B.C. man who just came back from flat-Earth festival arrested for violating Quarantine Act
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- A New Westminster man has been arrested and charged after allegedly failing to follow quarantine orders once he returned to Canada from the United States.
Police in the city say 47-year-old Makhan Singh Parhar was ticketed late last month for violating the Quarantine Act after re-entering the country. But even after receiving the ticket, police say he kept leaving his house.
So, days later on Nov. 2, police arrested Parhar for "repeated violations under the Quarantine Act."
"Our priority is the safety of New Westminster residents," said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar in a news release issued Thursday.
"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."
And Kumar said Parhar had been informed of the policy by the Canada Border Services Agency when he came home.
"It's clear, after posting some videos on YouTube, that he chose to violate that, where he repeatedly went out into the public, putting others at risk," Kumar said in an interview later in the day.
In a video posted to YouTube the day before Parhar's arrest, he can be seen speaking at an anti-mask rally in downtown Vancouver, talking about his recent trip to the United States to attend Flatoberfest, which is a conference for people who believe the Earth is flat.
In the video, Parhar says he was given a form on the plane before landing at Vancouver International Airport.
"They give you a form that you gotta fill out. Now you gotta quarantine," he says.
"They call it 'quarantine,' it's not really quarantine, it's self-imprisonment … put yourself in a jail and stay there. Don't interact with your friends, family, whatever. Stay inside and don't have a life."
Parhar also says in the video that police came to his house multiple times after he returned to Canada and on one occasion he wasn't home, so he got a ticket.
"I go home … I live my life, because I'm not going to put myself in a prison, because I'm a free man with God-given rights," he says.
Police say Parhar has been charged with three counts of contravening a section of the Quarantine Act. He's currently still in custody.
Sgt. Kumar said Parhar appeared in court, and was advised he'd be kept in custody for the time being.
He couldn't say for certain whether Parhar would remain in jail for the rest of the time he's supposed to be isolating, saying that decision will be up to the court.
Kumar said to his knowledge Parhar was the only person the department has had to deal with in terms of the Quarantine Act.
Anyone who returns to Canada after international travel is required to self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.
Starting later this month, international travellers whose final destination is in Canada will be required to submit details about their quarantine plan and contact information electronically through the ArriveCAN app before boarding a flight into the country.