A judge has ordered that a group with ties to the Freedom Convoy can be evicted from an Ottawa church.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Sally Gomery granted an application on Friday by the owners of St. Brigid’s in Lowertown to evict The United People of Canada from the property.
The owner, Patrick McDonald, sought the court order to enforce the eviction of the group, saying they failed to make $100,000 payments as part of a conditional sale of the church, owe $10,000 in rent and have broken heritage rules. Gomery’s ruling sided with the landlord.
“TUPOC materially breached the agreement by failing to pay deposits of $100,000 on August 10, 2022, despite two extensions of the deadline granted by the applicants,” she wrote.
The ruling is earlier than expected—Gomery told court on Monday she would not have a decision until after Sept. 27.
Gomery also ruled that TUPOC must pay $53,000 in costs to the owners of the property within 30 days.
St. Brigid’s church was conditionally sold to The United People of Canada on June 15, with the group planning to turn the historic property into an “embassy”. Documents obtained by CTV News show the sale has fallen through, and the property was back on the market as of Aug. 12.
Members of the group have insisted the eviction notice they were served was invalid, and the group was not going to be leaving the property.
McDonald’s lawyer told reporters on Sept. 2 that by the hearing this past Monday, there would be two grounds on which to argue TUPOC should be evicted: their failure to pay rent, as well as the end of the 30-day waiting period after the termination of the group’s purchase and sale agreement.
Despite the eviction notice, The United People of Canada continues to host events at the church. A Facebook post invited people to attend its weekly “Community BBQ” on Sunday.
Lawyer Saron Gebresellassi, representing the United People of Canada, argued earlier this week the group had a verbal agreement with McDonald and that he wanted to back out of the deal because of media reports about the goings on at the property.
McDonald denied there was a verbal agreement with TUPOC during cross-examination.
The church, located 1.3 kilometres from Parliament Hill, had been on the market since July 2021 and had a $5.95 million price tag.