The leader of the Canadian People’s Party Maxim Bernier was arrested by the RCMP in Manitoba
The leader of the People’s Party of Canada Maxim Bernier was arrested Friday afternoon after attending a rally against COVID-19 restrictions in a village in southern Manitoba.
Laïssa Pamou of Radio Canada, who reported on the event, said that at the rally held in St-Pierre-Jolys, about 57 kilometers south of Winnipeg, no more than 15 people attended. After the event, Bernier drove to a rally in nearby Saint Malo, another small rural community.
At that time, he was pulled out of the vehicle by the Mounted Police, who handcuffed him and placed him on the back seat of the RCMP vehicle.
Bernier was interviewed by Radio Canada shortly before being detained and stated that he received a fine for violating a public health order at a rally in the nearby town of Nivelville earlier on Friday. He didn’t say how much he was fined—just that he planned to fight it.
Watch | Maxime Bernier arrested for violating Manitoba Public Health Order:
A RCMP spokesperson confirmed that Bernier was fined earlier in the day.
“The RCMP has the responsibility to enforce the laws of Manitoba, including the public health order. Mr. Bernier is aware of the health order and has received a fine. Violations of the current public health order continue in Manitoba. Leading to his arrest,” Tara Seel said in an email.
Seel said that under the Public Health Act, Bernier was accused of gathering in an outdoor public place and failing to isolate himself after arriving in Manitoba. He will appear in court for trial.
Bernier is touring in southern Manitoba
The Manitoba judge said that he would not comment on how long Bernier might be held or when he might appear in court because his case is currently in court.
The Penalty section of the Manitoba Public Health Law stipulates that the maximum penalty is a fine of 100,000 U.S. dollars, one year’s imprisonment, or both.
Although the pandemic restrictions prohibit large-scale events and require people to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated when entering the province, Bernier announced this weekend that it will conduct a tour in southern Manitoba, including in the counter Stopped several times at the blockade assembly.
Bernier’s appearances at Niverville and St-Pierre-Jolys are the first two rallies listed in the itinerary Post on Facebook Later Friday, he should stop in the rural cities of Morden and Winkler.
According to the itinerary, he also plans to appear in La Salle and Lorette neighborhoods and Winnipeg on Saturday, and then in Steinbach and Selkirk on Sunday.
The party says it may have violated constitutional rights
The Canadian People’s Party spokesperson Martin Mars said in an email that the party believes that the arrest violated Bernier’s right of assembly under the Constitution.
At the same time, the Constitutional Freedom Justice Center stated in a press release that it will represent Bernier in court.
The Calgary-based organization has also participated in the challenges of the national lockdown measures, including One in Manitoba Seven churches took the province to court for its epidemic power. No decision has been issued in this challenge.
A provincial spokesperson previously told CBC News that the province is aware of Bernier’s planned gathering and will conduct surveillance to collect video and other evidence.
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Governor Brian Pallister stated that if Bernier plans to violate Manitoba’s public health orders, he will “stand by.”