Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Calgary street preacher Artur Pawlowski has been found guilty of urging protesters to continue blockading the Alberta-Montana border last year.
In an Alberta courtroom on Tuesday, Pawlowski was found guilty of two out of three of the charges including mischief and violating a release order due to statements he made to protesters gathered near Coutts in 2022.
“Some of the protesters were thinking of leaving. He told the protesters the whole world was watching. He told the protesters not to break the line,” Justice Gordon Krinke said in his verdict, according to Global News.
“I am satisfied Mr. Pawlowski intended to incite the audience to continue the blockade – intended to incite protesters to commit mischief.”
The preacher also faced a count of violating the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, a controversial bill passed by retired Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Pawlowski’s legal team has filed a constitutional challenge against the act.
Justice Krinkle said there was enough evidence to find Pawlowski "counselled other persons to interfere with the use of Highway 4 in a manner which rendered it useless," but could not rule until after the challenge had been settled.
After the ruling, Pawlowski told a crowd of supporters outside the courthouse he was “not ashamed.”
“If I had a chance to do it again, I would do it again, gladly,” he said in a video streamed from the court steps. “I stood with the truckers, I stood with the farmers, I stood with Canadians.”
With provincial elections rushing up at the end of May, Pawlowski has been a sore spot for Premier Daniell Smith and the United Conservative Party. A phone call, recorded by Pawlowski and released by the provincial NDP, reveals Smith saying she was talking to prosecutors about his case.
During the call, Pawlowski said he was appealing to Smith for help, citing a previous promise made by the premier to pardon those charged with violating COVID-19 health restrictions.
The premier points out that she has learned there is not a legal mechanism for her to grant clemency, but adds that she has been talking to prosecutors “almost weekly” since coming to power. She also denies Pawlowski’s assertions that the Minister of Justice was driving the case against him.
Since the release of the recording, Smith has denied any wrongdoing, but critics say her statements in the call indicate potential interference, a claim that has dogged Smith previously.
Far from the only political scandal to enwrap the preacher, until the end of April, Pawlowski was the leader of Alberta’s The Independence Party (TIP). TIP made the decision to remove him from the position.
“After serious consideration and deliberation among the provincial board members, it has been decided to part ways with The Leader of The Independence Party of Alberta, Artur Pawlowski,” TIP wrote in a statement. “The Independence Party has a party platform and policies that reflect the hope of Albertans as an Independent nation.
“Artur Pawlowski has not reflected this vision in a way that properly aligns with what the party and our platform need to convey and communicate to Albertans.”
The move came in the middle of cross-province speaking events, billing Pawlowski as a featured speaker alongside other TIP candidates.
After his removal, Pawlowski blamed his ousting on the TIP leadership, specifically blaming a transgender member of the party for leading the charge against him.
“The board of directors of the Independence Party of Alberta, with a transgender secretary spearheading this attack, decided to revoke my membership, kicking me out of the party,” he wrote on Facebook. “For months the board was bombarding me and demanding that I stop talking about God, moral principles and true freedom and independence. I was told multiple times that I cannot talk about grooming of children, drag queen shows, abortion and corruption in our present government. I was told not to talk about Notley, Smith, Trudeau, jabs/jab injuries or anything negative.”
The Independence Party of Alberta maintains that “the province was forced into “Canadian confederation without their consent and have “attempted since 1905 to gain a fair deal in confederation without success. Therefore, it is necessary that The Independence Party of Alberta be established to end the cycle of injustice.
TIP runs on a platform of separation from Canada and “creating a sovereign nation, without exception,” the party says on its website.
Pawlowski called the board “tyrants” and said he refuses to be cowed by their “censorship.”
“I was, for a number of months, told on multiple occasions that I was not allowed to exercise my freedom of speech,” he wrote the Canadian Anti-Hate Network in an emailed statement. “I was told not to talk about God or the global agenda. They were telling me not to talk about abortion or grooming of the children. I was told not to talk about other provincial parties. Everything that was relevant in this upcoming election I was told not to talk about.”
TIP did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Pawlowski is best known for his street advocacy in Calgary, Alberta and runs the Cave of Adullam, also known as Street Church, a far-right, anti-2SLGBTQ+ religious group. Since 2005, Pawlowski has become known for holding loud outdoor events in which he feeds the houseless population while proselytizing his specific, and bigoted, brand of religion. Over the course of the pandemic lockdowns, he, along with his brother, have become fixtures in the far-right protest movement.
His antics turned into international attention after a series of much-publicized arrests, including at an airport and along what appears to be an Alberta collector road. Perhaps most notable was Pawlowski’s banshee-style yelling of “get out Nazis” at public health officials who entered his church to enforce public health measures.
When previously reached for comment about his views towards LGBTQ people, Pawlowski said that “regarding the homosexual sin, I love everyone regardless of their sin. Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God created him or her for a purpose. Just because I disagree with someone’s preferences or life choices does not mean that I wish them ill or I hate them.”
Despite these sentiments, in 2013 he blamed flooding in Alberta on the 2SLGBTQ+ community, stating that, “(God) is weeping for the perversions of homosexuality which includes the walking out the pride of their abominations in the streets of our cities.”
Pawlowski also organized a protest featuring anti-LGBTQ activist Bill Whatcott in 2017. In 2018 Pawlowski called Whatcott a “Christian freedom fighter” when he was charged with promoting hate at a Toronto Pride event.
On his website, Pawlowski wrote, “This was a Church vigil called ‘In Defence of Christianity’ Thouse [sic] homofascists and antifa-fascists just proved our point that there is a need to defend Christianity in this Godless and perverted nation!”
PressProgress reported that same year that Pawlowski’s website stated that homosexuals are “not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan) and in the same way not concerned with provoking greatly the wrath of the Living God.”
In 2019 Pawlowski vocally objected to a rainbow crosswalk in Calgary. According to CBC, "This is a lie from the pit of hell, perverted symbol that God has given to us.… They are using it to laugh at God, to shake their fingers at God saying, 'we don't care about your law, we don't care about you,’” Pawlowski said in a video on Facebook.