Lawyer wants preacher’s voice heard
MARTIN Sun Media
The city should not be allowed to muzzle the message a street minister is sending to the homeless, his lawyer argued yesterday.
Ivan Bernardo wants a judge to slap an injunction on the city preventing it from pro¬hibiting Artur Pawlowski from using a loud speaker to spread the word of God. Bernardo said his client’s right to free speech is being violated because city officials don’t want Pawlowski amplifying his voice as he talks to followers across from the Drop-In Centre.
Bernardo said Pawlowski’s Street Church ministry should be regulated by Calgary’s noise bylaw, not by the rules which prohibit speaker use in public parks. He said his client’s freedom of speech rights are being violated because officials won’t allow Pawlowski an exception to the outright ban on amplification in parks. Bernardo told Justice Bonnie Rawlins with¬out amplification, Pawlowski’s message of God won’t reach the homeless who congregate in Triangle Park by the Drop-In Centre.
Street Church was granted a permit last year to use the park to spread its message which included permission to use loud speakers. But because of complaints from area resi¬dents, including those in the Drop-In Centre, a condition of its renewal was that no speak¬ers be used.
City lawyer David Lewis said the issue is a question of balancing the rights of the ministry with those who live and work in the area. "We’re not putting a total ban on him dis-seminating his message," said Lewis, noting Pawlowski can still make speeches without an amplifier.
The city is continuing to allow Street Church to use speakers pending Rawlins decision.