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Thread: Quebec court orders Montreal resident to remove Greek flag

  1. #1
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    Quebec court orders Montreal resident to remove Greek flag

    Greek flag not allowed on garage door

    MONTREAL - A Quebec superior court told Theodore Antonopoulos last week that he had to remove the large Greek flag painted on his garage door.

    But the Montreal resident is considering appealing the decision. "I'll speak with my lawyer and see what's involved time-wise, money-wise," Antonopoulos said in a phone interview.

    It's been more than four years since Antonopoulos painted the blue-and-white flag on the garage door of his Montreal area home in a fit of patriotic fervour during the 2004 European soccer championships. Greece had just won a surprising victory over host Portugal.

    Antonopoulos was fined $138 by the Montreal borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro when an inspector turned up after a neighbour's complaint and ordered it removed.

    He contested the fine at the municipal court but lost in 2007. He then hired Montreal human rights lawyer Julius Grey, who argued that the bylaw involved was illegal because it infringed on Antonopoulos' right to freedom of expression.

    But in her ruling, Superior Court judge France Charbonneau wrote that the municipality had the right to set uniform standards within its jurisdiction and upheld the bylaw, which prohibits residents from installing a sign that is painted or reproduced on a building or a fence.

    Antonopoulos said he is disappointed in the ruling. And despite the flap, the flag is still there. "I'm not sick of it at all," he said.

    http://www.torontosun.com/News/Canad...5/6569786.html

  2. #2
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    This is about the uniformity of a neighbourhood. If everybody would be allowed to paint anything they want everywhere, the streets would soon look like crap! This is why this guy have no ground to stand on. It's not about his Greek flag, it's about maintaining some order in the area. He could have made a reproduction of "La Joconde" and it would be the same, therefore he can't call it discrimination or say it's about his "freedom of expression".

  3. #3
    Would that apply to the "Fleur de Lys" flag as well ???

    It is about freedom of speech.. but much more than that..

    My home, my house, my freedom, my choice.

    Next they will tell you what car to park in your driveway, clothes to wear and what language to speak, (ohh that is already done)..

    He has not broken any laws and yet we have the Superior courts involved, and why is this so ???

    P./

  4. #4
    It's not that complicated. Municipal by-laws can regulate things like signage placed on private residences, the architectural "look" of buildings, etc. The Constitution as well as the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms guarantee freedom of expression within limits that are reasonable in a free and democratic society.

    The municipality is arguing that its by-law is a reasonable limitation, the home owner is arguing the opposite.

    When there is a conflict about the interpretation or the validity of a local by-law (or a provincial or federal law or a regulation, etc.), the parties have the option to petition the superior court.

  5. #5
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    This apply to ANY kind of painting, Canada flag or Québec flag or reproductions of Van Gogh.

    One thing he could do is to ask the peoples in the area to show "their colors" the same way. If the majority agree, then the reason for this uniformity law could be lifted.

    My... My... My... Alway MY! Never others, never about other people's rights...

    Freedom of speech? Freedom of saying what? He's Greek, so what? It's possible to be proud of one's heritage without sticking it to other's faces! A small flag would have never caused any problems but, he had to paint his entire garage door! It's not about a flag, it's about disfiguring the neighbourhood with "in your face" COLORS that don't fit. Yes, a flag's colors are more than just colors but, I'm pretty certain if I would paint the front of my house with the Québec flag, some peoples would be complaining, with reason, because it would disfigure the area since all houses in my area are brown bricks.

    If the City make an exception for him, it will only open a huge can of worms. Sometimes, the good of the mass justify the limitations on the individual.

    Yes he broke some laws or he wouldn't be bothered. Bylaws are laws.

    Going to the extreme with the cloth, cars and such is usually a good example of somebody with no valid arguments beside what's within his belly-button.
    Last edited by metoo4; 08-26-2008 at 01:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    therefore he can't call it discrimination or say it's about his "freedom of expression".
    Actually not only can he do this, he is doing this. The court will decide if it agrees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Porter
    Would that apply to the "Fleur de Lys" flag as well ???
    Presumably yes.

    My home, my house, my freedom, my choice.
    Within the limits set by law, the law itself being subject to constitutional limits.

    Next they will tell you what car to park in your driveway, clothes to wear
    If such a law is adopted and it passes consitutional muster, then yes.

    and what language to speak, (ohh that is already done)
    No, the current language laws do not regulate what language one speaks.

