The Shmooze

Montreal Cabbie Can Display Religious Objects in his Cab

By Michael Kaminer

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Is a rabbi’s picture dangerous?

That’s what Montreal police seemed to imply by fining and ticketing cabbie Arieh Perecowicz, who’d racked up more than $1,000 in fines “for having pictures of his daughter and a rabbi in his cab, along with a Canadian flag, two small religious symbols and a Remembrance Day poppy,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

And after fighting the citations for nearly five years, Perecowicz yesterday emerged victorious, with the charges dropped and the chief of the Montreal Taxi Bureau conceding “that religious objects are permissible as long as they don’t constitute a security hazard or proselytizing,” the Gazette wrote. “The deal includes specific written acknowledgment by the chief of the Montreal Taxi Bureau that religious objects are permissible,” the newspaper reports.

Perecowicz, a cab driver for 44 years, got the first such ticket in 2006 – “two days after he gave a television interview criticizing the Taxi Bureau for not doing enough to crack down on the illegal transport of seniors by unlicensed cabbies,” the Gazette notes.

“My goal in pursuing my contestation of the many tickets I received was to ensure for myself and for other drivers that our freedom of religion and expression was protected,” Perecowicz said in a written statement, according to CBC.

“The City has gone a long way in recognizing the risk to our fundamental freedoms if such practices continued. I am relieved and happy to put this saga behind me and consider the settlement a victory for all Quebecers.”


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