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Montreal police ticket veteran bagpiper for carrying traditional knife

rnkelly said:
Recceguy- I agree with your points on why we should be displaying our tools of the trade but don't think the personal attacks or general vitriol towards airforce contributes anything.  As a TacHel guy I have more in common with the army combat arms types then Air Force but in the end we're all on the same team. 

Let's not lose sight of the real problem here; a couple of power tripping loser Montreal Cops.

An 8" blade on a Kirpan is okay, even for 12-year old school children in Quebec.  McCarthy should just ensure the hilt of his sgian-dubh is stitched into the cuff of his hose, like young Gurbagh Singh's kirpan was covered and stitched close.  Perhaps if he has the time, he can go to the Supreme Court of Canada and have the Montreal By-Law re-worded to respect the spirit of the SCC's decision against the Quebec School Board in the case of Singh?
SupersonicMax said:
An argument in favour actual weapons on a parade has yet to be presented here and I frankly do not see a requirement for it.  I say if it upsets people in the community and contravenes local bylaws then perhaps we should reconsider how we conduct parades out in towns and cities (or at least get proper authorization to do so)

A requirement? There is no requirement for parades at all. They are purely symbolic and cultural.

Much like "innocent until proven guilty," I think the onus should be on the person advocating change to support why we shouldn't use real rifles / swords on parade, why people shouldn't be allowed to carry a knife in their sock as part of their uniform, etc. I haven't seen any convincing reasons for us to start using rubber rifles on parade, in fact the whole idea smells of "safe spaces" to me and I'm a bit surprised it's coming from a fellow CAF member.

However, if you want a reason, I as a professional soldier would feel rather degraded by the public if they insisted that I carry a rubber rifle on parade or a plastic sword. If that's how they feel about me / us, then they can find someone else to carry the real weapons for them when it counts.
It wouldn't matter if troops carried a piece of 2x4 with "riffle" painted on it in fluorescent pink paint.  Those upset by the mere presence of a rifle, rubber, metal, or twisted up balloons will still yap off and protest.  The very existence of a military is offensive to them.
Sandyson said:
Piper McCarthy was playing for McGill University:  "But McCarthy ran into trouble on his way to play the bagpipes at McGill University's fall convocation at Place-des-Arts Wednesday."  He was not on duty at the time so this has very little to do with the military.
Might be a bit tricky getting a piper for a police event at least in Montreal for awhile.
As for carrying weapons in cities, I was stopped by the Sherbrooke Police many years ago for carrying my sword home.  A bus driver made the complaint.  The police dismissed the complaint immediately.
As for parades with weapons, the Regiments sent a letter to the mayor informing him/her that we intended to exercise our 'freedom of the city'.

The Pipes & Drums Of Cdn BW are a separate entity, which are connected, a representative of the Regiment = Mother, in no matter which function, Civil or Military. That's why at the armoury U have 4 messes, Officers, Sgt., Lower ranks, and the P & D. It's my understanding he was wearing a Glengarry with the BW capbadge, no red feathers, owing it's forbidden by Standing Orders, and that includes 3rd SCOTS (BW). Unless you're USMC., they wear the Glengarry with red-feathers and cap-badge on the left side.



10 Years ago my 870 R PRG 21" with rifle sights, etc., was at Dante, gunsmith, picking up after repair, my car wouldn't start therefore went to metro station near by, note it was in a case, locked Trigger, and I had the registration, etc.

When I switched Lines while waiting, Metro Sec., intercepted moi asking if I had a guitar in the case? I Told them I had a shot-gun, explained the situation, they checked with supervisor, If it's in a case with a trigger Lock, and I have all the permits I can transport it on the Montreal and Laval System: They escorted me until the end, and informed the Laval Bus driver.

The bagpipes, some say originated from Spain, Gaitas.

USMC in Kilts, God Bless the US Marine Corps, I wounder if their regimental, Balls in the wind.

Just my thoughts.

Speaking from only my personal opinion, and not with my badge in hand- this is one of the most chicken**** things I've ever seen, and whatever officer laid that charge should be ashamed of themselves. What an utter lack of judgement and discretion.
Now Chispa, you have shown a case where something called "a little Commons Sense" was put into play.  It obviously was not in the Piper's case.
George Wallace said:
Now Chispa, you have shown a case where something called "a little Commons Sense" was put into play.  It obviously was not in the Piper's case.

