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Old 07-08-12, 09:05 AM   #1
sippy
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Default Montreal Busker Taken Down by Police

Here's an article you may have seen popping up around the internet of a Montreal Busker who was taken down by police midshow. Police claim he was being combative and warned several times during the week to move:

http://www.openfile.ca/montreal/stor...new-city-rules

This Busker had worked the same spot for 30 years. Was he right in resisting arrest? No. Was he right for performing there after cops asked him to move? No (it says that right in your permit). Do I advocate his actions? No.

But I do find it deplorable that the city of Montreal changed the bylaw mid season after he had already purchased his permit and took away his rights to work a spot on city property he had worked for 30 years! That's not right! While I don't agree with the actions he took, I also find the actions of the police to be far beyond "reasonable force" as they try to take him from behind when he's posing for a picture and attempt to pin him. When he escapes and holds his hands up, they attempt again to pin him down. Completely unreasonable actions by the Montreal Police.
The business owners complained about his presence, but after 30 years at the same spot, if that district is any type of shopping destination it's likely BECAUSE of Buskers like this guy providing entertainment and a draw for locals and tourists. Just because you open a store, doesn't mean customers will show up! It's whether the area has a reasonable draw of culture and programming to offer them more than draining their wallets.
I'm sure this will get mixed reactions from people, but I view it through the lens of being an extreme scenario of a performer who has made his living in the same spot for 30 years being told he no longer has a right to that spot. It's city property, and while I respect and follow bylaws, I don't always agree with them (especially when it pushes a seasoned Busker who had a big part in creating the draw of an area out of his home pitch).
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Old 07-08-12, 02:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sippy View Post
But I do find it deplorable that the city of Montreal changed the bylaw mid season after he had already purchased his permit and took away his rights to work a spot on city property he had worked for 30 years! That's not right!
It sounds like buskers need to organize in Montreal and fight back against regulation in the first place. In the U.S., of course we have the First Amendment, so we can perform as long as we don't sell things (which requires a permit). Sure, some cities such as Santa Monica have a permit system, but there are loopholes that allow at least one free unlicensed place to play in any given town. After all there have been 4 Supreme Court rulings attesting to our right to perform as a matter of free speech.

Montreal, of course, is very different, but I see no reason why buskers can't get together and challenge the busking laws there. Surely, Canada has some similar free speech protection in its constitution, assuming it's not overridden by some strange Quebec laws...
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Old 07-08-12, 02:12 PM   #3
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Hey "circusboy" go get 'em and prove how good you are at performing and telling the police they are wrong so you'll do what you want to
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Old 07-08-12, 03:35 PM   #4
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I honestly don't understand your antagonism to this subject, Peter.
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Old 07-09-12, 02:06 PM   #5
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I honestly don't understand your antagonism to this subject, Peter.
You would if you had seen the vile name calling private messages he sent me, telling me that I am too old to be a busker and even questioned my sexual orientation. He did the one thing he shouldn't have done. He really pissed me off. He is a young kid who has no idea of working the streets like most of us here do and when we question him about his experience he sends messages referring to the profession of my mother and many other things. Not once, But I have had THREE such private messages from him.

Hope that helps yhou understand my comments on the subject
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Old 07-09-12, 03:10 PM   #6
jeep caillouet
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They did the same thing to us street performers in Key West. Well bought permits from the city,and mid way through the changed some of the rules( made us by insurance) by a certain date or our perment was invalid. No one has been arrested .
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Old 07-17-12, 01:39 PM   #7
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Default The bigger picture

2 years ago, we created a Facebook group to support the Old Montreal balloon twisters who were ousted from the Old Montreal. The rights of other entertainers were curtailed too. Through protests and representations with politicians, rules were loosened so performers and balloon twisters were able to regain their "privileges". At that time, we learned from insider information that the merchants' association actually wanted to eliminate all musicians and street entertainers from the Old Montreal.
Last year was somehow a respite, bad but somehow liveable.

This year the onslaughts have been fierce, Stephen Moore's scandalous arrest in the middle of his show by 6 policemen piled up on him and punching him for a ticket they would anyway send him by mail is one of the highlights, but just one fact in a bitter fight for the right to perform in the Old Montreal.

The stated aim for the middle term is to eliminate all public entertainers from the Place Jacques-Cartier and the Old Montreal. This season, the merchant's association's plan was for a few paid entertainers dressed in medieval attire for a few short shows per day, no musicians at all but small speakers set on posts with soft musac, no balloon twisters and no other performers or entertainers of any kind. Only one of the Old Montreal's usual entertainers was approached for this. I take it that he refused.

The City deemed the change too drastic, that it would rise too many protests from the population, so they decided to retake the management of the public animation for this year, established a very strict programming with stringent rules and heavy-handed enforcement rules. Now the animation must stop a 9.00pm sharp although the sun has not set, 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The ending time will be extended till 11pm every night for the 2 weeks that are the construction's workers and the general population's vacation weeks. These rules are in action till October 14th, more or less until the end of the workable season in this northern climate.

Many entertainers have not shown up this season, other decided to confront the authorities and to fight them in the courts and in the public opinion.

The aim of the authorities remains the same as it has been for years: to diminish public entertainment and eventually eliminate it totally. Such plan seems set to spoliate Montrealers and tourists alike from one of their favorite recreational areas and their historic and cultural patrimony.

Thus we reactivated the group. I have put all the media links I could find both in English and in French about this affair, but have yet to translate the main papers I wrote about this event and the whole picture. But you get a general idea.

You are welcome and invited to share this information and these links, "please share if you care", we need all the help we can get to shed light on the situation and alert public opinion.

The name of the group is : "Les amis des amuseurs publics du Vieux-Montréal". Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/121100844592299/

Last edited by spacec4t; 07-17-12 at 01:55 PM. Reason: precisions ans mistakes
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