Street preacher plans Stampede parade protest

Street Church Ministry preacher Artur Pawlowski says he and his followers will be prominent during the Stampede parade on Friday morning, following a court ruling on Thursday.

A judge dismissed an 11th-hour application by the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede for an injunction to prevent Pawlowski and church members from attending and potentially disrupting the Stampede parade, which will include Royal Family visitors the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on Friday morning.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter McIntyre said on Thursday he would not comment on whether the Stampede had given the church leader adequate time to respond to the application, but said the application itself fell short of the high standard required for granting such an injunction.

“In my view, the evidence in support of this application is inadequate,” McIntyre ruled. “The Criminal Code has adequate provisions to deal with what could be unlawful activity.”

Pawlowski said the Stampede’s position of not allowing the church to participate in the parade, as it did five years ago, was because of unfounded disruption concerns.

“We will come to the parade tomorrow and we will be very visible,” Pawlowski said outside court on Thursday. “We’re going to be protesting and have huge banners that say ‘Jesus Offends,’ ‘Stop Disadvantaging Christians’ and ‘Jesus Not Allowed.’ ”

He added, however, that they will not interfere in any way with the parade.

Stampede lawyer David Steele had argued Pawlowski said last year he and his ministry would interfere with the parade and then posted comments on the church website saying they would attend the parade and go on the grounds four times.

Steele then argued that comments gave rise to concerns that he might disrupt the parade by demonstrating to international media.

The judge, despite his decision, did not alter the Stampede’s prohibition letter that prevents Pawlowski and his church members from entering the Stampede grounds during the 10-day event.

Pawlowski’s lawyer, Michael Bates, said his client has always engaged in peaceful demonstrations and fought through the courts when there was a perceived wrong and has always abided by the legal rulings.

Pawlowski said church members will camp out overnight to get good spots at the parade. He said he was hoping his church would still be able to fall in at the end of the parade to get their message across.

The preacher said the no-trespassing decision by the Stampede will prevent him and his family from attending at the Stampede grounds, but it will not stop him and his followers from demonstrating and getting their message across on the perimeter of the grounds.

dslade@calgaryherald.com

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