Ottawa Mayor Says Quebec ‘Biker Gang’ Held Intersection During Freedom Convoy Protest

Ottawa Mayor Says Quebec ‘Biker Gang’ Held Intersection During Freedom Convoy Protest
A dance party being held at the intersection of Rideau and Sussex St. in Ottawa on Feb. 6, 2022, during the Freedom Convoy protest. (Noé Chartier/The Epoch Times)
Noé Chartier
10/18/2022
Updated:
10/20/2022

A group of criminal bikers from Quebec were occupying an intersection of downtown Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy protest last winter, the city mayor claimed before the Public Order Emergency Commission on Tuesday.

“My understanding, because I was briefed on this, was that the chief indicated there were criminal elements I believe were involved with the biker gang community in Quebec, and they were blockading the corner of Rideau, Wellington, Sussex, and Colonel By,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told the commission.

“I would not want to send a friend or foe into that red zone or into the area where the Quebec biker group was,” Watson said about enforcing traffic by-laws.

The commission was established by law after the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to deal with cross-country protests and blockades calling for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Along with testimony being heard from stakeholders in the events, the commission is also releasing internal communications from government officials.

A transcript of a call involving then-Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Chief Peter Sloly and federal ministers Marco Mendicino and Bill Blair, respectively in charge of public safety and emergency preparedness, was presented during the hearing on Oct. 18 and referred to Watson’s claim.

“Public safety risk is higher on RIDEAU. It’s being contained by a QC criminal organization and they are radicalized elements as well,” said Sloly.

The idea of a “Quebec contingent” being present at that location was also brought forward by federal government counsel Andre Gonzalez on Oct. 18 during the testimony of Ottawa City Manager Steve Kanellakos.

“Are you aware that the Rideau and Sussex intersection was considered a more volatile higher risk area?” asked Gonzalez.

“Yes. Chief Sloly fully briefed us on that,” replied Kanellakos.

Gonzalez said “Some areas had greater potential for violence, greater risk of weapons being present,” in reference to that intersection.

The Epoch Times has attempted to verify that claim with different police services that were involved during the protest.

The OPS said it wouldn’t comment on convoy-related matters while the inquiry is ongoing and the Sûreté du Québec deferred to the OPS.

The RCMP did not respond by publication time.

Dance parties with DJs and a powerful sound system were the most prominent features of the Rideau/Sussex intersection during the Freedom Convoy protest.

Freedom Convoy representatives told The Epoch Times they are unfamiliar with the claim of biker gang involvement.

“Not sure what this is about,” says lawyer Keith Wilson, associated with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

Tom Marazzo, who was spokesperson for the convoy, says he’s not familiar with the issue.

The claim about “biker gang” involvement in the protest in Ottawa doesn’t appear to have been cited previously. This is while a number of claims about the presence of firearms or other nefarious activities at the protest site in Ottawa have been alleged, but were proven to be false.

On multiple occasions, politicians from different levels of government, including Mendicino, claimed protesters had been involved in an arson in a building in Ottawa, but police later said the incident wasn’t related to the protests. Mendicino also claimed that there were “threats of rape” that led to charges, but this wasn’t substantiated.
The Toronto Star reported loaded firearms had been found by police during the protest clearing operation, yet this was disproved by OPS interim chief Steve Bell.

Farfadaas

There was one known Quebec contingent involved in the Freedom Convoy protest. They were staged on the Gatineau side, and go by the name “Farfadaas,” a group advocating against COVID-19 restrictions.

OPP Intelligence Bureau chief Pat Morris told the commission on Oct. 19 that the Farfadaas was present at the Rideau/Sussex intersection, but said he was told by Sûreté du Québec that the group was not violent.

Farfadaas organizer Steeve Charland was arrested and charged with mischief and counselling to commit the offence of mischief a week after the police operation cleared the protest in mid-February. Charland was released on March 21 on a $22,000 bond.
The anti-COVID-restrictions group is known for wearing leather vests similar to those worn in biker clubs. According to online media La Presse in February, an element linked to biker gangs was displeased about this vest-wearing practice by Farfadaas.

“I myself was approached by someone from that crowd, who was linked to these groups, who told me it would be better if I stopped wearing my vest,” former Farfadaas member Patrick Dupuis told La Presse.

Noé Chartier is a senior reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times. Twitter: @NChartierET
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