By Kevin Martin ,Calgary Sun
Street preacher Artur Pawlowski talks to reporters outside court in 2009. (File photo THE CALGARY SUN)
He may not rain on Will and Kate’s parade, but Calgary street minister Art Pawlowski will be allowed to attend the annual march, a judge ruled Thursday.
Justice Peter McIntyre, saying there was insufficient evidence to support it, rejected an application by the Calgary Stampede for an injunction barring Pawlowski and his followers from the parade route.
“I do not consider the injunction necessary,” McIntyre said, after hearing arguments for the last-minute order.
“The provisions of the Criminal Code provide adequate opportunity to deal with what could be unlawful activity on the part of the respondents, or anyone,” McIntyre said.
Pawlowski’s lawyer, Michael Bates, had argued if his client, and other members of his Street Church Ministries, disrupted the parade, as feared, criminal charges could be pursued.
Ironically, perhaps the most fitting charge for this year’s march, the obscure offence of alarming Her Majesty, wouldn’t apply because it only involves the Queen herself, Bates noted.
Stampede lawyer David Steele had sought an injunction arguing the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along the parade route required extra vigilance.
“We’ve got the royal couple coming, we cannot have a disruption of that,” Steele said.
He said the parade is an annual showcase for the Stampede and any protests could cause irreparable harm, especially since record crowds are expected.
“We have even greater media coverage, because of the attendance of the royal couple,” said Steele.
He argued Pawlowski, who was barred from disrupting last year’s march following a similar 11th-hour application, had told police he intended to attend this year’s parade, as well as the 10-day fair.
But Bates noted there will be hundreds of thousands of people attending and Pawlowski should be treated no differently.
Following McIntyre’s ruling, Pawlowski, who has had ongoing battles with the City of Calgary over his rights to freedom of speech and religion, said he’s just trying to get his message of Christianity to the masses.
“We want to be visible, like everybody else,” he said, outside court.
“They all are marching, except Christians.”
Pawlowski said he will seek permission to march following the end of the parade, and if rejected will set up a protest site along the route.