A judge has ordered the evacuation of a group with ties to the Freedom Caravan from a church in Ottawa.
Ontario Supreme Court Judge Sally Gomery granted a request Friday by the owners of St Brigid in Lourtown to evict the United Canadian people from the property.
The owner, Patrick MacDonald, sought a court order to enforce the group’s eviction, saying they had failed to pay $100,000 as part of a conditional sale of the church, owed $10,000 in rent and breached heritage rules. Gomeri rule sided with the owner.
“TUPOC materially violated the agreement by not paying the $100,000 deposit on August 10, 2022, despite twice extending the deadline given to applicants,” she wrote.
The verdict came earlier than expected – Gomri told the court on Monday she would not make a decision until after September 27.
Gomery also ruled that TUPOC must pay $53,000 in costs to property owners within 30 days.
St Brigid’s Church was conditionally sold to the “United People of Canada” on June 15, with the group planning to convert the historic property into an “embassy.” Documents obtained by CTV News show that the sale has faltered, and the property is back on the market as of August 12.
The group members insisted that the eviction notice they were given was invalid, and that the group would not leave the property.
McDonald’s attorney told reporters on September 2 that by last Monday’s hearing, there will be two reasons to defend that TUPOC should be evicted: the non-payment of rent, as well as the expiration of the 30-day waiting period following the termination of the group’s sale and purchase agreement.
Despite the eviction notice, The United People of Canada continues to host events at the church. A Facebook post invited people to attend the weekly “community barbecue” on Sunday.
Attorney Saron Gebrselassie, who represents the United Canadian People, argued earlier this week that the group had a verbal agreement with McDonald and that he wanted to back out of the deal due to media reports about what was going on at the property.
MacDonald denied having a verbal agreement with TUPOC during cross-examination.
The church, located 1.3 kilometers from Parliament House, has been on the market since July 2021 and had a price tag of $5.95 million.