ctv.ca reports that Jewish cab driver Arieh Perecowicz, a Montreal cab driver for over 43 years of his 65 years spent on the planet, is being harassed by the Bureau du Taxi with now 6 tickets for $1,400 because . . . wait for it . . . he has family photos and religious paraphernalia in his cab.
In the bureau du taxi's defence, the fines are a downgrade from their original position that Arieh should be hung. drawn and quartered. I just made that sentence up to see if you were reading.
So, for most of 43 years, these were not a problem. Now, they're a problem, and clearly a BIG problem to the bureau du taxi.
Here is the description of the offending materiel:
Like many cab drivers, Perecowicz spends a lot of time in his cab and keeps pictures of his family with him. The photos of his wife, daughter and son are well-secured on the dashboard and he says they are not a hazard to passengers since there is no way they could become loose.
Also on the dash are small Canadian and Israeli flags and a Remembrance Day poppy. Along with a photo of the founder of Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish movement, he also has two mezuzahs affixed to the car frame between the front and back doors.
Mezuzahs are tiny prayer parchments that are often posted over the door frames of Jewish homes. The prayer is said as one leaves the house in the belief it will help one return home safely.
M. Perecowicz is not your street corner dummy and says:
"I don't see how the city had the mandate and the power to step into something that is clearly, in my mind, a federal issue where the Charter does give us a right of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of expression," Perecowicz said.
The Commission des Transports du Quebec, which governs cab drivers and other drivers for all of Quebec outside of Montreal, has also inspected his taxi and officials had no problem with the items in his car, he says.
Perecowicz took his complaint to the Quebec Human Rights Commission a few years ago, but the tickets have kept coming. The Commission has approved the file and is investigating.
Give 'em Sheol, sir.