Organizer ticketed here, arrested in Ontario

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An anti-mask conspiracy theorist who encouraged hundreds of Manitobans to break COVID-19 public health orders at a Sunday rally at The Forks was arrested Tuesday, when he did the same thing in Thunder Bay.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/04/2021 (648 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An anti-mask conspiracy theorist who encouraged hundreds of Manitobans to break COVID-19 public health orders at a Sunday rally at The Forks was arrested Tuesday, when he did the same thing in Thunder Bay.

The small rally in the Ontario city on the shore of Lake Superior went ahead, but 37-year-old organizer Chris (Sky) Saccoccia of King City, Ont., was later charged for breach of undertaking and faces charges under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Thunder Bay Police Service also charged an organizer from the host city and another from B.C. under the act.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Chris (Sky) Saccoccia , in yellow, at an anti-mask rally at the Forks in Winnipeg Sunday. Saccoccia has been charged with breach of undertaking and faces charges under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

On Wednesday, the Manitoba government, RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service all declined to say whether local officers have the power under provincial legislation to cuff someone for contravening such orders or encouraging others to do so.

Saccoccia was on a cross-country tour, and failed to self-isolate upon his arrival in Manitoba. The anti-lockdown agitator is also known for spreading anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric.

Manitoba officials initially would not say whether he was one of two local attendees ticketed Sunday. Video circulating on social media appears to show enforcement officials, flanked by what looks like an undercover police vehicle, serve Saccoccia with two tickets in a parking lot adjacent to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

A provincial spokesman issued a statement late Wednesday, saying Saccoccia was issued two tickets for his role in the event, each carrying a fine of $1,296.

“We are not aware of anyone being arrested in Manitoba for breaches of the public health order,” WPS Const. Rob Carver said in an email, when asked if police have the power to make such arrests.

“All infractions have been dealt with by warnings or the issuing of offence notices.”

Asked by the Free Press whether officers have made any arrests for breaching health orders or if they have that power under provincial legislation, Manitoba RCMP said they wouldn’t be able to provide an answer Wednesday.

Earlier, a provincial enforcement spokesperson ignored most questions about Sunday’s rally, including why it was allowed to occur; whether officials spoke to organizer Saccoccia; and what the province’s overall policy is on enforcement at defiant mass gatherings.

Instead, the spokesperson provided a statement identical to one given to the Free Press late afternoon Tuesday.

“Enforcement officials were focused on surveillance and interventions. Tickets were issued, information was gathered and further tickets are pending based on video and other information collected on site,” the statements read.

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.

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