What would you do for love? Would you let your spouse lead you around on a leash? In public?
That was what a Quebec couple did earlier this month. Police were not amused. The couple were ticketed and fined – $1,546 dollars.
It wasn’t the leash that was the problem. Or even that the woman referred to her husband as her dog.
It was where they were – outside. And when they were – after the 8 p.m. curfew.
In Quebec, as in many other places with pandemic curfews, one of the exemptions is for people who need to walk their dogs at night. Dogs apparently are not as smart as cats and cannot be trained to use a litter box.
This couple apparently wanted to walk together and figured they had a way around the rules. The police didn’t accept that.
If they appeal the fine, and I think they should, they can argue that the man has every right to consider himself a dog – and police have no authority to determine otherwise. After all, if you can determine your gender on how you feel on any give day, why can’t you be a dog if you feel like it?
Amusing as the story is, it highlights the problems with curfews and other restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19. There are exceptions to all the rules. People, being people, will look for loopholes.
It seems these days that government response to anything unusual is a restriction of civil liberties. Don’t you find that concerning?
Taking their cue from Germany, Quebec instituted an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for a month, supposedly to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If they have scientific proof that curfews are effective in preventing the spread of viruses they haven’t published it.
If I was cynical I would see this as a cash cow for the province, which has announced hefty fines (starting at $1,000, which with surcharges, as in this case, comes to $1,546.) for anyone found outside in the evening. They also announced additional surveillance on the streets to catch offenders.
The tickets handed out the first weekend will add more than a million dollars to government revenue. Pardon me for thinking this isn’t about public safety. How do you spell “cash cow?”
Given that bars, restaurants, sporting facilities and anywhere else people might gather are already closed, this can only be seen as an attempt to stop individuals from gathering in private residences. It strikes me that such a move contravenes the freedom of assembly and freedom of association clauses of Canada’s constitution.
After a year of pandemic, it would seem that there is no need for more education on what is needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Except that no-one knows what works, which leads to a patchwork of ever-changing rules, no matter where you live.
Wash your hands frequently. Keep social distance from others. Where a mask when required, even if you don’t think that helps. Avoid crowds.
And above all else, don’t try and walk your significant other on a leash. The authorities have no sense of humor these days.