Some Montreal, or rest of Canada; police have shown in the past poor judgement, there are many other police officers more clear headed, etc., even got-away with a few traffic tickets, just by showing respect and not being confrontational, a yes speaking French does help at times, lol. However sometimes some cops are arses and no matter what will not change the outcome, remember they have a quota in tickets they need too Issue.

Señor Wallace, a Little commons sense, at times is hard to come by.

Brihard said:
Speaking from only my personal opinion, and not with my badge in hand- this is one of the most chicken**** things I've ever seen, and whatever officer laid that charge should be ashamed of themselves. What an utter lack of judgement and discretion.

To be blunt it's ignorance that the cop gave the ticket. Ignorance about another demographics culture and ignoring the explanation. Jacka$$ for sure !
He's lucky he escaped with his life... fear the piper!

The war on bagpipes:

daftandbarmy said:
He's lucky he escaped with his life... fear the piper!

The war on bagpipes:


She.      [:D

It was a female cop and questions are being asked, according to links in earlier posts (above).

Original link

Montreal police ticket veteran bagpiper for carrying traditional knife

John Meagher, Montreal Gazette

Published on: November 4, 2016 | Last Updated: November 4, 2016 10:12 AM EDT

Jeff McCarthy might be the closest thing to a professional bagpiper in Montreal. You may have seen him playing the pipes at the downtown Ogilvy store, or occasionally parading through Montreal streets as a member of Canada’s famed Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment.

So the veteran piper was understandably upset on Wednesday afternoon when he was handed a $221 ticket by police for wearing a sgian-dubh (pronounced skin-do), a small knife that is a common accessory for men in traditional Scottish dress.

McCarthy, who was wearing a kilt, was cornered then ticketed by police officers who approached him after they spotted the knife tucked into his kilt hose while McCarthy was taking a break outside Place des Arts during a McGill University convocation ceremony.

“As I was walking by these three police officers, one of them … asked me, ‘Is that a knife?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely’.

“I started to explain to her what it was and why I wear it. It didn’t take her long to turn around say, ‘This is illegal.’ And I was pretty shocked and surprised because I’ve been playing the pipes for almost 27 years and I’ve never been stopped for carrying a sgian-dubh.”

McCarthy, 48, attempted to explain to police, who were later joined by two STM public security officers, that the knife is strictly Scottish cultural attire and not intended for use as a weapon.

“I explained … that’s it’s part of the costume, it’s not a weapon per se. It’s an accoutrement to what is considered a traditional Highland costume.”

Police were not swayed and confiscated the knife. McCarthy has not yet decided if he will contest the ticket, which amounted to about half his salary that day.

“There is no religious significance to the knife, but there is a cultural significance. I think that needs to be respected,” he said.

The fluently bilingual McCarthy comes from an ethnically diverse family. His father is of Irish and French descent, while his mother is of Jamaican descent.

McCarthy, whose grandmother was Scottish, said he felt his ancestry was being targeted by police.

“It’s sort of like crushing a culture, and it’s disrespecting a culture,” he said. “There are four things on the Montreal flag and one of them is decidedly Scottish (the thistle). You’d think there would be some respect in terms of that.”

McCarthy says there are many law-abiding members of Montreal’s Scottish community who will be surprised to hear of his run-in with the cops.

“My concern is that Scottish people in general are going to be targeted for wearing a sgian-dubh. Certain questions come to mind: Are they going to set up a paddy wagon in front of the Highland Games?

“Are they going to be bring in the task force when they hold the annual St. Andrew’s Ball in a couple of weeks? Let me tell you, there are lot of people there wearing a sgian-dubh.”

McCarthy, a lifelong Montrealer, said the whole affair has left him with a bad taste in his pipes.

It only made matters worse when one of the STM security officers told him he was “dishonouring my unit and dishonouring the (Canadian) forces by behaving the way I was behaving.”

