Canadian cops have doled out nearly $6M in coronavirus noncompliance fines
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ONTARIO, May 6, 2020, (LifeSiteNews) — A new report says Canadians have been fined to a tune of almost $6 million for alleged coronavirus-related tickets and charges since March, with a total of 4,575 people having been ticketed to date.
The Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project shows that the province with the highest amount of purported violations is Quebec, with 3,048 violations amounting to $4,696,288 in fines. Ontario is second at 930 alleged violations with $700,400 in fines. Nova Scotia comes in third with 516 alleged violations at $394,499, followed by Alberta with 44 supposed violations with fines under $75,000.
When broken down to the city level, Montreal leads the way with police enforcement actions at 1,848, followed by Toronto with 594 and Halifax at 216.
Jay Cameron, a lawyer for the Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), told LifeSiteNews that the level of police agitation in some places in Canada is something that has not been seen for generations.
“In some places in Canada, notably Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario, the level of police threats and harassment of citizens is at levels which Canada has not seen in our lifetimes,” said Cameron.
“Citizens must be mindful of their ability to contest the tickets by pleading not guilty and scheduling a hearing.”
The enforcement agency listed as having issued the most tickets is Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, followed by the Sûreté du Québec and then the Toronto Police Services/Toronto municipal by-law officers.
The pro-abortion prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, was asked about the Policing the Pandemic report at his Monday press conference. He said Canadians should follow the advice of the police and health officials.
“I think it’s extremely important that Canadians continue to behave as we have largely in social distancing and staying home,” said Trudeau.
“We are not out of the woods, however, and it requires us to continue to remain attentive and vigilant in following the instruction set out by our public health officials.”
When speaking to LifeSiteNews, Cameron said the JCCF is concerned about how Canadians’ rights are being violated, especially considering that most have followed the rules thus far.
“When government closed businesses and shut down the economy, civilians were told by politicians that ‘we are all in this together’. Citizens patiently bore the decimation of industry and the loss of their jobs, the loss of their retirement and loss of civil liberties,” said Cameron to LifeSiteNews.
“This trust is at stark odds with the opportunistic increase of police surveillance and threats of punishment and even incarceration, and the levying of enormous fines for the ‘offences’ of walking in parks, sitting on benches, doing pullups in parks, and the harassment of churches by police for holding drive-in only services.”
The mapping project is the work of a University of Toronto Ph.D. student in criminology, Alex Luscombe, and a postdoctoral fellow from the University of Ottawa, Alexander McClelland.
Luscombe and McClelland launched their site in early April to “track and visualize the massive and extraordinary expansions of police power in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the unequal patterns of enforcement that may arise as a result.”
Thus far, their project has released two reports, with the latest one, “Policing the Pandemic Enforcement Report,” dated from April 14 to May 1.
“We were shocked,” Luscombe was quoted as saying in a Global News report on the project, adding, “It’s a hell of a lot of money to try to extract from people that are under financial distress right now.”
The report notes that most police fines have been for “failure to physical distance/comply with minimal gathering rules,” at 4,398. In a distant second place are 105 fines and charges for businesses that have been deemed non-essential that have continued to operate during lockdown.
The least common alleged violations are for coronavirus “mischief” at 24, “coughing or spitting on someone” at 20, not following mandatory 14-day quarantine at 10, and going to a closed park at 6.
Luscombe’s and McClelland’s findings note that most enforcement actions have come under provincial public and health emergency laws, with a small number of them issued under the criminal code and local municipal regulations.
The report authors note that their work does not give a complete picture of enforcement that is ongoing in Canada, and its analysis is based on “publicly accessible media articles, police press releases, and social media posts.”
“Snitch Lines” highest in Ontario
Across Canada, many municipalities have launched “snitch lines” that encourage citizens to report on their neighbors should they feel they are breaking coronavirus rules.
The Policing the Pandemic mapping project lists a total of 28 municipalities in Canada where such lines exist, with Ontario having the most.
Luscombe and McClelland created an interactive tracking map of “Snitch Lines” along with other “Non-Compliance Reporting Related to COVID-19” at policingthepandemic.ca. The same site also has a searchable database one can use to see the cases compiled by various news reports and social media posts.
A few weeks ago, the JCCF warned that Canadians’ rights are being trampled because of the coronavirus lockdown measures.
Rebel News has a site called “Fight the Fines,” which lists cases of coronavirus fines where the Rebel News is providing free legal help.
In early April, a Calgary street preacher was fined $1,200 for breaking social distancing health rules after refusing to cancel a street service that included feeding the homeless.
Last week, another Calgary street preacher was issued a $1,200 fine as well.
An Ontario pastor was fined $880 for violating “social distancing” health rules because he held “a seder night” at his residence.
Last week, Police in Aylmer, Ontario said that The Aylmer Church of God congregants who took part in a Sunday drive-in service on April 26 would “be held accountable” for allegedly breaking coronavirus social distancing rules. The Aylmer Police decided to not press charges, but The Church of God will now be challenging the Ontario government in court with the help of the JCCF.