Polish-Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski received jail time for church services in Calgary after refusing to obey a court order mandating him to echo medical experts on COVID-19 publicly. According to a written ruling, the Calgary pastor received 18 months of probation from the Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain.
A condition of the pastor's probation mandates he echoes "the majority of medical experts in Alberta" on social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccines even at church. "The final term of his probation order will be that when he is exercising his right of free speech and speaking against [Alberta Health Services] Health Orders and AHS health recommendations, in a public gathering or public forum, he must indicate in his communications the following," wrote Germain.
Pawlowski faces another contempt charge for repeatedly ejecting armed officials and law enforcement from inspecting his church for COVID-19 compliance following another civil contempt charge for holding church service, reported Fox News. The charges are in conjunction with tens of thousands of dollars in costs and fines.
Pawlowski also received a script from the Justice for him to espouse, even in church: "I am also aware that the views I am expressing to you on this occasion may not be views held by the majority of medical experts in Alberta. While I disagree with them, I am obliged to inform you that most medical experts favour social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding large crowds to reduce the spread of COVID-19."
It continues: "Most medical experts also support participation in a vaccination program unless you cannot be vaccinated for a valid religious or medical reason. Vaccinations have been shown statistically to save lives and to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms."
The pastor informed Fox News he has no intention of complying with Germain's sanction, which he condemned as "unconstitutional," "illegal," and an example of "compelled speech." He said the "crooked judge" wants to turn him into a CBC reporter or CNN reporter, that "prays their mantra to the government."
"This is totally and wholly new as far as sentencing goes, as far as I can see or as far as I am familiar with," his lawyer Sarah Miller told Fox News. "I've never heard of any kind of probationary period which includes conditions that compelled certain speech. It seems highly unusual and rare." She also said the extent authorities monitor Pawlowski's speech for compliance remains to be seen.
"They're telling me what I can and cannot preach," said Pawlowski. "They're telling me that every time I want to address the public, I have to spew their lie first for me to deliver my message. That's China. That's North Korea."
Germain, a former politician with the Alberta Liberal Party, also issued a rebuttal to Pawlowski where he speculated the pastor wanted to be punished.
The Justice claimed the pastor "taunted me to imprison him" when Pawlowski called himself "a political prisoner of conscience" and denounced Canadian politicians as "liars, hypocrites and cheaters."
Prosecutors for Alberta Health Services (AHS) initially sought 21 days in prison for Pawlowski, but Germain decided against such a sentence because "it would be a slap on the wrist that will make him a martyr."
The Justice also claimed footage from the trip was evidence that "Pastor Pawlowski oozes hubris while relishing in his notoriety."
Pawlowski, whose probation forbids him from leaving Alberta, suggested to Fox News that Germain's attitude and sanctions prove his point.
"I'm not hiding. I'm not a criminal. I said I would not obey this court order. I refuse to obey a crooked judge's order," added Pawlowski.
Germain took particular offence to Pawlowski's speaking tour in the US over the summer. He said Western governments increasingly resembled the communist regime in Poland he fled as a young man.
"When I grew up under the boots of the Soviets, the courts like this were called 'show courts,'" Pawlowski said. "It was to show that the government can do with you whatever they want, and there is nothing you can do about it. And it's just to scare the public, telling you, 'See, we can finish off anyone we want.' They're terrified of the truth."
Pawlowski added that Germain is acting as "a political activist" rather than a judge: "I'm not hiding. I'm not a criminal. I said I will not obey this court order. I refuse to obey a crooked judge's order. He's not a judge, he's a political activist."
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