Montreal - Yom Tov Noise Ban Causes Stir
Montreal - A mainly Jewish Montreal suburb has raised hackles by instituting a noise ban for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
The town of Hampstead had already banned lawnmowers, pneumatic drills and other noise-makers on statutory holidays. But the council’s decision to add Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to the law has made waves all the way to the provincial legislature.
First offenders can be fined up to $1,000 while sanctions can double for repeat offenders.
Local resident Fred Chano, who has lived in Hampstead for 14 years, told QMI Agency that he’s outraged.
“I think the city has been taken over by religious extremists,” he said. “It’s a racist law.”
Kathleen Weil, the minister in charge of cultural communities, said she was “surprised” that Hampstead added Jewish holidays to its noise bylaw.
“I’ve never seen a municipal noise law based on religion,” she told reporters prior to question period.
Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey says it’s one thing to enforce a no-noise by-law outside a church, mosque or synagogue during religious services. That, he figures, would probably be okay, but to dictate when you may or may not mow your lawn based on a reiligious consideration goes beyong the powers of a municipality. Grey explains that you can’t make somebody celebrate somebody else’s holidays.
Grey says the fact that 85 percent of Hampstead residents are Jewish doesn’t enter into it. and says that, ultimately, municipalities in Canada are non-religious.
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