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'COVID doesn’t exist': B.C. man arrested following 'flat earth convention' for breaking Quarantine Act

"Are Canadian [doctors] cowards for not speaking up, or just plain ignorant?"
Mak Parhar, centre, had a "great time" at Flatoberfest in Greenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24, but he's now in police custody for refusing to comply with requirements to self-isolate under the Quarantine Act. Photo: Mak Parhar / Facebook

A Metro Vancouver man has been charged under the Quarantine Act after refusing to self-isolate upon his return from a flat Earth conference in the United States.

Mak Singh Parhar, 47, has been charged with three counts of contravening a section of the Quarantine Act, which requires him to self-isolate for 14 days upon re-entry into Canada. Parhar attended Flatoberfest 2020 on Oct. 24 in Greenville, South Carolina, an event for people who believe the Earth is flat.

In a post on his personal Facebook page, Parhar shares an image of himself "hanging out with two out of the three pioneers of [flat earth] activism" and adds that the duo inspired him to "start handing out red pills"--a reference to the 1999 film The Matrix. 

Hanging out with two out of the three pioneers of FE Activism that inspired me to start handing out red pills. Shootout...

Posted by Mak Parhar on Sunday, October 25, 2020

On Oct. 28, New Westminster Police Department officers began investigating Quarantine Act violations of a resident who had recently re-entered Canada from the United States.

“Despite being reminded of the federal legislation that requires travellers to self-isolate under the Quarantine Act, and receiving a violation ticket, Makhan Singh Parhar refused to comply and continued leaving his residence,” said a press release from the police department. “On Nov. 2, 2020 at approximately 11 p.m., the New Westminster police arrested Makhan Singh Parhar for repeated violations under the Quarantine Act.”

According to New Westminster police, Parhar is being held in custody.

“Our priority is the safety of New Westminster residents,” police spokesperson Sgt. Sanjay Kumar said in a news release. “Violations of the Quarantine Act put others at risk. Travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms. This is something we take very seriously.”

Previously, Parhar had his North Delta yoga studio's license suspended after not following COVID-19 emergency protocols; he claimed that "this supposed virus cannot survive in the heat" and encouraged people to visit the studio and take classes. The post immediately set off a firestorm on social media with numerous complaints lodged with the City of Delta’s bylaw enforcement department.

Now, a notice on the website for Bikram Yoga Delta reads: “Unfortunately we are PERMANENTLY closed.” 

On his Facebook Page, Parhar shares numerous posts that deny the danger of COVID-19, and in one post he asks, "Are Canadian [doctors] cowards for not speaking up, or just plain ignorant?"

Posted by Mak Parhar on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In addition to stating that the public doesn't need to wear a facial covering on B.C. transit, Parhar stresses that "no one should be wearing a mask" in a post. 

If you don't want to wear a mask on the bus or skytrain, you don't have to. And no one should be wearing a mask.

Posted by Mak Parhar on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Parhar also belongs to the Flat Earth Vancouver Facebook group, where one of his supporters writes in a post that he's been "unlawfully kidnapped" following the flat earth convention. 

On Nov. 1, Parhar attended a rally in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he was introduced as a “no new-normal, anti-lockdown warrior.” During an eight-minute speech, he told a small crowd that he’d attended a “gathering of flat earth truthers,” had taken off his mask on flights to and from the United States and had “rattled” a border guard when he said he wasn’t going to comply and fill out a federal government quarantine form upon on his arrival back in Canada.

During his speech, Parhar said “people die all the time,” but they’re not dying of COVID because “COVID doesn’t exist.”

--With additional reporting from Elana Shepert/Vancouver Is Awesome and files from the Delta Optimist

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