Quebec is the jurisdiction within Canada where the police have issued, by far, the most tickets for alleged public health violations. Two-thirds of all tickets issued in Canada originate from police forces in Quebec. Quebec is _also_ the jurisdiction in Canada with the most COVID-19 positive cases and the most COVID-19 linked deaths (almost doubling the numbers in Ontario, which has six million more residents than Quebec). British Columbia, the third largest province, has issued no tickets, preferring a public education approach, and has significantly fewer COVID-19 cases (in both absolute and proportional numbers) than Quebec.
It shows, despite the pathetic excuses yesterday by Quebec’s Minister of Public Security, that there is no link between issuing tickets and promoting public health. Meanwhile, police in Quebec are acting in absurd ways, enabled by neighborhood snitches.
Here are two troubling examples:
i) This past Saturday in Drummondville, Monique Champagne, 81, had a visit at her home from her boyfriend, Laurent Lessard, 87. They live separately, but have been a couple for about 20 years. During the pandemic, while autonomous, they have not visited each other. But Laurent finally visited Monique on Sunday, where they hung out outside, maintaining distance, and then went inside for a meal, where they also maintained physical distance. They were snitched on by neighbors, the police (SQ) arrived, entered the home, and issued two tickets for $1546 for an illegal gathering. The police threatened to double the amount if they continued their meal. This case, where the police showed no discretion and created psychological distress to two elders, has been covered by the mainstream media in Quebec. The Radio-Canada article in French (with video) is linked here: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/…/contravention-salee-couple-ai…. Monique Champagne’s son wrote a letter to the local paper published here: https://www.journalexpress.ca/…/constat-dinfraction-pour-a…/
ii) Here is the testimony of another case, from the Eastern Townships, not covered by the media yet but shared with me anonymously: « Social Distancing House Search, May 3 (May 4, 2020): Sunday morning at 7:45 am, the doorbell rang and the cops were at the door saying there was a complaint about a rassemblement (gathering). We had to wake up the kids to tell them the po-po wanted to search the house. First non-family in the house in two months. Some fucking neighbour had seen a car they didn’t recognize parked on the street and called the cops claiming someone had gone into our place. I was so surprised I didn’t even ask the cops the usual questions (do you have a fever, cough, etc.) before letting them in, so they could have even brought the damn virus into the house. Looks like it may have been the same neighbour who called the cops last weekend on three little kids clearly from the same family playing in the yard a few feet from their condo back porch where their parents were sitting. wtf. Fortunately, a bunch of neighbours were equally pissed in their reactions on a neighbourhood FB page, which helped us explain to our kids that not all our neighbours are crazy jerks. »
The second case, which did not result in a fine, shows that in addition to the more than 3000 fines issued by police in Quebec (so far), there are likely just as many examples of police searches, home entries and ID checks that are of dubious legal validity, even during the pandemic.
There are many other examples to share, from Montreal police issuing tickets to homeless people and frontline street workers, to the overpolicing of neighborhoods like Montreal-Nord, not to mention the normalizing of snitching (snitches, especially when anonymous, who are just pursuing grudges, or acting on their own prejudices and biases, without any accountability).
The police can’t be trusted to exercise proper discretion, whether in a public health crisis, or otherwise, and Quebec is a glaring example of police abuse taking the place of effective public education.
Reference was made through hyperlink to Radio-Canada article citing a elderly couple who are contesting their 1546$ each fines for dining together when living separately. « Contravention salée pour un couple d’aînés de Drummondville | Corona »