Pawlowki is accused of violating the Critical Infrastructure Defense Act and causing $400 million in damages to the economy because he encouraged protesting truckers who were blocking roadways in Coutts, a tiny border town, to protest COVID-19 mandates.
In an interview with AFN, Pawloski says Canadian authorities are “criminalizing” the church service he conducted with the protesting Freedom Convoy truckers. The infrastructure law he is charged with violating was written to prosecute terrorists who blow up buildings and bridges, he says, and for that he is facing 10 ½ years in prison if convicted.
“Pretty much everything they have done to me, I cannot explain it, my lawyers cannot explain it, the professors at the universities cannot explain it,” Pawloski says. “It was, and is still, a pure political vengeance.”
According to Canadian Broadcasting, the government-owned media outlet, prosecutors allege the Coutts protesters had agreed to end their protest there but Pawlowski gave an “impassioned” speech and the truckers changed their minds.
The pastor’s words, such as likening the protest to the Alamo, were an “overt threat to violence," a prosecutor told the court.
A more sympathetic story at The Christian Post said Pawlowski was arrested by Calgary police outside his home before he could preach to protesters at a second protest in Milk River. Ezra Levant of Rebel News said the police had staked out the house and were waiting for Pawlowski to step outside.
For police to arrest a pastor for speaking at a peaceful protest, Levant said, shows that Canada is transforming into an "authoritarian Canada that's verging on a police state."