr. Pawlowski said he received over 300 citations for refusing to stop preaching, feeding the homeless, and doing what he thought was helpful to those in need.
He was arrested and charged in 2006 for reading the Bible in public, and considers being the first Canadian to receive a COVID-19 ticket for feeding the homeless a badge of honor in what he’d say was righteous defiance.
“I asked them a simple question: ‘What do you think will happen to the homeless if we kick them out of shelters and shut down soup kitchens?'” he said of his efforts.
On Aug. 9, Mr. Pawlowski, a native of Poland and an acolyte of the “Solidarity Movement,” could receive up to 10 years in prison for the charge of “inciting mischief” during Canada’s nationwide trucker protests last year.
The protests rose in response to the public health rules of Canada’s Trudeau administration, sparking a massive “Freedom Convoy” from like-minded residents that threatened to bring the nation’s economy to a halt unless COVID-19 restrictions that were also impacting the economy and mental health were lifted.
Response to Government Overreach
As a Christian minister, Mr. Pawlowski said he believed he was waging a spiritual battle against “government overreach” during the pandemic, even if it means he has to pay fines, get arrested, or go to jail.
On Feb. 7, 2022, at the border crossing blockade in Coutts, Alberta, Mr. Pawlowski told a crowd of commercial truckers, “It’s about time for Canadians to rise up and start roaring.”
“For the first time in two years, you’ve got the power. They’ve got the guns, yes—it’s all useless when you all rise up. There is no tyrant big enough that can stop [the] masses.”
Canadian authorities arrested and charged him with inciting mischief and interfering with essential infrastructure under Alberta’s Critical Infrastructure Defense Act of 2020.
The Critical Infrastructure Defense Act “protects essential infrastructure from damage or interference caused by blockades or similar activities, which can cause significant public safety, social, economic and environmental consequences.”
“Of course, if you listened to my service, you will know that I said no guns, no swords, just stand for God and human rights during my sermon three times,” he said of the accusation.
Mr. Pawlowski said he spent 50 days in prison, mostly in solitary confinement surrounded by concrete cells, before he was placed in maximum security and a psychiatric ward without evaluation.
The court found him guilty of inciting mischief in May. Judge Gordon Krinke placed him under 12-hour daily house arrest until his sentencing date.
Months later, he is “still under house arrest in Calgary,” he said.
Belief on Trial
“I am the first Canadian where my sermon and speech were on trial. Everything was about what I said. The lawyers argued what I meant. It was a charade, a show trial—a joke,” Mr. Pawlowski said.
“I was not allowed to say a word as they debated what I said and what I meant. They couldn’t agree on the wording.”
Mr. Pawlowski said he is also the first Canadian citizen charged with eco-terrorism in the history of Canada.
“And now, the judge ruled I am the first Canadian ever to be found guilty of inciting mischief and eco-terrorism,” Mr. Pawlowski said. “The Canadian courts are upside down. I am a political prisoner. It has nothing to do with law and order,” he expressed.
Mr. Pawlowski told The Epoch Times he had received offers of money and government positions in exchange for his silence, but he’s “not for sale.”
“I have seen this movie before” under communism in Poland, he said. “It does not end well.”