Quebec MNAs are being warned about COVID-19 deniers attempting possible citizens' arrests on them
Quebec provincial police have warned the National Assembly's security unit to be watchful of potential attempts by opponents of COVID-19 guidelines to make citizens' arrests of MNAs.
The Surete du Quebec confirmed the warning to CTV News. And in a letter to MNAs obtained by CTV, Quebec's legislators are warned that "for several weeks now, several people on the web have stated that some MNAs are about to be arrested by citizens." The letter points out there have been similar attempts at the federal level including one attempt to arrest NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh last month.
The warning states that opposition to Quebec's public health measures has evolved from anti-mask and anti-confinement protests including civil disobedience to anti-government sentiments and conspiracy theories.
"The MNAs that are the most at risk are those who are the most often in the media," the letter states. Although most of the threats remain based in the online world, the chance that some people could make actual attempts are not be discounted, the letter adds.
The letter advises MNAs who might be confronted by someone wanting to make a citizens arrest to "let the person express themselves without confronting them and while continuing to make your way toward a secure area. If the person persists, warn them that what they are doing is illegal and call 911," as well as National Assembly security staff.
Citizens' arrests are only legal in Canada if the person making the arrest finds a person either "in the act of committing a crime, or escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest that person," according to the federal Ministry of Justice.