Jeff McCarthy is a veteran bagpiper.
He dons traditional Scottish dress when he plays, but since he was ticketed on Wednesday, he’s slightly re-adjusting his attire.
“I don’t want to rock the boat by any stretch of the imagination, so again, when I’m wearing this, I will elect to not carry it with me or wear it.”
The “it” McCarthy is referring to is his Sgian Dubh, a traditional Scottish ceremonial dagger, meaning “black knife.”
He got a $221 ticket by Montreal police when he was taking a break outside Place des Arts during a McGill University convocation ceremony for carrying what authorities deemed to be a weapon.
But since Global News first brought you his story, McCarthy has received an immense amount of support from the community, random strangers and even politicians.
On Friday, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre weighed in on the issue.
“Were the police wearing clown pants?” he quipped, when a reporter told him about the incident.
Though the city has a bylaw that prohibits carrying a knife, Coderre says it needs to be imposed in context.
“I think that it’s up to them but maybe they should show some judgment too,” he said.
City councillor Sterling Downey said he has worn his kilt and the knife at city hall before and was never questioned, so he’s confused why McCarthy was stopped and ticketed.
“We all know that on Remembrance Day, on the 11th, I’m going to see police officers all over the city wearing camouflage pants, which is completely disrespectful,” he said. “Yet somebody is going to give a $221 ticket for performing a convocation at McGill?”
McCarthy told Global News that since he told his story, dozens of community groups have approached him to show their support.
“I believe it’s somewhere between 20 to 30 groups that have offered to pay the ticket for me,” he explained. “So to me, just that deserves a huge thank you.”
But McCarthy doesn’t plan on having someone pay the fine — he still wants to contest it in court.
For their part, Montreal police said they are still investigating the incident.