Hi, I’m from the RCMP. Mind if I cop a feel?

I went down to the fireworks competition yesterday to see Mexico’s entry. Last time, I viewed the display from an asphalt parking lot at the foot of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. This time, I was going to go on the bridge itself, as so many other people seemed to be doing.

Once again, the crowds were massive. It was a worst-case scenario, with a U20 World Cup game just ending at the Olympic Stadium, the Carifiesta, Jazz Festival, Gay Village street festival and Saturday night summer party people all clogging the metro. Adding the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of fireworks viewers made it trying to get down there.

As I walked up to the bridge, I noticed RCMP vehicles parked at the end. The bridge is federally-owned because of some obscure bureaucratic reason that probably made sense decades ago, so the RCMP has jurisdiction here.

The problem was, they weren’t just blocking traffic. They were searching people. Looking in bags, padding the baggy pants. The usual half-assed bomb-searching stuff.

Now, I’m not the kind of gun-toting anarchist who thinks that we shouldn’t have police and that The Man is trying to oppress us. But something kinda pisses me off about a police searching people on a public road.

Is it the fact that it’s a federal bridge the reason? Or does closing it to traffic make it no longer public space? What law exactly gives police the right to search people walking on a public bridge?

(I might also point out that it’s obvious to anyone who has seen the Jacques-Cartier Bridge that the amount of explosives it would take to bring it down is far more than would fit into a knapsack, and if it’s the crowds that I was targetting, I could simply set one off in the metro, causing far more damage in a confined space.)

The display was nice (except for a technical difficulty which led to a five-minute delay just after it got started), with a good big-bang finish. But watching it from the bridge is excruciating. Three sets of bars were between me and the fireworks (had I been smart and early enough to go on the passenger walkway instead of the roadway, it would have been only one, but what’s the point of stopping traffic if everyone’s going to do that?).

Next time, I’m going to watch it again from the ground. No obstructions, and no violations of my civil rights.

Though it is kinda fun to walk across that giant bridge in the middle of the road with thousands of people and no cars.

2 thoughts on “Hi, I’m from the RCMP. Mind if I cop a feel?

  1. Fagstein Post author

    (submitted via email)

    Actually they used to explain long ago that they were searching for
    things like bottles which might get dropped from the bridge onto some
    lucky winner down below. I haven’t been on the bridge in about a year or
    two, but I don’t think they’ve reconfigured it so that things are no
    longer droppable, and certainly shards are still droppable.

    The views did used to be better on the bridge (of course you want to be
    on the pedestrian walkway. You also used to be able to climb over from
    the main structure to the walkway, but no more, I understand.)

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Fagstein » Fagstein's First Annual Montreal Fireworks Awards

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