As masks become mandatory in Montreal, tensions in the province intensify

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TORONTO – As Montreal joins the list of Canadian cities to impose masks in certain public places, tensions between those who choose to defy these rules intensify. Masks became mandatory for public transit Monday in Montreal after a two-week grace period. Other cities, such as Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, have already started similar orders.

“I haven’t seen people complaining, people are wearing their masks, doing what they’re supposed to do,” a passenger in transit in Montreal told CTV News.

While most followed the new rules, anti-mask protesters rallied in Quebec and Montreal over the weekend to voice their opposition to the mandate and display public health guidelines with group hugs, between other activites.

During the rally in Quebec, two maskless men hugged a journalist against her will while on air, causing widespread shock and criticism.

“An unwanted ‘hug’ is no less worse than an insult or threats,” tweeted in French Kariane Bourassa, the TVA journalist who was kissed. “Women journalists shouldn’t have to do their job of constantly looking over their shoulders to see if someone is going to fit ‘their bubble’.”

The Deputy Premier of Quebec, Geneviève Guilbault, also condemned the incident.

“You have the right to speak, but you certainly do not have the right to endanger the health of others,” she said. “We will no longer tolerate such situations.”

Guilbault added that anti-mask protesters were spreading disinformation about the pandemic and could spread the virus further.

Tensions have also escalated among those who choose not to wear masks in public, despite directives.

Last week, a video from Montreal went viral when a man with his mask in his back pocket mocked a bus driver who told him to put it on, later sparking an argument between the man and another passenger.

Still, Guilbault said it’s important to stress that most people follow the rules and do their best to contain the virus.

“We cannot let this minority divide us,” she said.



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