A Court of Queen’s Bench judge has thrown out an application by the Calgary Stampede board to prevent street ministries from protesting along the Stampede parade route and at the Stampede grounds.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean preacher Artur Pawlowski and his followers from Street Church Ministries can legally leaflet and evangelize during Friday’s parade — something they’ve promised to do. A trespass order is still in effect that bars them from protesting on property owned by the Stampede board.
Art Pawlowski preaches and feeds homeless people in public places in downtown Calgary. (CBC)
Pawlowski, a well-known figure in the downtown core, has been arrested multiple times for handing out pamphlets in city hall, preaching in public using loudspeakers and feeding homeless people in parks. He has successfully fought various infractions over the years on the grounds that they violated his constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
The Stampede sought an injunction to block him from the parade on safety grounds, saying his activities presented a danger for participants and spectators, and also because a demonstration during the parade would cause irreparable financial harm and damage to the Stampede’s reputation, it said.
Pawlowski and his followers have been repeatedly barred from partaking in past Stampede parades but have nevertheless handed out pamphlets along the route.
Members of his Street Church Ministries often wear red T-shirts that proclaim "Jesus is my king." Their mission, Pawlowski has said, is in part "to remind citizens about our great Christian heritage that this country has. To let them know that forefathers built this nation to be [a] Christian nation, that Jesus would have dominion from sea to sea."