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Police target Gatineau Park nudists

Police target Gatineau Park nudists

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'People can go elsewhere or risk criminal charges' officer says
MRC des Collines regional police have said they will no longer allow nudity in an area of Gatineau Park that has been frequented by naturists for decades.

Following the arrest of five men on Sept 21, police released a statement noting they had received several complaints about naturists near Trail 36 at Meech Lake.

"Obviously, this type of behaviour attracts other individuals who masturbate and intimidate users," the release states. "Therefore in order to deal with this problem, the police, NCC [National Capital Commission] and the Prosecutor's office joined forces in order to eliminate this practice, which makes the area unattractive."

The five men arrested were between the ages of 38 and 70, hailing from Ottawa, Arnprior and Vancouver. The area near Meech Lake and O'Brien Beach parking lot is a well-known nudist spot for both gays and straights.

Martin Fournel, spokesperson for MRC des Collines police, says that for now police are not charging nudists, but they will next summer.

"In 2012, nudity in Gatineau Park will not be tolerated. Anyone caught in the nude in the park will be arrested and charged," Fournel says, adding that one of the men was arrested because he was hiking on a trail wearing only a backpack and running shoes.

Fournel says that although the cases are unrelated, police became concerned following the murder of 18-year-old Valérie Leblanc, whose battered and burned body was found in the woods behind a Gatineau college on Aug 23.

"Gatineau Park is for everyone, including families, children. It's a problem when 90 percent of the nudity complaints we get are about men. We have people walking around and masturbating in front of people. We take this serious because some women were harassed, and we're not going to wait for something else to happen," he says.

Stéphane Deschênes, a spokesperson for the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN), says naturism is not about masturbating.

"If every time a crime happens in a location and we shut it down, we wouldn't have many places left," he says. "I'm sure that there's perverts on beaches where people wear bathing suits, as well. They're targeting the wrong people."

He says being nude in a public place is not considered an indecent act, according to Section 174 of Canada's Criminal Code.

"A locker room is a public place, but it is accepted that you can be nude there," says Deschênes, who is also the owner of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in East Gwillimbury, Ontario. "Meech Lake has a long tradition of nude use going back a century. Anyone who is going there is looking for a place where they can be safely nude; we're not looking for public beaches. Is it fair that there are all these places and there are none available for us?"

Although NCC officers are not authorized to fine people for nudity, they have asked police to kick naturists out. Fournel says the police haven't decided whether small fines or criminal charges will be doled out next year.

"As far as fines or charges go, we could try to prosecute under Section 174," he says. "We work with the NCC and Crown. They said they would help. It's an old problem. People can go elsewhere or risk criminal charges."

A regular user of Gatineau Park told Xtra that police questioned him last summer. Michael, who prefers not to give his full name, was sitting in his car with a friend when an Ottawa police car parked nearby and its headlights were shone in his front window.

Michael says he approached the police when they didn't turn off their lights. "They asked me what we were doing," he says. "I said we thought it was a nice night and that we parked there so we could eat."

He said police then took down their names, told them theft, assault and prostitution were rampant in the area and asked them to leave for their own safety.

Xtra used an Ottawa police crime-mapping tool with the assistance of a police media spokesperson and found no incidents of prostitution, theft or assault in the area where Michael was questioned.

"They say there's crime and there was nothing. I think they were using scare tactics to get gay men out of there," says Michael.




Comments

oops! wrong solution
If "theft, assault and prostitution" or "people walking around and masturbating" are "rampant" then by all means arrest the people doing those things! That is not naturist, which by formal definition, is about "harmony with nature" and respecting others and the environment. Naturist families epitomize the values that natural areas like Gatineau Park are established to promote. The police are mistakenly labeling perverts as naturists. The nude people peacefully enjoying nature naturally and teaching their children about living simply and naturally in harmony with nature are naturists. The thieves, aggressors, prostitutes and sex offenders are nakedly breaking laws. Big difference. Police "solution" needs more clear thinking.
Police need the help of naturists
Dedicated naturists don't tolerate masturbating and would be the first to call in the police and even take movies of the individual as evidence, as long as we are not harrassed ourselves by the same police. We are not the problem, unless we don't help. I would love to nail these masturbating perverts to protect our naturist community standards of good behavior. Are the police brave enough to work with the beach users? Will local naturists be brave enough to offer their help? Although I know not all nude people are naturists, following naturist concepts, try to think about how you can work together in a civilized way to eliminate the complaints the police are getting. I've helped remove at least one individual from our beach in Toronto last year. They are abusing the beach and the people there. Get rid of them for everyones sake.
Already dealt with?
I thought that nudists at Meech Lake won a court battle by proving that nudism had been practiced there for over 100 years and thus set an historic precedent ( like having access across someone else's property after non-interrupted use over so many years )? If this was in Europe or Australia nobody would give a rat's arse!
Legal Outcome
It will be interesting to see what a court of law decides in this case. It takes the approval of the Attorney General to lay a charge of public nudity, and usually this approval is not given if a lewd act is not involved. There was a man in Orilla Ontario who would walk a local trail in the nude, and was eventually arrested. However he was cleared by a court of law who ruled that ''nude is not lewd''. If these 5 nudists are also cleared by a judge, what strategy/scare tactic will the MRC des collines police adapt for 2012? They wont be able to arrest nudists as they are so eager to do...
Any real nudists here
Any real nudists here ? Nudistkiss com I would like to recommend you to the world's best and largest nudist dating site for world wide nudists , naturists and naked people to share nude photos and experiences and chat with real nudists Lots of fun on nudistkiss com
Scrap the anti-gay NCC
When will Ottawa gays have enough of NCC abuse??? This follows the recent pattern in Ottawa of severe anti-gay discrimination by the NCC. Trying to connect a murder many miles away with gay nudism at Meech Lke is pathetic and is nothing more than old school hate speech by the authorities. It's time to scrap the NCC. The NCC has become the enemy of those who pay their wages. Ottawa gays need to start demonstrating outside NCC head quarters. The NCC hates you and won't hesitate to attack you because you're gay.
Women like being naked at Meech Lake too
I'm a woman who has really enjoyed swimming, picnicking and hanging out at the naked section of Meech Lake. Makes me sad that people are being charged
Misunderstanding
The MRC des Collines police force will charge the five (5) individual arrested in september 2011. Nudity is not tolerated anymore in the Gatineau Park. But obviously, because it's September ww will not arrest to many people. But we can assume that in 2012 we will arrest more. That was the message, and not that we are TOLERATING until 2012. Martin Fournel Spokesperson MRC des Collines Police
Criminal Code
Clearly, Mr. Deschenes interprets s.174 of the Criminal Code differently, since it explicitly states that public nudity is an offence. "174. (1) Every one who, without lawful excuse, (a) is nude in a public place, or (b) is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. Nude (2) For the purposes of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order. Consent of Attorney General (3) No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General."
cool
If you are looking to try something new, the clothes free lifestyle could be your answer to meeting new nudist friends who look just like everyone. Naturistmingle com is the best choice for you! Nothing wrong with being naked as long as you enjoy it and can handle it. We are all born that way!
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