The Independence Party of Alberta has announced it has removed party leader Artur Pawlowski, a street preacher who was arrested and imprisoned during the Covid-19 pandemic for breaching public health restrictions and partaking in the Coutts border blockade. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the party said it decided to part ways with Pawlowski after “serious consideration and deliberation among board members.”

“The Independence Party has a platform and policies that reflect the hope of Albertans as an Independent nation,” the statement reads.

“Artur Pawlowski has not reflected this vision in a way that properly aligns with what the party and our platform need to convey and communicate to Albertans.” 

Pawlowski was elected party leader just months ago, in September 2022. The Independence Party’s mission is to separate from Canada and create a sovereign nation of Alberta. 

As party leader, Pawlowski has been a vocal critic of new Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. Shortly after becoming party leader, Smith said she wanted to pardon those charged for breaching Covid-19 restrictions.

She abandoned those promises months later, saying her Justice minister said it would not be possible for her to interfere in the independent Crown prosecution process. 

In response, Pawlowski, who’s been tied up in the court for months, called Smith a “Kenney 2.0.”

“We are not going to hope with you, we need to change this government,” he said in January, demanding that Smith step down after she did not meet with pastors nor offer compensation.

“She can set me free. She promised that she will set me free before the election,” he told 100 supporters outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton. 

One of the charges Pawlowski faces is mischief, for allegedly inciting protestors to continue blocking the international border crossing at Coutts, Alberta in early 2022.

He is also charged under the Alberta Critical Infrastructure Defence Act with wilfully damaging or destroying essential infrastructure.


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.