Judge approves United Peoples of Canada deportation order

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The United People of Canada, a controversial group that has occupied the former St. Brigid’s Church for three months, was ordered out of the historic building in Lowertown by an Ottawa judge.

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In a decision released Friday, Judge Sally Gomery granted the landlord’s request to terminate the lease of the United People of Canada (TUPOC), a group linked to the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ that besieged downtown Ottawa. at the beginning of this year.

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She said the terms of the lease were set out in the purchase and sale agreement: it included monthly rent, starting June 13, and a deposit due in August.

“TUPOC materially breached the agreement by failing to make installment payments of $100,000 on August 10, 2022, despite two extensions of time granted by the plaintiffs,” Gomery said in its decision, which also awarded $58,000 of costs to the owner, Patrick McDonald.

TUPOC, she said, is not entitled to any redress for the consequences of its actions since it has not returned the money it was supposed to pay under the agreement. “He didn’t come to court with clean hands,” Gomery said.

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McDonald had been trying to evict TUPOC from the disused church site since mid-August, when he dispatched a bailiff to issue an eviction notice.

According to evidence presented in court, TUPOC Director William Komer signed an agreement to purchase the church and adjacent buildings for $5.95 million. The deal included a provision that allowed TUPOC to lease the church for $5,000 per month until the purchase was finalized.

McDonald said the group failed to pay two months’ rent. McDonald testified that he expected to receive the first rent check in mid-June, but did not receive it until July 24 after repeatedly asking Komer for the money. Additionally, McDonald said, TUPOC failed to pay a $100,000 deposit by the agreed August 10 deadline.

In an affidavit, Komer claimed McDonald told him the first rent payment was not due until July 15, a month after the group moved into the church.

In court, TUPOC attorney Saron Gebresellassi argued that his client had not materially breached the agreement to purchase the building, which meant it was still valid.

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