Province keeping mask on health-order enforcement process

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Equal justice for equal health-order breaches?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/04/2021 (637 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Equal justice for equal health-order breaches?

How enforcement officers choose who to ticket for breaking pandemic rules is not a matter for public consumption, the province appears to have decided.

A provincial enforcement spokesperson said in an email Thursday that more participants in last Sunday’s anti-mask, anti-restrictions protest at The Forks will be receiving tickets based on surveillance video and other information gathered at the event.

JOHN WOODS / FREE PRESS FILES Todd Dube, left, wasn’t one of the people fined Sunday at the anti-mask rally at the Forks with speaker Chris “Sky” Saccoccia.

Just two of the several hundred people who attended the rally were issued $1,296 tickets on the spot, for failure to self-isolate and gathering in a group larger than permitted.

The main draw was Canadian anti-mask activist Chris Saccoccia, also known as Chris Sky, who was on a cross-country tour and failed to self-isolate upon his arrival in Manitoba. The anti-mask agitator is also known for spreading anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric.

A video circulating on social media appears to show Saccoccia being served with two tickets. A government source confirmed to the Free Press he received two tickets late Wednesday.

It’s not clear if, or how many, of the other protesters have received, or will receive, violation notices.

The provincial enforcement spokesperson refused to reveal “operational details” to the Free Press about how the Justice and Health departments plan to use the surveillance footage, whether investigators are combing social media for information on attendees, whether the government has received tips about the rally or about the general enforcement process.

“Investigations related to last weekend’s rally, including a review of all available evidence, are ongoing,” the spokesperson wrote, adding all credible information is followed up.

A regular fixture at Manitoba anti-masker protests, Todd Dube wasn’t one of the two people fined Sunday.

But Dube, who runs traffic safety advocacy organization Wise Up Winnipeg, expects health officials will come knocking with ticket notice in hand, sooner or later. He and others who regularly organize, speak at and attend COVID-19-related conspiracy protests get fined often, he said, adding he’s received three already, including one Wednesday for another recent gathering.

“They were there filming and taking pictures, they’re trying to identify, at the very least, the organizers… I expect to see them in the next couple of days,” Dube said, noting he didn’t organize the Sunday rally but is one of the founders of a local anti-lockdown group.

The Free Press identified a local musician, a funeral director who spoke at the rally and a former radio station DJ through videos posted online, their own social-media postings and photos taken by newspaper staff.

An Altona teacher was suspended by Border Land School Division for attending the rally. The president of the Manitoba Chiropractors Association resigned after being spotted in the maskless crowd. A Lord Selkirk School Division bus driver was suspended without pay for being there.

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 29, 2021 9:50 PM CDT: Updates caption.

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