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Hope Springs Infernal: Pawlowski, Lich, and Canadian 'Justice'
David Solway • 28 Jul, 2022 • 4 Min Read
In Pierre Poilievre, Canadians finally have a sane voice in government.
As with Monty Python’s Lancelot and Galahad, there was much rejoicing in the Conservative corner of this “nasty, sad country” over the recent Alberta appeals court victory of pastor Artur Pawlowski and his brother, Dawid. In a court injunction dated May 6, 2021, they were found guilty of disobeying a ban placed on so-called “illegal” protests—which is to say, they were guilty of abiding by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The drama naturally centers on the more famous pastor, who was jailed several times, and even “SWATted,” over the last two years for defying Canada’s blatantly illegal Covid dictatorship by continuing to serve his congregation, providing free meals to the poor, and preaching a message of hope to the Truckers’ movement in its protest against vaccine mandates.
As a result of the Appeals Court judgment, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is compelled to reimburse Pawlowski for all costs and fines levied, a small compensation for the outrageous treatment meted out to him, the harsh conditions of incarceration, house arrest, and restrictions on his Charter right of association.
Of course, the abuse Pawlowski suffered at the hands of Alberta’s Conservative premier Jason Kenney was not a single case. As LifeSite reports, “Under Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, many were fined and others jailed for fighting against his government’s draconian Covid rules, which severely impacted thousands of businesses.” Pawlowski, however, was among the most visible of the country’s dissidents against an out-of-control government and its camarilla of unelected judges and demagogic health authorities.
His victory and restitution are to be celebrated, but, as we will see, it is a modest triumph. It is not easy to parse the gnarled legalese of the Appeals Court document, but it is obvious that Pawloski’s and his brother’s vindication was only partial, the original judgment being “set aside” on a question of equivocal language rather than substance—that is, the initial judgment was reversed on a technicality. The drafting of the earlier proceedings apparently “created an ambiguity and potential confusion when the language identifying who is subject to the order refers to the prohibited conduct without clearly stating that all persons are subject to the injunction” (Article 56).
In other words, because the injunction “referred to other parties ‘acting independently to like effect’, so as to apply to the Pawlowskis,” the finding of contempt was dropped (Article 59)—though, as the panel of judges affirmed, “Without condoning the actions of the Pawlowskis” (Article 48). Exculpation, it seems, does not cancel guilt.
Thus, deploying the verbose dialect of a privileged and exclusionary class, the panel members essentially practiced the art of weasel words to reverse an unpopular decision in order to maintain the endogenic fiction of juridical dignity. In effect, the court rendered a Pyrrhic judgment and the Pawlowskis evaded sentencing on the strength of a presumed ambiguity.
The war against justice, truth and democracy will continue to claim its victims. The federal authority brandished by Justin Trudeau has no intention of relenting in its campaign to silence and harass its targets. Artur Pawlowski has an equally noble, brave and persecuted peer in Tamara Lich, a soft-spoken, gentle and patriotic organizer of the Truckers Freedom Convoy. All of five feet tall, this amiable grandmother of Metis origin towers over the diminutive moral stature of a disreputable prime minister who, through his juridical lackeys, has had her twice imprisoned for her support of the Truckers and her legitimate contestation of tyrannical power. Forced to serve a jail sentence without bail, she was deliberately preventedfrom receiving in person the George Jonas Freedom Award at a ceremony held in her honor in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby on July 13 of this year.
The event was addressed by the Honorable Brian Peckford, the last living signatory to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Constitution, in which he praised Tamara Lich as an honest, hard-working Canadian fighting for our rights and freedoms. “Need I cite that this latest arrest is most egregious in that everyone knew where Tamara was—in her home city of Medicine Hat, and yet a country wide warrant was issued for her arrest as if she was some kind of serial rapist or murderer. The tragic irony of it all makes Greek Tragedy look lame as a Freedom Award Winner is displayed as a practitioner of high treason.”
Artur Pawlowski is free—for now—and Tamara Lich has just been released—also, for now. The federal court is not likely to experience the same qualms of dispensation as the Alberta court. Lich will be kept under strict surveillance. One false move, the slightest contravention of onerous bail conditions, and she will be quickly remanded. Phrases like “show trial” and “kangaroo court” come immediately to mind.
One thinks of Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon as a premonition of the Sovietization of Canadian justice. Meanwhile, the unvaccinated are still subject to quarantine and crushing fines thanks to Trudeau’s infamous ArriveCAN app wielded against millions of Canadians. Legislation is in the works to cripple internet communication under the guise of preventing “hate speech,” shorthand for anything the government disapproves of. The violation of democratic principles is rapidly becoming synonymous with the law of the land.
As Brian Peckford said in his peroration, we are experiencing a dark day in our Constitutional history, “aided and abetted by a failed parliamentary system that obstructed justice [and] ignored the accusation of misogynists and racists levelled by the Prime Minister at some of his own citizens, and rendered the Members of Parliament mere instruments of abuse…making a mockery of the democratic principle of accountability.” Provincial courts in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and other jurisdictions were equally complicit in following the federal example.
There may be rejoicing over the release of Artur Pawlowski and his brother, and now with respect to Tamara Lich, but there is no joy in Mudville as long as Justin Trudeau is in the batter’s box, and, unlike Casey in the famous poem, gives no indication of striking out.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His most recent volume of poetry, The Herb Garden, appeared in spring 2018. His manifesto, Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics, was released by Shomron Press in spring 2016. He has produced two CDs of original songs: Blood Guitar and Other Tales and Partial to Cain, on which he was accompanied by his pianist wife Janice Fiamengo. His latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture.