More than 150 bikers rally in front of Province House

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A group of bikers from across the Atlantic Provinces took a unified stand against what they described as “unconstitutional treatment” by the P.E.I. government this weekend.

The Atlantic Confederation of Clubs’ (ACC) Unity Ride, which began in Amherst, N.S., ended with a rally of more than 150 bikers in front of Charlottetown’s province on Saturday.

We’re here to show everyone we’re not monsters and criminals, as some may try and convince you otherwise

Stephen Wallace, ACC chairman

ACC chairman Stephen Wallace said the rally aimed to address issues and raise awareness around biker discrimination and profiling, legislation and traffic laws while also promoting motorcycle safety.

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Members of the Gate Keepers walk up Richmond Street during a 'unity rally."

©BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN

 

Wallace said it also gave ACC members, which range from independent riders to club members, a chance to show their unity and positively support “motorcycle culture and biker lifestyles.”

“We’re here to show everyone we’re not monsters and criminals, as some may try and convince you otherwise,” said Wallace. “We’re people who live and work, raise families and get involved in our communities.

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A member of the Hells Angels from New Brunswick was among the approximately 150 bikers who were at a 'unity rally" hosted by the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs in front of Province House Saturday.

©BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN

“Together, we have a voice and we’re here to respectfully let the province know that we do not accept the proposed discriminatory laws on banning of colours, fortification of houses or loss of public government support targeted at bikers and club members.”

The ACC has been at odds with the provincial government in P.E.I. since January, when premier Wade MacLauchlan and police agencies held a news conference raising concerns about the growth of riders associated with the Hells Angels and Bacchus in P.E.I. after a Hells Angels hangaround club was opened in Charlottetown last December.

The conference saw MacLauchlan pledge to create legislation banning motorcycle club colours in bars, regulate the sale of body armor, make the construction of fortified building illegal and keep financial support from motorcycle clubs involved in illegal activities.

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A member of the Hells Angels in New Brunswick, right, and a member of the Bacchus club, left, listen as Chris Clay, vice-president of the P.E.I. NDP, speaks during a "unity rally" hosted by the Atlantic Federation of Clubs in front of Province House Saturday.

©BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN

The ACC later described the statement as fear-mongering and, in March, invited MacLauchlan to visit the club. A statement from P.E.I.’s public safety department said the province passed the invitation along to the police.

The provincial NDP has publicly supported the ACC, with leader Mike Redmond calling the government’s plan to ban colours as unconstitutional.

More than 150 bikers rally in front of Province House

RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook, who is also provincial outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG) co-ordinator, speaks with some bikers before the start of the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs "unity rally' Saturday in front of Province House.

BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN/

Although Redmond was supposed to speak at Saturday’s event, the NDP’s provincial vice president Chris Clay instead spoke.
Clay said the party backed the ACC’s in its struggle with the province and described the group as being under attack since the opening of the club.
“It’s not just discrimination against you guys, it shows how the government will aim at groups they don’t like or don’t want around,” said Clay.  “Personally, the new clubhouse is in my neighbourhood and I welcome you all. This is an attack on your freedoms and liberties.”
The rally also saw a spokesperson for the Veterans MC, which consists of retired and serving military members, say the group provides members with “an ongoing brotherhood” after their careers.
“The fact we’re wearing ‘MC Club’ simply means we’ve chosen accountability for our members,” he said. “It’s worn with pride.”

Wallace said the group would continue to raise awareness around the issue.

“Discrimination, which is happening to us through biker profiling, should not happen in Canada,” said Wallace. “It’s us today, but it could be you tomorrow.”

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Mitch MacDonald
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theguardian.pe.ca

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RCMP says more than 150 bikers co-operative at rally

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – While there were no arrests, RCMP members kept a presence during a rally of Atlantic bikers in Charlottetown this weekend.

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RCMP Cpl. Andy Cook, the provincial outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG) co-ordinator, said all members of an organized crime task force were at the Atlantic Confederation of Clubs (ACC) rally gathering intelligence while also “focusing on criminality” within the group.

 

Cook said there were no incidents at the rally, although noted that near the start of the rally RCMP noticed a number of individuals with fixed blade knives on their belts.

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