Winnipeg anti-restriction rally goes ahead despite speaker Maxime Bernier's arrest
WINNIPEG -- Despite the arrest of its headline speaker, an anti-restriction rally in Winnipeg went on Saturday afternoon.
Originally slated to be part of federal candidate Maxime Bernier's "Mad Max Manitoba Tour," about 200 people gathered at The Forks.
"We are not against you. We are for two things; we are here for the truth, and we are for transparency," said Jordan Hammond, a speaker at the rally.
Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, was set to headline the rally but was arrested outside St.-Pierre-Jolys, a small village 57 kilometres south of Winnipeg, on Friday.
RCMP said Bernier was arrested for breaking the Public Health Act and failing to quarantine.
In a statement from his party, Bernier said, "I knew I risked being arrested in Manitoba after the threatening letter I got from the province's public health official and declarations from local despot Brian Pallister. But it's still a shock when it happens, when the police treat you like a criminal and handcuff you because you dared talking to a dozen people outdoors in a small village half an hour before."
Bernier was released Saturday morning and took the first flight home to Montreal, according to the party. The party said he had to pay a $1000 cash bail and agree not to break any laws in Manitoba.
In a news release, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing Bernier, said the court denied other conditions proposed by the crown.
"Mr. Bernier, who is campaigning in preparation of an anticipated federal election, is obviously entitled to criticize the existing lockdowns and draconian restrictions, and governments which impose them, which have been tyrannically impacting the rights and freedoms of Canadians for 15 months," said John Carpay, president of the centre.
Bernier will appear before a Winnipeg court on June 27 in regards to the two tickets he received.
CTV News reached out to the province and was told Manitoba Justice and enforcement officials continue to investigate all large gatherings and rallies they are made aware of. It did not comment on Bernier's remarks.
As for the rally, it ended without any major incidents.
"We stand here unified as sons and daughters of the living God whose rights cannot be taken from us no matter what government does to us," said Hammond while addressing the crowd.