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CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — Provincial Crown prosecutors have dropped the charges against a 76-year-old man who was arrested and charged after WestJet flight crew members in 2022 reported him to police because his facemask was off for a time during the flight.  

Court documents noted that the incident occurred on June 21, 2022, and ended in 76-year-old Alec Bialski being taken into custody by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) upon the plane’s landing in the Canadian city from Paris, France. 

WestJet flight crew members had notified the CPS in advance regarding the incident with Bialski, saying that he did not have his mask on at various times during the lengthy flight.  

Court documents note that Bialski’s defense had stated that “there were no mask mandates onboard European flights, nor in any of the locations the Applicant visited in Europe.”

Even if a mandate were in effect, Bialski was the holder of a medical mask exemption – although he did not have proof of such on his person during the flight and had agreed to put a mask on to board the flight after being told by a flight attendant that he would not be allowed to board otherwise. 

Court documents note that Bialski was repeatedly harassed by the flight crew to put on a mask, despite the fact that he had taken off his mask to take sleeping pills, as he was recovering from recent double hip replacement surgery. 

Police nonetheless charged Bialski under the Canadian Aviation Regulations for not complying with the mandatory masking mandate, which at the time was in full effect in Canada.  

He was taken to a holding cell after being forced to walk through the airport. 

In a press release sent out Monday, The Democracy Fund (TDF) said Bialski’s charges were dropped after the legal team “filed a Charter [of Rights and Freedoms]  motion with the Provincial Court of Alberta.”

“The Charter application describes Bialski as having a respiratory illness which qualified him for a mask exemption but for which he did not have documentation,” noted the TDF. 

“Bialski apparently told the flight crew that he had breathing problems, but they nevertheless insisted that he wear a mask when boarding the plane, and they continually monitored him for compliance throughout the flight,” added the group. 

The TDF also noted in its press release that at one point “Bialski’s mask fell off after he took medication to help him sleep.” 

“Prior to landing, the WestJet flight crew reported Bialski to the Calgary Police, who arrested him as he was exiting the aircraft. Police then marched Bialski across the airport for more than 30 minutes to a holding cell in which he was locked.” 

The TDF additionally noted that Bialski had “pleaded with the police to provide a wheelchair for him during the march.” 

“The police allegedly refused this request and did not provide Bialski with any meaningful opportunities to rest.” 

“Bialski alleged that his arrest and forced march across the airport were ‘cruel and unusual’ given his age and medical condition,” and that his rights to “life, liberty, and security of the person” were infringed by vague laws” that “forced [him] to choose between his own personal safety and complying with orders to wear a mask.”

The TDF said that the prosecutor withdrew the charges and that Bialski will “not face any punishment,” but at the same time, his Charter application will “no longer be heard” either. 

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government became well-known for its lengthy COVID-related mandates, having forced all air travelers to wear masks from April 2020 until October of last year. 

During some of that time, vaccine-free Canadians were also outright banned from all air and train travel, both domestically and internationally.

As for WestJet, last fall the Canadian pro-freedom group Free to Fly, made up of pilots and airline workers who lost their jobs for not complying with airline COVID vaccine mandates, blasted the airline’s rehiring process for the vaccine-free as unethical, hypocritical, and a violation of one’s rights.