Organizer at illegal Winnipeg anti-restrictions rally handed two fines
Ontario resident later arrested, charged in Thunder Bay after separate rally
Manitoba has handed two pandemic-enforcement tickets to one of the organizers of an illegal rally against public health restrictions at The Forks on Sunday.
The province meted out two $1,296 fines for individual pandemic violations to Chris Saccoccia, a provincial spokesperson said Thursday.
Saccoccia, a resident of King City township north of Toronto, was travelling across the country at a time when some provinces, including Manitoba and Ontario, are imposing interprovincial travel restrictions.
Manitoba requires visitors to quarantine for two weeks. Ontario bars non-essential travel entirely at its borders.
On Tuesday, Thunder Bay police charged Saccoccia under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act after an anti-restrictions rally in the northwestern Ontario city.
Saccoccia was arrested and charged with breach of an undertaking. He was released later Tuesday with a future court date.
"We all have obligations regarding the provincial orders," Thunder Bay police said in a statement. "We will enforce when situations dictate, such as incidents where there has been a blatant disregard of the province's emergency orders."
No one else fined to date in Winnipeg
In total, several hundred people gathered near the CN Stage at national historic site on Sunday afternoon — violating the outdoor public gathering limit of 10 people — as part of a convoy travelling through Canada to protest public health orders.
Sunday's rally included speakers who spewed misinformation and rhetoric that encouraged attendees to defy public health rules. Rally-goers had also planned to march through The Forks Marketplace without masks, resulting in Forks officials locking the doors and closing businesses for the day.
Enforcement officers were at the rally but only issued two tickets to people Sunday for failing to self-isolate and gathering in a group larger than what is allowed.
The province has faced criticism for enforcement efforts at the rally, with some saying it should have been prevented from happening at all.
More fines are expected to be levied, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister promised Monday.
Even though enforcement officers did not stop the event, they were collecting video footage and other evidence while keeping a low profile, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said Tuesday.