‘Dangerous and wrong’: Manitoba Justice Minister condemns anti-mask rally

WINNIPEG — Justice Minister Cliff Cullen released a statement Sunday afternoon after an anti-mask rally in Steinbach, Man. gathered hundreds of people a day before.

“The actions on display in Steinbach yesterday were incredibly unfortunate, dangerous and wrong,” Cullen said in the statement. “The message from Dr. Brent Roussin and our government has been clear – we need every Manitoban to follow the direction of public health officials so we can get our COVID numbers under control.”

Cullen goes on to call the ‘Hugs over Masks’ rally unacceptable.

“My message to those individuals is clear: if you are going to break COVID restrictions, you will be ticketed,” the minister’s statement said.

Minutes after the rally ended on Saturday, a provincial environment officer handed Lewis Weiss, the elected Reeve for the RM of La Broquerie and speaker at the rally, a ticket of $1,296 for violating public health orders.

Rally attendees responded by yelling, honking and berating the officer, surrounding provincial personnel and media.

“The language and vitriol experienced by our enforcement personnel at yesterday’s event is absolutely unacceptable,” said Cullen in the statement. “These individuals are working to keep all Manitobans healthy and safe so we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.”

The province has not said how many people were ticked at the rally.

The minister’s statement ended by issuing a warning for Manitobans who participate in events like the rally.

“Manitobans have been warned and, if they choose to participate in events that openly disregard public health orders, they can expect that enforcement action will be taken.”

The full statement can be found here.

-With files from CTV’s Danton Unger

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