MONTREAL – Purim is one of the most festive holidays in the Jewish calendar, but over the past years there has been cause to worry.
A bylaw preventing mini-buses from driving young observers of the celebration in the borough of Outremont still stands.
In the past, police have issued tickets to bus drivers during Purim, leading to tensions within the community.
This year, the police will not be issuing tickets to bus drivers.
Prior contested tickets have been withdrawn due to a technicality: the borough did not place enough traffic signs to warn bus drivers that they weren’t allowed on the residential streets.
“The prosecutor withdrew the tickets, so that means they shouldn’t have been issued in the first place,” said Outremont councillor Mindy Pollak.
It’s a move in the right direction, but Feig wants to go one step further.
The bylaw still exists, but he believes it is discriminatory and wants it amended.
Feig has tried to reach out to borough mayor Marie Cinq-Mars, but he said all of his efforts so far have gotten him no where.
“At council, I asked the mayor to please sit down with the community and let’s work out a solution,” said Feig.
“Her answer was ‘you’re not going to dictate my agenda, you’re not going to tell me who to meet with. And that’s it.”
Cinq-Mars was unavailable for comment.
The community said if the mayor doesn’t review the bylaw it may be ready to challenge it in court, according to Fo Niemi, the Executive Director of Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, who has been advising the community.
“The city should give it 30 to 60 days in order to decide what to do with the bylaw,” said Niemi.
“Otherwise, at every possible opportunity, any bylaw or action taken by the city that is seen as discriminatory, I think the community is ready to challenge it in court.”