Police chose not to comment on the matter when contacted Thursday.
What is particularly sad about this is that Scotsman began sgian dubh’s after the carrying of their claymores (the broadswords that the explosive devices were named after) was outlawed by the English, much as the carrying of shillelaghs became popular in Ireland after a similar ban.

It’s also interesting because the former RCMP officer who became the head of security for the Canadian Parliament lobbied in favor of allowing Sikh males to carry kirpans, which are ritual knives that tend to be slightly larger than sgian dubhs, inside Parliament because they are required to carry them by their religion for the expressed purpose of fighting against injustice. What made his action even more courageous was that it followed the tragic episode when one of the soldiers were killed outside Parliament by a terrorist.

Having spent an entire career in law enforcement, I wish that officers didn’t select issuing tickets or making arrests as their default choice of action when many situations are better served by issuing verbal warnings whenever possible.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like he was charged with a Criminal Code offence but issued a ticket. Did a (very) little searching and found reference to a City of Montreal Bylaw regarding knives:

1. In this by-law, "public place" means a place to which the public has access by express or tacit invitation.

2. No person carrying or having in his possession a knife, sword, machete or other similar weapon, without a reasonable excuse, may be in a public place, street, park, public square, on foot or in a transit vehicle.
For the purposes of this article, self-defence does not constitute a reasonable excuse.

3. Any person who contravenes this by-law is guilty of an offence and is liable: (1) for a first offence, to a fine of $150 to $300; (2) for a second offence, to a fine of $300 to $500; (3) for a subsequent offence, to a fine of $500 to $1000.

As a piper invited to perform at an official function as a piper in traditional scottish dress I'd certainly say he has grounds to argue that he has a "reasonable excuse" for carrying the knife.
This would be laughable if it weren’t for the serious consequences for the outcome.

If this can be heard in court, I would advise the actions:

1. Spread the word to every Scottish group in the area and any from kilted regiments, and ask them to attend on the court date. Prior to the court date, draft a brief press release and send it to every local news media outlet including radio stations.
If you need any assistance with drafting it, feel free to email me. As a former police PIO in the 4th largest media market in the US (Philly), I’ve done my share of crafting them. My address is: motorcop505@yahoo.com

2. Locate one or more people who are recognized authorities on Scottish dress, such as elder members of Scottish community groups and local professors who can give opinion evidence in court after they undergo a brief vior dire where they are asked a few questions to demonstrate their knowledge of the culture significance of you “knife.” As I understand it, they were introduced after the Highlanders were suppressed and forbidden to carry their claymores.

Finally, even the chief of security at your Parliament who was a retired Mountie who shot the terrorist who killed a soldier approved Sikh males to carry their “kirpans,” which are required for wear “to fight against injustice.” This was after the attack, too

realize your case isn’t religious, but Canada has such incredible ties to Scotland that this will not be a good look. They are going to wish they hadn’t allowed such a travesty to happen in the first place.

Best wishes,

And what ended up happening in the end (link from 2018)?
Jeff McCarthy has his knife back.

On Monday, the Montreal bagpiper walked into Police Station 50 on Ste-Catherine St. E., filled out the paperwork and was handed his sgian-dubh (pronounced skee-an do).

A year and a half he waited, in anticipation of his day in court, but a few days before May 18, his lawyer, Daniel F. O’Connor, informed him the prosecutor was dropping the charges.

“He advised me I wasn’t required to go to court and that the ticket was going to be withdrawn,” McCarthy said on Thursday. “I said, ‘OK, I guess that’s a good thing.’ ...
I'd have suggested having a gathering of the pipes outside the courthouse, and have a couple of hundred pipers playing a few tunes while the court was in session...I'd imagine that the echo could be heard even indoors when you've got that level of support. :)
I wonder in the Montreal Police would have done that to a Black Watch soldier. I don't always wear a sgian-dubh when in civilian Scottish dress, but I've never had an issue with it in public. I've had a couple people ask to see it and I always say no, partly due to traditions associated with it. I've even worn a Dirk to Highland Games as well. I've never had an issue with it in uniform either. Although, I remember a member of my regiment commenting on being next to the Prime Minister while wearing one and he thought that it was notable.
I (and every other officer/ Sr NCO there that day) carried a Sgian Dubh while meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Her security didn't batt an eye.