RCMP Staff Sergeant Ryan Currie asked the Town of Creston to give heed to a looming anti-mask sentiment.

“Today I had an interesting discussion with a group,” S/Sgt. Currie told Council. “They’re challenging the validity of the Provincial Health Order, masks especially, in stating that it’s in violation of the [Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms].”

S/Sgt. Currie told Council that the group and its source, Stand Up Canada, is “taking liberties” with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by “pushing it’ to apply the Charter in arguments against province-wide health mandates.

“They’re challenging that, saying it’s ‘freedom of belief,’ so they are being discriminated against,” said S/Sgt. Currie.

No further information was given as to when there would be an anti-mask rally in Creston, only that the group plans on having one.

“They did warn that they would be having protests in town,” said S/Sgt. Currie. “I think what a lot of them are doing is pushing some of the businesses as well.”

In his report to the Town, S/Sgt. Currie said he has received three separate reports of alleged violent incidents regarding masks in businesses in only two days.

“This is going to be something that we’re going to be dealing with and [the Town of Creston] will be getting some calls on it as elected officials as well,” S/Sgt. Currie added. “This group has pretty much told me they’re challenging this, and it sounded like they’re going to be challenging me as well.”

S/Sgt. Currie made it clear to Council that local RCMP will not be independently going into businesses and fining people. The business owner must ask the person to leave the business first.

“When it comes to mask enforcement, businesses must advise people to wear masks and they can refuse them service based on if the person does not comply,” said S/Sgt. Currie. “That’s up to the business.”

But he said if a person refuses to leave a private business for not adhering to Provincial Health Orders, including mask guidelines, that person could be arrested and fined under the Trespass Act. In some cases, like the aforementioned violent incidents, suspects can also be potentially charged for causing a disturbance.