Mask update: a call to action

After it was announced here and other places that the city of Montreal was seeking to ban masks at protests, people opposed have not been silent and it seems that this issue will not go away. And why should it?

This incursion on our rights to free expression has even garnered opponents in more conservative media spaces such as the Montreal Gazette, first in an article by Henry Aubin then in a letter to the editor and now in an editorial piece.

If even the corporate media can see through the ill-conceived argument that this is just an attack on people who throw Molotov Cocktails and not an affront to everyone including theatre artists, then what hope is there for this ban to pass? Unfortunately plenty. The Tremblay administration has demonstrated its willingness to proceed with legislation, even unpopular legislation (remember Griffintown), until the proposed law reaches a renaming Parc-level of public disgust.

In hopes of sending their message loud and clear to Mayor Tremblay and bolstered by support from other activists in cities around the world who have gone through similar Orwellian laws, a group of masked protesters took to the airwaves last night on infringement TV and demanded this law be stopped. They claim they will come out in force this coming Monday and the following one as well. They invited others to do the same, wearing masks of course.

Here’s the video:

On Monday night the city’s bureaucrats will table an “avis de motion”, which means that the anti-mask bylaw motion will be officially tabled.  Section 41.05, the suspected anti-mask bylaw, is listed as such:

“Avis de motion – Règlement modifiant le Règlement sur la prévention des troubles de la paix, de la sécurité et de l’ordre publics, et sur l’utilisation du domaine public (R.R.V.M. chapitre P-6)”

Apparently it is extremely difficult to get the actual wording for a bylaw before it is tabled, and the usual procedure is to pass the law the following week. Citizens are allowed to attend the meeting, but must follow stringent rules that are designed to limit the number (and types) of questions that can be asked in order to stifle citizen involvement in municipal politics.

If you want to go to the meeting at City Hall, it will be Monday, January 26. If you want to ask questions, you must arrive by 5 pm at the entrance on the Place Vauquelin on the west side of the building to get a number. At 6:30 pm you will be inscribed on a list of questioners. You need to be a Montreal resident and have photo ID, and they’ll want to know who you are, what your questions are, and to whom they are addressed. Note that the “President of the Council” has the power to expel you from the question period if he or she feels that your presence is disrupting the rules (“order”) of the meeting.

If you want to get involved in this action, please contact

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