The flag of an evicted 'Embassy' flies in downtown Prince George
And how much do we spend per person on clearing snow
Alright a bit of a weird one today. First, the news:
The latest coroner’s report found 60 deaths from toxic drugs in the past year so far, the highest ever recorded. Again, none occurred in a supervised consumption site.
The Fraser Basin Council is mapping Prince George’s floodplains.
After the story of 7-Eleven closing shop, the Citizen visited the only remaining grocery/convenience store in the VLA to find out what the owner is doing to stick around.
The courts have dismissed a lawsuit from former City of Quesnel employees who were fired after they refused to get vaccinated.
With Vancouver ground to a standstill due to yesterday’s snowfall, the CBC’s Justin McElroy did a quick calculation on how much (or little) B.C.’s most populous municipality spends on snow removal per person:
And UNBC prof Joseph Shea did a quick calculation on what that looks like in prince George, which matches the numbers I have on hand:
For the record, in 2019 that was about 10 per cent of the city budget, which caused councillor Brian Skakun some concern.
What do we know about the strange flag flying over Lambda?
Last week, this Tweet came out from a group calling itself “The United People of Canada.” It shows their flag flying outside Club 1177, formerly Lambda Cabaret, formerly Serving It Right Bartender School, formerly GAIA (I’m showing my age here) in downtown Prince George.
TUPOC is better known in Ottawa, where members took up residence in a former Catholic church and started calling it “The Embassy.” Though the group denied it, people found links between TUPOC and members of the Freedom Rally that occupied the city for several weeks. They established their own private security force and were eventually evicted for failing to pay the rent and other issues. Around the same time, one of the leaders of the group was accused of cheating multiple people out of thousands of dollars.
So why is their flag flying in Prince George?
Well, TUPOC’s lawyer in that eviction case was Saron Gebresellassi, who ran for mayor of Toronto in 2018 and mayor of Campbell River, B.C. in 2022. Her campaign launch in 2022 was first announced … you know what, just read the report:
Gebresellassi’s candidacy for mayor of Campbell River was actually first announced in April in a Facebook video posted by Colin “Big Bear” Ross who was active in the Ottawa “Freedom Convoy” that occupied the city for 23 days in January and February. Ross also heads the “Big Bear Movement” described on its website as a “worldwide support network working to empower and bring hope and strength to the world.”
Earlier this year, Ross announced his intention to install candidates in all of B.C.’s municipal elections this fall in order to further the aims of “the Big Bear Movement.” He said in a Tik Tok video that the goal is to “start to change the system from within.”
”You know, it was pretty disheartening when in Ottawa there was so many of us there, not one politician spoke to us so we just need to start challenging these politicians and weed them out,” he said. “So we’re gonna start a campaign and we’re gonna take it from there.”
On April 22 while in Nelson, B.C., Ross introduced Gebreselassi in the Facebook video as someone he met at the Ottawa rallies who was visiting from Vancouver.
Gebresellassi can be seen in the video saying: “Hello patriots. I am so proud to be in Big Bear’s hometown. He is a shining light for Canada and also a knowledge keeper, a thought leader and really helping us get through this and unify.”
Anyways, she lost the race for mayor of Campbell River, receiving just 418 votes and she lost her court case in Ottawa but she apparently WON a court case in Prince George, which is where the flag comes in.
If you’re new to this story, earlier this year Lambda/Club 1177/Serving It Right made headlines for its defiance of public health measures enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19. Manager Linda Allen openly posted Facebook videos and posts stating they would not be requiring masking or gathering limitations nor would they be checking the vaccine status of people coming in. It was shut down, lost its liquor licence and just kept reopening.
Anyhew, Allen went to court to dispute some of the tickets she got and apparently won (she has lost other cases). We have not seen the reason for judgement, and while I’m curious how Northern Health lost, this is not what this post is about — it’s about why the flag is now flying.
Well, because of her stance, Allen and Lambda/Club 1177/whatever had become a gathering place for freedom convoy-type people fand her lawyer in the case was… Gebresellassi, who brought supporters from across the country with her:
Gebresellassi said the hearings last week drew a throng of supporters from as far away as Ontario where she had previously lived before moving to Vancouver Island.
While in that province, she represented The United People of Canada, a loosely associated with the Freedom Convoy in an unsuccessful bid to avoid eviction from from a former church east of downtown Ottawa.
A pair of flags with the organization's insignia now fly from the Third Avenue building that houses Club 1177.
So there we go. I’m sure there are many many many other threads to this story but I just wanted to figure out why the flag was there, you can go down your own rabbit holes on your own time.
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