When a victory isn’t as sweet as it could be… or what are you doing tonight?

manifesurpriseAs plans were underway late Friday afternoon for a last-ditch theatrical protest to stop the City of Montreal’s proposed anti-mask law from passing, word broke that the city was backpedaling on the proposed legislation and would not be voting on it at tonight’s council meeting as planned.

While this news sounded at first like a victory for those standing up to this proposed violation of our charter right to freedom of expression, it soon became apparent that the city wasn’t scrapping the plan but rather reviewing the language of it.  Perhaps they want to remove anything in it that could make it sound like it could be used, as the Montreal Gazette observed, against someone at the Santa Claus Parade.

This is far from an admission that the whole idea was ill-conceived or a promise to not to impede on our rights again in the future, but rather a temporary reprieve that could allow the city to re-shape and better pitch a plan that has no place on the agenda at all in a society that allows people to express themselves freely.


Which is why we have one question for everyone who has ever attended a protest or played a masked character in the streets theatrically, as well as everyone who believes that peaceful people at protests have a right not to have their faces put in some database and those who believe in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: what are you doing tonight?


OTL will theatrically bury this proposed bylaw in hopes that city officials will take note and wipe the actual proposition off the table completely.  This will be part of a larger protest called Manifesuprise being organized by Le gros bon sens.  It follows the Bal Masqué, a masquerade ball that took place outside of the last council meeting earlier this month organized by the same group.  With many groups and individuals such as La ligues des droits and attorney Julius Grey still standing in opposition to this law despite attempts to remove it fr0m the public discourse, the protestors won’t be alone.

The whole thing starts at 5:30pm at Berri Square and you’re invited to join in the theatre or the protest in general.  Wear a mask if you’ve got one, the more the merrier!  If you can’t make it out, but would like to let Mayor Tremblay and the opposition parties know how you feel, contact info can be found here.

By not staying silent, we will hopefully be able to turn this temporary victory into a lasting protection of our rights as theatre artists, protestors and above all citizens.

We will run a report on what happened later this week.

Leave a Reply