A notorious Metro Vancouver COVID-19 conspiracy theorist is in custody for repeatedly breaking quarantine after returning from a Flat Earth conference in the United States
Mak Parhar is charged with three charges of violating Canada’s quarantine law, according to court records, and appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday.
New Westminster police say Parhar is being held in a regional correctional facility.
He was arrested on November 2 after being reminded of federal law requiring international travelers to self-isolate for 14 days and after being served a violation ticket.
Sgt. Sanjay Kumar said Parhar “refused to comply and continued to leave his home.”
“Our priority is the safety of New Westminster residents,” said Kumar. “We take that very seriously.”
According to his Facebook page, Parhar recently traveled to South Carolina for an event called Flatoberfest 2020 – a gathering of conspiracy theorists who believe the earth is flat.
Parhar performed at a rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, boasting of breaking the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period upon his return to Canada.
“I’m not going to jail for being a free man with God-given rights,” Parhar told a small gathering of COVID-19 conspiracy theorists in a video posted on YouTube.
Court records show he is accused of breaching quarantine on October 31, November 1 and November 2.
In his in-depth speech at the art gallery this weekend, Parhar bragged about taking off his face mask on planes to and from the United States and refusing to fill out federal government quarantine forms when he landed at Vancouver International Airport.
He alleged that a border official had been “unsettled” by suggesting that the quarantine law did not apply to him and said he had told them he was not legally a “traveler” or a “person” within the meaning of the law.
“They are not used to people who are not obedient little sheep,” Parhar said in the speech on Sunday.
Parhar boasted in a speech at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday that he refused to self-isolate after returning to Canada. (Youtube)
The claim that he is not legally a person is in line with another conspiracy theory, the “natural person” argument used by certain tax evaders who say that only “artificial persons” need to pay taxes or obtain a driver’s license. The argument has been repeatedly rejected in Canadian courts.
Parhar also spoke in Sunday’s speech about police visiting his home several times over the weekend to punish him for abandoning quarantine and mocked an officer who revealed that a relative had recently died of COVID-19.
“People don’t die of COVID because – you already know – COVID doesn’t exist,” Parhar told his supporters.
Business license withdrawn in March
Parhar has had a high profile in protests in the Vancouver area against COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began.
In March, the city of Delta withdrew its hot yoga studio business license after encouraging clients to continue taking classes, falsely claiming that the novel coronavirus “couldn’t survive in the heat”.
After his shop closed, Parhar used his studio for gatherings of like-minded people who believe COVID-19 was a joke. An April meeting was reported to Delta Police after a video was posted online, but Chief Neil Dubord told CBC at the time that its officers had no authority to take action.
Since then, Parhar has sold its hot yoga business and it is now under new ownership and management.
Parhar also caught the attention of police in his hometown of New Westminster this spring after shooting a video “examining” the COVID-19 isolation area at the Royal Columbian Hospital.
Parhar’s next appearance in the provincial court in New Westminster is scheduled for November 16.
The maximum penalty for a summary conviction under the Quarantine Act is $ 300,000 and / or a prison term of up to six months. If the Crown continues on charges reserved for the most serious offenses, a convicted person could face a fine of up to $ 1 million and a prison term of up to three years.