The mayor of Montreal has been served with a legal notice alleging she has allowed hateful protests to continue unchecked

Montreal Imam Adil Charkaoui led prayers at a pro-Palestine rally on Oct. 28 which Jewish leaders and even Quebec's premier say exhorted the genocide of Jews in Israel. (Adil Charkaoui/X)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has been served a legal letter citing her as responsible for the city’s failure to address hateful demonstrations and has become a place where “masked people spewing hate and violence” block streets and businesses. The letter demands the city develop an immediate action plan  

The letter, signed by lawyer Neil Oberman, senior partner of the firm Spiegel Sohmer, and the Quebec Jewish Legal Alliance was served on behalf of “Concerned Citizens 1 and 2.”  It states that Plante has neglected her duties to ensure that citizens are able to access and enjoy public areas as well as personal residences, and has failed to give law enforcement and the fire department adequate tools to address the hate assemblies.

Other recipients of the letter for informational purposes include Montreal Police Chief Fady Dagher, François Charpentier, president of Urgences-santé, Martin Prud’homme, director general of Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and Westmount Mayor Christina Smith.

“The letter demands immediate intervention from the City of Montreal in order to enforce all laws, regulations and municipal bylaws governing illegal gatherings,” a news release from the Jewish Legal Alliance states.

“Today, Montreal has become a territory for extreme groups who assemble with the view of spreading hate and interfering with the daily lives of Montrealers under the guise of freedom for terrorism.

“These organized groups on the island of Montréal promote hatred towards Jews, the murder of innocent Israelis and a complete disregard for all laws that are governing our society,” the Jewish Legal Alliance said.

It cites a previous request from the Association of Suburban Municipalities which represents the municipalities on the Island of Montreal, last November that asked the mayor for additional police resources to stop the hate rallies and increased violence across the city. According to Oberman, the Plante administration has not responded to the request.

A list of events is included in the letter along with photos of various rallies that have taken place primarily in downtown Montreal since Oct. 8. Notably, a pro-Palestine demonstration that closed down Montreal’s Jacques-Cartier bridge for an hour, and pro-Palestine rallies in various Montreal shopping malls on Boxing Day, preventing citizens from accessing the malls.

The legal letter continues, “You have allowed masked people spewing hatred and violence to continue to block streets, public routes, transportation, businesses and residents, and you do so with impunity and to do so with the complete utter disrespect to the people who you are charged with protecting.”

Oberman points out that there have been over 30 unlawful assemblies since Oct. 8 and that they impact all Montrealers, not only the Jewish community.

“There is no protection for hate speech, there is no protection for assembling in order to obstruct citizens from accessing public thoroughfares, bridges, and public transportation,” Oberman told The CJN. “What’s in play are larger Canadian values that we as Canadians would not and cannot accept people who assemble to espouse aggression and violence.

“A lot of people are throwing around the concept of freedom of expression and freedom to assemble, these are enshrined in our constitutional documents. This is not what’s in play. I think it’s a false narrative propagated by those who want to live within the realm of the rule of law but don’t respect the rule of law,” said Oberman.

“The goal is to find solutions but these solutions do not involve hate assemblies, the blocking of public transportation, obstructing access to buildings and restaurants, that is not part of the solution.”

Plante is urged to reply to the formal letter with a detailed plan on how she will prevent future hate assemblies and instruct law enforcement to deal with any groups or individuals who enter public property and disrupt citizens. She is warned that failing to do so will lead to legal proceedings against her and anyone else who does not exercise their duties within their mandate.

The Plante administration has not yet responded and while Oberman does not want to reveal the firm’s legal strategy, he confirmed that legal action would be taken to an agreement is not reached.