In an apparent case of misplaced priorities, one Montreal city councillor has taken it upon himself to take a stand against (in his words) “militant vegans” running roughshod across the city of Montreal.
According to the Journal de Montréal, councillor and leader of the official opposition Lionel Perez has called for a vote on a symbolic motion to condemn “radical vegans who want to intrude illegally” on the property of restaurants in Montreal.
Perez’s motion was spurred by a trio of incidents in January — firstly, animal rights activists from a group named Direct Action Everywhere briefly crashed a weekend dinner service at Joe Beef. In two subsequent incidents, harsh (but not threatening) letters were left at the premises of restaurants Manitoba and Mon Lapin, stating that chefs at these places had “blood on their hands” (the letters were anonymous, and did not claim an affiliation with Direct Action Everywhere or any other particular group). At Manitoba, the anonymous protester(s) went a step further, and put glue on one of the restaurant’s locks.
While these incidents were unfortunate for the restaurants involved, they were ultimately small in magnitude — the sort of issue to take to the police, not a crisis that requires the attention and condemnation of 64 city councillors.
The owners of Manitoba and Mon Lapin did file police reports, and do not appear to have asked for Perez’s intervention. Meanwhile, Joe Beef did not even require any outside intervention: About 15 to 20 protesters disrupted dinner service at the restaurant, but they were only inside the premises for about five minutes, and left peacefully at the request of staff. Afterwards, owner Dave McMillan said neither he nor customers were particularly fazed by the unexpected spectacle.
“If it’s not this, it’s a pipe breaking or someone who had too much wine, or Obama [visiting], or some actor, I guess I’m desensitized...the customers were not bothered, some of them were amused.”
But the small scale of these incidents isn’t stopping Perez from fighting performative outrage with more performative outrage, demanding that all city councillors vote with him to condemn illegal trespassing and vandalism, things that are already illegal.
It’s unclear why Perez is taking this stand to protect restaurants now: Why wasn’t he standing up in city council demanding that people condemn the mob when restaurants and shops were being firebombed on a near-weekly basis just a few years ago?
While it’s possible that Perez indeed cares deeply about Montreal restaurants faced with the non-threat of a dozen animal rights activists, the good folks at news aggregation and commentary page MTL City Weblog has one possible alternate explanation for Perez’s sudden valiant stand: he hasn’t seen his name in the media for a couple of weeks.
- Un vote réclamé contre les véganes radicaux à Montréal [Journal de Montréal]
- Perez Demands Vote Against Vegan Actions [MTL City Weblog]
- Little Italy Restaurant Owners Optimistic, But “On the Lookout” After Receiving Menacing Animal Rights Note in Mailbox [EMTL]
- Le bar à vin Mon lapin est à son tour la cible d’activistes [Radio-Canada]