    He has not broken any laws
    He violated a municipal by-law.

    and yet we have the Superior courts involved, and why is this so ???
    Because in a civilized society, disputes between individuals and the local governing authorities are generally settled in courts of law rather than with fists and guns.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by metoo4
    This is about the uniformity of a neighbourhood. If everybody would be allowed to paint anything they want everywhere, the streets would soon look like crap! This is why this guy have no ground to stand on. It's not about his Greek flag, it's about maintaining some order in the area. He could have made a reproduction of "La Joconde" and it would be the same, therefore he can't call it discrimination or say it's about his "freedom of expression".
    Hello Metoo4,

    Well, this may be the first time we disagree. I cannot see what any owner does to his house that does not truly interfere with the ability of others to live freely and safely is in any way the business of the courts. What does a Greek flag do to others? Unless the courts are going to impose these ethnic and nationalist censorship principles on everyone, meaning in part also eliminating any other flag symbol, then they are being very biased. And what legitimacy does the idea of neighborhood uniformity have anyway? How far should that be taken if it is legitimate? I don't see the sense in this ruling. Being proud of your heritage should not be a civil offense, whether it's garish or not.

    Perplexed,

    Korbel
    Last edited by korbel; 08-26-2008 at 02:06 PM.
    Korbie: of the Boston Red Sox Nation...the NBA Champion Boston Celtics Pride...and...the New England Patriots Dynasty!

  8. #8

    Smile Freedom of Speech

    Freedom of speech is not without limits. Classic example of yelling fire in a dark crowded theatre comes to mind.

    Basically the flag in question was painted in 2004 after Greece won an international soccer tournament. The initial intent was to celebrate. Fair enough, a temporary diversion that would be tolerated within reasonable bounds. Similar to horn-honking or other expressions of joy that are tolerated for a short period of time. No fairminded person would argue that a 2004 soccer victory should allow him to honk his car horn ad infinitum. Yet this seems to be the case here.

    Such displays tend to depreciate the value of surrounding properties. Why should the owners bear such a financial penalty? They bought and maintained their properties in good faith without causing harm to the plaintiff's property.

    BTW - municipal / arrondisement bylaws on the Plateau Mt.Royal are stricter and more limiting. Try painting the spiral staircases in a non-approved colour.
    LISA'S FRIEND

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Korbel
    Hello Metoo4,

    Well, this may be the first time we disagree.
    Well, rest assured, I don't think we disagree!

    It's about the uniformity of the area. Where I live, they already have a bylaw stating all new houses must, depending the sectors, have the facade, if not facade and sides, made of bricks. Some sectors already mandates the entire house to be covered in stone and it even specify the type of stone!

    It's the same thing about grass height. Some peoples like "au naturel" and would never mow the lawn. What does it change to my neighbor if my lawn is 2 feet high? If it's free of nocive weeds, It won't make him less safe or restrict his freedom to look elsewhere! Still, there are bylaws regulating grass height.

    As I said, if everybody agree to allow painting a country/province/state's flag on the garage door in this area, then the problem doesn't exist anymore and it could even give some "cachet" to the area! But as long as there's only one person doing so, it's disfiguring the look of the neighborhood. He could have found an easier, friendlier way to get it accepted by trying to rally his neighbor to the idea but, the way he choose is, in my opinion, wrong, and should be denied.

    He's not told to shut-up about his convictions, he's only told that yelling isn't acceptable. That's exactly what his flag-garage-door is doing, yelling. Telling somebody to stop yelling, whatever the message he's trying to get across, whatever he's saying something important (his nationality) or not (he likes Froot-loops), this isn't limiting his freedom of speech, it's only asking him to respect those around him.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maria Divina
    I just don't know if every where in the world exist such reglementations as existing in Québec.. You cannot even imagine what is prohibited to do in/around your own house here...
    Hello Divine Maria,

    I have never heard of such proscribed visual restrictions in the U.S. There are of course housing developments built on a theme by development proprietors. But individually built houses are based on safety codes not proscribed aesthetics. These housing restrictions in Quebec seem to border on visual tyranny in my view.

    Chilling,

    Korbel
    Korbie: of the Boston Red Sox Nation...the NBA Champion Boston Celtics Pride...and...the New England Patriots Dynasty!

  11. #11
    As a matter of fact, there are towns in New Hampshire that limit the color of your house to White or an accepted shade of Yellow or Brown. They are considered historical districts and even the architecture needs to conform. The towns will tell you, if you don't like the rules, don't move here. This exists in some areas all over the US and is not just limited to Quebec.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mazingerz
    Je trouves que tu exagères pas mal dans tes propos récemment
    Je me demande combien de gens ici seraient d'accord avec M. Drapeau Grec si celui ci était Canadien Oui, un beau drapeau du Canada au lieu d'un drapeau de la Grèce sur sa porte de garage! Tant qu'à y être, on pourrait peindre un gros swastika aussi - ça n'a pas toujours été le symbole des Nazis (et même si on était adepte d'Hitler, c'est tout à fait légal en autant qu'on ne fasse pas mal à personne.) Moi, perso, si j'avais à peindre une porte de garage j'y peindrais Les demoiselles d'Avignon. J'ai déjà essayé sur une toile mais j'ai manqué de place. Ça c'est de l'art au moins! Ou encore, mon chat Charlot. C'est le plus beau chat du monde, et si les autres n'étaient pas d'accord, ils n'auraient qu'à regarder LEUR porte de garage au lieu de se mêler de la mienne. Oh, non, j'ai une meilleure idée! Je peindrais une grosse banane habillée d'un condom rose, sur fond bleu poudre, et j'intitulerais mon oeuvre: Drapeau de la République des Cinglés. Les voisins seraient pas contents? Eh, bien, qu'ils s'imaginent leur propre pays, où les portes de garages doivent ressembler à des portes de garage, en couleur unie s-v-p (et de la même couleur que la porte d'entrée!), sinon, sinon, on vous déporte en Grèce!

