With Canada now living under what is effectively martial law, pastor Artur Pawlowski remains in jail two weeks after being arrested for speaking to Freedom Convoy protestors in Alberta and encouraging them to stand up for their rights as free Canadians.
Pawlowski, who serves as pastor of Street Church and the Cave of Adullum in Calgary, traveled to the small town of Coutts, Alberta, on the U.S.-Canada border in early February to speak to participants of the Canadian Freedom Convoy. During a 20-minute-long speech, he told them about the Solidarity Movement in his native Poland that began as a workers’ strike and ultimately led to a free and democratic Poland and the fall of the Soviet Union. He encouraged them to continue making their stand for freedom for the sake of “our beloved country” and because “our children are worth fighting for.”
“So, when I decided to come here, I’m risking to be arrested at every moment, everywhere I go,” Pawlowski said to the protestors. “The criminal charges on me, left and right, we lost count of the charges we have right now. But I decided to come here because I believe that the eyes of the world are fixed on this place, right here. Yes, this little pitiful piece of land.” He added, “And the eyes of the world are fixed right here on you guys. You are the heroes of the solidarity movement. Don’t you dare break the line — the whole world is watching.”
The bold pastor proclaimed, “I’m ready to be arrested at any moment. You want to take a piece of me? Take it!”
The Canadian government did just that soon after, arresting him for the fifth time in two years. Provincial Court Judge Erin Olsen ruled, “I have concluded that the Crown’s … grounds (for seeking detention) are substantial and that there is a substantial likelihood that the accused will, if released from custody, continue on offending, or interfering with the administration of justice.”
Olsen added, “The accused’s pattern of behaviour speaks volumes about his willful commission of offences and/or violations of court and public health orders. His conduct, if proven at trial, has contributed to enormous economic harm to the local, provincial and national economy and substantial community harm to ordinary Canadians.”
The Crown prosecutor called Pawlowski’s speech an “overt threat to violence,” despite his clear statements against violence.
During his speech in Coutts, Pawlowski talked openly of the value of non-violent civil disobedience. “It’s about time for Canadians to rise up and start roaring! I’m talking about peaceful resolution. I’m not talking about guns, swords.”
Later, he reiterated his call for lawful protest and resistance. “And again, I’m not talking about violence, I’m not talking about swords and guns, all that stuff. You’ve got the most powerful wings ever. Who can move a thousand trucks? Who can move 10,000 truckers with 100,000 supporters?”
Pawlowski’s son Nathaniel claims that police were waiting outside their house to arrest his father. He added,
“This has nothing to do with law, everyone can see, any lawyer can see, any judge can see that these charges are bogus and they will not stick, so that’s why they are trying to keep in here denying them bail. That’s how they want to hurt him. He embarrassed them on a global scale. He’s exposed their corruption. People are waking up. He has a powerful voice. They’re scared of that voice so they want to keep in prison now as punishment.”
Cindy Chafian, who is the executive director of Firebrand Action and Media, which organized vigils for Pawlowski, said, “Regardless of what happens, we’re still going to keep pushing through, because I don’t think they’re going to let Artur out. But the goal is to raise awareness to what’s happening to Artur. It’s not just what’s going on since COVID. They’ve been targeting him for many, many years. He is not a friendly person in the government’s eyes because he speaks the truth, and they don’t like that.”
Pawlowski is being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.
For two years, Pawlowski has been a voice crying in the wilderness, standing up for the right to hold church services, which started this whole battle between the government and himself, and warning other Canadians that the government’s infringement on basic freedoms would not end with the COVID pandemic.
He is not the first pastor to be targeted and persecuted for speaking the truth in the face of tyranny and injustice. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was labeled a public safety risk by the FBI after he called for the Birmingham bus boycott in 1955 and put under constant surveillance until the day of his assassination in 1968. Pope John Paul II, who inspired the Solidarity Movement, was considered so dangerous by the leaders of the Soviet Union that the KGB tried to have him assassinated — a plan that very nearly worked. And Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was imprisoned and tortured for 14 years for publicly declaring that his only loyalty was to Christ and that he would never place the state or the party above Him.
Pawlowski is a target of a power-hungry regime that cannot handle his boldness — nor the truth of his words. He saw tyrants in Poland and he recognized their ascent again in Canada two years ago, loudly predicting that their oppressive policies were reminiscent of the Gestapo and the KGB. Many people thought his rhetoric was over the top, paranoid even, but it turns out he was right all along.
Last week, in a move identical to the Polish communist government in 1980, Justin Trudeau declared martial law, arrested the leaders of the protest movement, and turned the full force of the police and the surveillance state on the peaceful protesters and their families who had asked only for the right to live, work, and worship as free men and women.
During his speech before the truckers in Coutts, Pawlowski warned them of what was likely to come and the heavy price some of them would pay. But, he said, standing up for freedom was right, just, and blessed by God, and so he also encouraged them to continue to resist, no matter what happened in the future, and to recognize that only by standing up to tyrants can a people truly have a chance at taking back their country.
“We have started something that they cannot stop,” he stated. “So they have to use psychological warfare, attacks, terror, fear — we’ll arrest you. Well, here I am…Go and arrest me. I’m not hiding. Arrest me! And from jail, I will be yelling and screaming the same message: Canadians, rise up! Stand up!”