Canadian appeals court lifts enforcement of compelled speech order on pastor
A prominent Canadian pastor is now free to criticize the government’s lockdowns and restrictions on Christian worship in response to coronavirus after an appellate court suspended the enforcement of a lower court ruling requiring him to state the government’s preferred narrative about the lockdowns every time he made public remarks.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church and The Cave of Adullam in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who has become a well-known figure for his outspoken objection to authorities’ restrictions on corporate worship and viral videos documenting his tense exchanges with law enforcement officials seeking to enforce the restrictions, will no longer have to abide by the provisions of a ruling that required him to utter government-approved talking points about the coronavirus whenever he criticized worship restrictions or vaccine mandates.
Ezra Levant of Rebel Media, a news outlet that has worked to raise money to pay for Pawlowski’s legal bills, announced in a video message Thursday that “the Alberta Court of Appeal stayed the sentence given to Pastor Artur Pawlowski.”
Levant added that the appellate court’s decision means that Pawlowski no longer has to abide by the terms of the “bizarre and unconstitutional provisions” of a ruling that forced Pawlowski to issue an addendum after making “any public comment relating to the pandemic or the lockdowns.”
“The Alberta Court of Appeal stayed the enforcement of that and ordered an expedited hearing,” Levant added. “I’m so optimistic. It’s not the final battle but it’s a great beginning to what I hope is a freedom-oriented ending here.”
The ruling, issued last month by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain, required Pawlowski to issue an addendum any time he wanted to speak out against Alberta Health Services’ “Health Orders and AHS recommendations in a public gathering or public forum (including electronic social media).” The addendum required him to say: “I am 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.”