Ottawa mayor advises St. Brigid’s owners to “stay a million miles away” from group with alleged convoy ties

By Alex Black

A group with suspected ties to the so-called 'Freedom Convoy'' claims it has been threatened with eviction from a church in Lowertown. 

The organization calling itself the 'United People of Canada' set up shop in St. Brigid's Church this summer, as part of a conditional offer to buy the space. The group claims to have no connection to the protest that denounced COVID-19 restrictions and the Trudeau government in February, though several members of its board have ties to the convoy movement. 

Neighbours have protested the group's presence in the community, and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told The Rob Snow Show with guest host Derick Fage on Aug. 19 he understands why, 

“I don't believe for a minute the group doesn't have ties to the convoy movement,” Watson said. “They seem sort of kooky, to be perfectly honest; calling their church an embassy and now it seems they haven't paid their rent and are being evicted.”

Watson added these are red flags that should serve as warning signals to the group who owns the church. “Stay a million miles away from these quacks, because frankly, I don't trust them.”

However, Watson said there is nothing the City of Ottawa can do to stop the sale of a private property. 

“The City doesn't have that ability, so when people are on Twitter saying, you know, “buy the property,” — well, I'm not going to buy a $5-million church that we have no use for,” he said. 

Watson noted it's up to the building owners to figure out with their lawyers how they want to proceed at this point. 

“Are they still proceeding with the sale?” I quite frankly don't understand how they could be in arrears of their rent if they're about to buy this property,” he said. “It seems all very vague and fishy.” 

Watson said he has been working with City staff to see if there are any mechanisms that could be utilized to help the proprietors of the church, but reiterates that it would be illegal for the City to stop the sale of the church.

You can listen to Watson full comments with Derick Fage on The Rob Snow Show below:

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