A New Westminster man has been charged under the Quarantine Act after refusing to self-isolate upon his return from a flat Earth conference in the United States.
Mak Singh Parhar, 47, has been charged with three counts of contravening a section of the Quarantine Act, which requires him to self-isolate for 14 days upon re-entry into Canada. Parhar attended Flatoberfest 2020 on Oct. 24 in Greenville, South Carolina, an event for people who believe the Earth is flat.
On Oct. 28, New Westminster Police Department officers began investigating Quarantine Act violations of a resident who had recently re-entered Canada from the United States.
“Despite being reminded of the federal legislation that requires travellers to self-isolate under the Quarantine Act, and receiving a violation ticket, Makhan Singh Parhar refused to comply and continued leaving his residence,” said a press release from the police department. “On Nov. 2, 2020 at approximately 11 p.m., the New Westminster police arrested Makhan Singh Parhar for repeated violations under the Quarantine Act.”
According to New Westminster police, Parhar is being held in custody.
“Our priority is the safety of New Westminster residents,” police spokesperson Sgt. Sanjay Kumar said in a news release. “Violations of the Quarantine Act put others at risk. Travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms. This is something we take very seriously.”
On Nov. 1, Parhar attended a rally in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he was introduced as a “no new-normal, anti-lockdown warrior.” During an eight-minute speech, he told a small crowd that he’d attended a “gathering of flat earth truthers,” had taken off his mask on flights to and from the United States and had “rattled” a border guard when he said he wasn’t going to comply and fill out a federal government quarantine form upon on his arrival back in Canada.
“I am not going to put myself in a prison,” he said. “Because I am a free man with god-given rights.”
During his speech, Parhar said “people die all the time,” but they’re not dying of COVID because “COVID doesn’t exist.”
Parhar made headlines in March when the City of Delta suspended the business licence for his yoga studio, after it failed to adhere to COVID-19 regulations such as physical distancing and Parhar claimed hot yoga could help prevent people from getting COVID-19. A notice on the website for Bikram Yoga Delta reads: “Unfortunately we are PERMANENTLY closed.”
Anyone who has concerns for the safety of others and suspects a traveller of violating the Quarantine Act is asked to contact the New Westminster Police Department at 604-525-5411.
With files from Delta Optimist