    Alice
    If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? - Alice in Wonderland

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    Quote Originally Posted by mazingerz
    Moi personnellement je pourrais comprendre si la peinture représenterait un hollocoste, une incitation à la violence, au racisme ou au terrorisme. Exemple mentionné ci-dessus: un drapeau nazi. Ça là dessus j'aurais été d'accord à ce qu'il soit incité à l'oter. Mais un drapeau de son pays. Qu'est-ce que ça change dans notre vie? Strictement rien.
    Mazingerz,

    M. Porte-de-garage-swastika pourrait dire qu'il pratique l'hindouisme, et que sa porte de garage ne fait que représenter un symbole de sa religion - il ne fait donc que pratiquer son droit de libre expression (et même s'il était Nazi il pourrait dire: "désolé, mais c'est écrit 'liberté de pensée' dans l'article 2b de la Charte des droits et libertés..."). C'est bien l'argument de M. Drapeau-grec, non? Si les symboles nationaux sont permis (un drapeau par exemple, supposant que M. Drapeau-grec gagne sa cause en Cour supérieure), pourquoi j'aurais pas le droit d'y peindre un symbole religieux, ou encore un symbole représentant mon affiliation sexuelle (un drapeau arc-en-ciel tant qu'à y être), ou encore, le drapeau du pays imaginaire de mon choix (j'y crois à ce pays - liberté de croyance! Encore l'article 2b)? Le problème n'est pas que le dessin en soit soit dérangeant, c'est que c'est dérangeant pour ceux dont la valeur de la maison dépend non seulement de l'apparence de LEUR maison, mais aussi de l'apparence du quartier. Le problème est aussi qu'une fois qu'on permet le drapeau grec, on n'a plus d'argument contre le swastika, le drapeau arc-en-ciel, ou le drapeau de la République des Cinglés, puisque l'argument de base est fondé sur la Charte, qui garantie entre autres la liberté de pensée, de croyance, de conscience et de religion. Et de toute façon, les voisins de M. Drapeau-grec devaient être dérangés, puisqu'ils s'en sont plaints à leurs élus, en pointant précisément au code municipal - la loi de la collectivité si on peut dire - qui dit noir sur blanc que les portes de garages ne peuvent servir de toiles pour l'épanouissement de la créativité des citoyens (ok, peut-être pas en ces termes), sinon, on reviendrait à la République des Cinglés. Ça ne te dérange peut-être pas un drapeau grec, mais penses à toutes ces autres représentations de l'identité qui pourraient apparaître sur une porte de garage près de chez toi une fois le précédent établis. Après ça ne viens pas te plaindre quand ton voisin sera plus original que moi, et qu'au lieu de peindre une banane habillée d'un joli condom rose, il peindra un beau gros phallus pour exprimer son identité masculine, comme M. Drapeau-grec exprimait son identité nationale.

    Alice
    If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? - Alice in Wonderland

  14. #14

    ???????????

    Bottom line..........

    he's getting hosed by his lawyer to keep fighting for what he believes in blah blah blah = $$$$ to the guy

    if this was your neighbour, at this point you would be embarrased

    in the end, the dummy is going to take it down someday, yes?

    and I can't fuckin' believe all the resources that have been wasted from the legal sytem all for a guys pride that has crossed to the point where he has to go on with this cuz he's too embarrased to stop

    does he have a wife? does he STILL have a wife ?

  15. #15
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    ARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

    The whole thing have nothing to do with the flag!!!! It's about THE COLORS OF HIS GARAGE DOOR that are standing-out in the neighborhood! This is about UNIFORMITY and have no relations whatsoever with free speech. He could have painted anything he wanted, even a bright red background full of canary-yellow/green dots and it would be the same thing. Because it's a flag doesn't change the fact it stand-out from the area and that's what the City want to prevent.

    I repeat again, if all garage doors in his neighborhood would bare a flag, it would be no problems but now, the majority doesn't and, in any democracy, the majority decides of what's acceptable. He could have went with the route of having the bylaw changed by having the neighbors agree with him but, he selected the "free-speech" avenue and, in my opinion, this should be denied.

    As I said before, allowing this guy to keep his flag would open the way for abuses. What if your neighbor who would paint his house pink/canary with green dots? You wouldn't mind?

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