Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter | Thursday, February 10, 2022
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who has butted heads with Canadian authorities throughout the pandemic, was arrested again just before he was set to address a group of Canadian truckers opposed to vaccine mandates. Pawlowski of the Cave of Adallum Church and Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested at his home Tuesday as he was about to depart for a church service at a border blockade engineered by truckers protesting vaccine mandates and provincial leadership in Milk River, Alberta.
Pawlowski has gained notoriety in Canada and the United States for his outspoken opposition to coronavirus worship restrictions and has been arrested multiple times over the past year for holding a church service in violation of worship restrictions and protesting outside the home of Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping. Videos documenting Pawlowski’s tense exchanges with local law enforcement officials seeking to enforce coronavirus restrictions, where the pastor refers to them as “Nazis” and the “Gestapo,” have gone viral.
Video footage of Pawlowski’s most recent arrest was posted to the pastor’s YouTube channel Tuesday.
A law enforcement official informed Pawlowski that he was under arrest for “mischief.” As with his previous arrests, Pawlowski refused to walk with law enforcement. The officers lamented that he refused to “just stand up” and elected to “go dead fish” before carrying him away to the police car.
While Pawlowski remained quiet throughout most of the video, his brother Dawid confronted the officers, repeatedly referring to them as “Nazis” and “criminals” before urging them to “treat him with respect.” Pastor Pawlowski told the officers, “I do not cooperate with Nazis.”
Ezra Levant of Rebel News, which has supported Pawlowski in his ongoing legal battles with local government, elaborated on the events leading up to the arrest based on information he received from the pastor’s son, Nathaniel.
“There was an undercover police van staked out surveilling the family home,” Levant reported.
“They grabbed his dad, Artur Pawlowski, arrested him and took him off to jail,” he added.
According to Levant, the officers were “stopping him from going to speak to the trucker blockade down in Coutts, Alberta.”
Levant cited “the Calgary police literally arresting a Christian pastor who was planning on speaking to a peaceful protest” as the latest example of how “this is not the Canada that you thought that you were in.” He contended that the country had transformed into an “authoritarian Canada that’s verging on a police state.”
“This was clearly an attempt to stop him from expressing himself politically to these truckers,” Levant concluded. Members of Pawlowski’s family reacted to his arrest in a subsequent interview with Rebel News.
Nathaniel Pawlowski told the news outlet that “We were getting ready to head to Milk River; my dad was going to perform a church service for them there.” Before they could depart, the pastor was arrested for causing mischief by “blockading infrastructure” in a previous appearance at the protest.
He recalled that “they were staking out our home for hours, waiting for him to leave the house and then they grabbed him … right before he could go perform his duties as a clergyman.”
Dawid Pawlowski recounted that the arrest occurred after the pastor’s wife took their younger children to school.
Artur and Dawid Pawlowski emigrated to Canada from Poland. The pastor went viral last year when he compared the actions of the provincial authorities to what he saw growing up behind the Iron Curtain.
Pastor Pawlowski addressed his arrest in a phone call from prison, describing Calgary Chief of Police Mark Neufeld as a “disgrace to the uniform” and offering similar criticism of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Pawlowski accused Kenney of hypocrisy for not abiding by the coronavirus restrictions he imposed on the people of Alberta.
Nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, outrage over coronavirus restrictions and mandates in Canada extends far beyond Pawlowski.
The Freedom Convoy, a group of truckers primarily concentrated in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, was established to protest the mandate requiring all truckers who travel across the U.S.-Canada border as part of their job to take the coronavirus vaccine or quarantine upon re-entry into the country. Truckers have walked off the job to participate in the weeks-long demonstration. Many truckers descended on Ottawa in late January to protest Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about their concerns, but truckers have spread out all across the U.S.-Canada border, in some cases, blocking border crossings, occupying roadways and clogging Ottowa’s downtown for days. The protests have also spread to other cities.
Many Canadians and Americans donated to the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the truckers’ expenses. However, the platform removed the fundraiser from its website because of “multiple discussions with local law enforcement and police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.” The Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo has become the new home for fundraising efforts on behalf of the truckers who are seeking donations “to help with the cost of fuel first, and hopefully food and lodging to help ease the pressures of this arduous task.”
As of Thursday morning, the GiveSendGo fundraiser has raised just over $8 million. Government opposition to the Freedom Convoy is not limited to Alberta.
Trudeau condemned the multiracial group of protesters for perpetuating “antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia, and transphobia.” Ottawa police officers and city officials have seized fuel from truckers and those seeking to provide fuel for the truckers because they believe it is helping contribute to the “mischief” the truckers are causing in the capital city.
The Justice Centre, a legal organization that supports the Freedom Convoy, has criticized the seizure of fuel as illegal and unjustified. Justice Centre Counsel Nicholas Wansbutter described “taking fuel from Canadian citizens in the downtown Ottawa area” as “an illegal seizure in a context where no crimes are being committed, and no charges were laid against truckers or anyone else.”
“In my view, the truckers are not doing anything illegal by protesting peacefully against the 23 months of politicians restricting our Charter freedoms,” he stated. “Citizens have every right to bring food, water, fuel, and other necessities of life in the winter to other Canadians, including truckers.”