Citizens of the Saint-Michel district worry that hundreds of the faithful gather in a “church”, where a pastor openly urges them to ignore sanitary measures.
Several dozen people gathered on the sidewalk, shaking hands and hugs; all this is happening under the eyes of neighbors who are not reassured by these behaviors that take place on Sundays at the New Creation Church, located in a commercial building on 19e Avenue, in Montreal.
Two days ago, a celebration brought together around 200 people.
“I didn’t like it. It even stressed me out, said an area resident. We are careful. We’re going to stop seeing people over the holidays, and they’re just thinking of them. It’s sad. “
Other citizens also reported to the Newspaper be worried about the situation.
Pastor Carlos Norbal makes no secret of inviting figures from the conspiracy movement such as Alexis Cossette-Trudel, André Pitre and ex-police officer Maxime Ouimet. You can see them side by side in a photo posted on Facebook.
“We are not preaching rebellion […], but freedom in the face of the authorities, ”said the pastor during his ceremony broadcast on YouTube.
He also tells his followers that this is a “pseudo-pandemic”, a real virus, but “no more dangerous than the flu.”
Mr. Norbal, who refused our request for an interview, goes so far as to recite passages of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms like a prayer in a speech.
It relies on freedom of conscience and religion to justify the right to assemble. However, if a rule of law – the ministerial decree in this case – is reasonable, it can restrict rights and freedoms, explains professor of constitutional law at the University of Ottawa Benoit Pelletier.
“Is this reasonable? If the answer is yes, then the ministerial decree is allowed to limit and restrict rights. We can conclude that given the health emergency, the decree would be upheld by the courts, ”he said.
The context of a pandemic makes it very difficult to dispute reasonableness, argues the professor of rights and freedoms at Laval University Louis-Philippe Lampron.
A participant in the celebration bragged on Facebook about the inaction of the Montreal police force, present at the scene Sunday, but which did not intervene.
He and his companions may have little surprises, however, as general offense reports will be submitted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, police confirmed.
They could receive tickets of up to $ 1,500 each.
A similar situation arose last weekend in Rosemère, where at least 18 statements will be given to members of an anti-mask group who danced in a shopping center.
► No more than 25 people are allowed inside places of worship in the red zone.