Peterborough police won't ticket cast & crew of CBC show for handshakes, laughter

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We recently returned to the lovely little city of Peterborough, Ont., where the local constabulary take a very dim view of any sort of merriment in this day and age of COVID-19. You might recall our previous trip to Peterborough in April. We were there to cover an anti-lockdown protest staged at Confederation Square.

Shamefully, speakers such as PPC leader Maxime Bernier and Ontario MPP Randy Hillier were issued tickets by the Peterborough cops for… well, um, that’s a very good question. Last time we checked, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly were still enshrined rights in Canada — even during a pandemic. Heck, just ask the Peterborough police, whose members took a knee at this very same square last summer in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Yes, it’s all so very confusing, isn’t it?

And get this: several weeks after the Peterborough anti-lockdown event, I was served with a summons at my personal residence. Which is odd, given that I was not an organizer nor a speaker nor even an attendee. I was just there as a journalist covering the proceedings, and again, last time I checked, freedom of the press was still a thing in Canada — even during a pandemic.

But things went from odd to downright bat-shite surreal when I was later served disclosure, where the “evidence” of my crimes was duly noted. Which is to say, Staff Sgt. Dan Maclean noted that I had been spotted “shaking hands” and — wait for it — “laughing” on several occasions. Heck, Staff Sgt. Maclean even provided photographic evidence of my hand-shaking and laughing crimes against humanity. He even submitted my driving abstract.

Did you know, folks, that back in 1981 I was nabbed for doing 60 km/h in a 50 km/h zone? Oh, the humanity!

In any event, we thought we would drop by to check out the filming of a Murdoch Mysteries episode in Peterborough.

Alas, given that this is a CBC show, I’ve never seen a single episode, but I’m told that it takes place in Toronto in the 1890s. Ah, the 1890s! A time when shops were actually open in good ol’ Hogtown and a patron could enter such shops without having to don a face-diaper.

Anyway, we have it on good authority that the script called for some of the actors to actually shake hands. And laugh. And we certainly saw outbursts of laughter by the crew members on site — along with a few raised middle fingers aimed at me and my cameraman, Syd. All of which is very odd, given that Murdoch Mysteries is a CBC production, which means Syd and I and millions of other Canadians are involuntarily funding this show via our tax dollars. So, when you think of it, we are actually stakeholders, not interlopers. But I digress…

In any event, we felt it was our civic duty to reimagine ourselves as a couple of COVID-Karens and rat out this production to the cops. I mean, hand-shaking? Laughing? That’s super-spreader stuff according to the Peterborough Police Service, isn’t it?

But alas, the Peterborough cops would not come to the set to issue tickets or even investigate. Gee, maybe they’re fans of Murdoch Mysteries? It is a show about law enforcement, after all...

Bottom line: yet again, when it comes to COVID crimes, it would appear that it is one law for thee, one law for me.

Golly, just where is Detective William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary when you really need him?

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  • By David Menzies

Stand with David Menzies

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