A B.C. man has been charged with violating the Quarantine Act after returning from an out-of-country flat earth conference, and bragging about his refusal to self-isolate during a rally in Downtown Vancouver.
Makhan Singh Parhar, 47, was arrested Monday by New Westminster police, less than a week after re-entering Canada from the U.S.
Parhar recently returned from Greenville, S.C., where he attended Flatoberfest 2020 — a one-day gathering of self-described “alternative cosmology enthusiasts.”
Even after receiving a violation ticket, Parhar continued leaving his residence, New West police said in a news release. An investigation into his behaviour was opened on Oct. 28, though Parhar has been on law enforcement’s radar for months. The flat-earth conspiracy theorist has been a mainstay at Vancouver-area protests against COVID-19 restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. He has repeatedly said the coronavirus is a hoax.
In March, the City of Delta revoked the business licence of his hot yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Delta, after Parhar flouted the B.C. ban on gatherings and made false claims about heat destroying the coronavirus.
A Delta bylaw officer visited the business and discovered a class in progress.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, later said going to a hot yoga studio is one of the worst things to do, noting that a place where people are sweating next to each other is the “perfect environment” to spread the virus.
On Sunday, Parhar boasted about thumbing his nose at the federally mandated, two-week quarantine while attending another anti-mask rally in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“It’s not really quarantine, it’s self-imprisonment,” he said, going on to argue that the order only applied to persons and “a person is a fictitious entity.”
The following morning, at about 11 a.m., Parhar was arrested. He has been charged with three counts of contravening Sec. 54(1) of the Quarantine Act, which required him to self-isolate upon re-entry into Canada.
Parhar remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in New West provincial court on Nov. 16 — precisely 14 days after his arrest.
with files from Tiffany Crawford