Quebec government orders three Orthodox Jewish schools in Montreal to close

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The Quebec government has put three Orthodox Jewish schools on notice to stop holding classes immediately after they are found to openly challenge the closure order.

The Education Ministry confirmed on Monday afternoon that it had sent the disclaimer, but did not name the schools that were notified.

With the latest round of public health measures closing schools, bars, gymnasiums and other public places in Quebec, questions have arisen as to why authorities were not intervening in schools and places of worship. cult who choose to remain open.

On Monday, students entered the classes of an Orthodox Jewish school in Côte-des-Neiges through a side door in an alley.

A letter to parents obtained by CTV News suggests the school clearly knows it is breaking the rules.

“Primary school main entrance MUST NOT BE USED for drop-off OR pick-up,” the letter reads.

“It is best that they do not wear backpacks as this would attract unnecessary attention.”

Last week, CTV News reported on another nearby Jewish school that remained open in defiance of the rules, as well as a church, the Good News Chapel in St. Leonard, which celebrated an illegal mass on Sunday.

Her pastor has openly defied public health restrictions, even though at least two people have died from an outbreak at the Boulevard Couture church.

Montreal police were outside as the service took place on Sunday, but did nothing. Many people wonder why, as rampant infections fill Montreal hospitals to the breaking point.

“Before we have more of these potential patients coming from schools, whether private or public, these churches, whatever religion, before we have these potential patients coming in, I would like the authorities to sanction and stop. ensure that the rule applies to everyone, ”said Paul Brunet, an advocate for patient rights.

“Because we need all of these beds. “

Montreal police say that when it comes to COVID-19 measures, they have very specific powers granted by public health. For example, they can ticket someone for breaking the curfew.

But for most other suspected offenses, like those at a church or school, police say they can only take notes and pass them on to the Crown Prosecutor’s office, which decides whether fines will be imposed or charges laid.

Montreal’s approach contrasts with that of its Laval counterparts. On Sunday, police were informed that nearly 40 people were gathering inside the Laval Coliseum arena. The police in that city did not hesitate to come in and close the rally.

“It’s something illegal, so you can’t keep doing what you’re doing when you’re not supposed to,” said Stéphanie Beshara, Laval police spokesperson.

“You are supposed to immediately stop the illegal assembly and activity.”

Laval police say prosecutors will still decide whether there will be fines or charges.

Asked whether the Côte-des-Neiges school defied the rules, one man told CTV he had no problem with it.

“Practicing religion is essential,” he said outside of school.

In a statement, Quebec’s Minister of Public Security, Genviève Guilbault, called on religious leaders to make sure their communities respect the rules and to do their part to bring this fifth wave of the pandemic under control.

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