Canadian Anti-Hate Network
The sale of a nearly $6 million church in Ottawa to The United People Of Canada (TUPOC) may have hit a snag. Reports and video taken Wednesday evening show an attempt by the property owner to evict the group – and TUPOC volunteers rebuffing them.
According to a volunteer talking to a live streamer from the ground, a bailiff arrived on the site at around 4 pm and instructed people in the church to leave the premises for non-payment of rent.
The bailiff was also reportedly accompanied by a locksmith.
Police were on-site and multiple parties speaking from the church said that law enforcement considered it to be a civil problem over rent payments – their presence would only be to keep the peace.
One of TUPOC’s three directors, William Komer, disagreed with the sentiment when reached for comment.
Komer says it was his "understanding that Ottawa police are investigating the property owner and his agent for what happened last night and for that reason I do not think of it as a civil matter."
He added that they were considering a “private prosecution” pending the outcome of the investigation.
TUPOC also released a statement signed by Komer on the matter.
“We are currently awaiting the results of the Ottawa Police Service investigation, and it is our understanding that charges may be laid against the property owners and/or their agent(s),” TUPOC wrote on its Facebook page.
“Our Private Prosecution Team is on standby, and prepared to take appropriate legal action if necessary, to ensure that the Rule of Law is upheld, if the Ottawa Police Service is unable or unwilling to enforce the Trespass to Property Act and the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to what we understand to be offences committed against The United People of Canada this evening by the property owners and/or their agent(s).
“We understand these to be hate-motivated offences against The United People Of Canada.”
News Talk 580 CFRA host Andrew Pinsent, who was on the scene during much of the evening, wrote on Twitter that the bailiff and the locksmith had said they would return later in the night.
This led to a call going out on social media to TUPOC supporters. A few live streamers arrived, but there were no further incidents reported through the evening.
Billing itself as a “diverse, intergenerational non-governmental organization” the TUPOC captured media attention after the controversial announcement of its plan to purchase Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, housed in a deconsecrated church in Ottawa’s Lowertown neighbourhood.
While TUPOC covered the building’s doors in red paint and hung banners with their logo, a white tree with branches and roots extending outward, local community organizations voiced concern about the project – and its ties to the self-dubbed “freedom movement” and the blockade protests that snarled Ottawa’s streets in February.
A recent postering campaign in the neighbourhood read "St. Brigid's belongs to our community not to the convoy," and contained a URL leading to a petition against the purchase.
The organization denies any substantial connection to the “convoy” protests, though our own reporting found that all three directors voiced support for the action. For his part, Komer told media he was part of a documentary crew documenting the convoy, while Kimberly Ward served as a “spiritual advisor” to the husband of convoy organizer Tamera Lich, Dwayne. Dwayne’s own social media accounts have shown him assisting in painting the church and sporting often wearing TUPOC branded clothing.
The final board member, Diane Nolan, made numerous public social media posts offering support for the convoy before, during, and after the blockades were dismantled. This includes sharing multiple press conferences and interviews given by Tamara Lich.
Other posts to her personal Facebook page include a podcast episode titled “How to Avoid the Mark of the Beast,” which discussed plans by the “New World Order” to integrate technology into people.
The source of funding for the multi-million dollar purchase was reportedly being generated from a number of sources including what Komer called “community bonds” and at least one wealthy benefactor.
Before the recent purchase, Saint Brigid’s served as an arts centre, even housing a pub in the basement, after being purchased and restored by members of Ottawa’s Irish community. An article in the Irish Times by the former owner states the church was also the site of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s confirmation as a child.
This story is developing and will be updated accordingly.