With a heavy police presence in the streets, close to 100 bikers poured into the Amherst pub and eatery, including members of the Hells Angels and Bacchus motorcycle clubs.
Any fears of battle lines being drawn and weapons being brandished were quickly replaced with relief as the bikers ordered breakfast and discussed the finer points of the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms,” said Stephen Wallace, of the Bacchus MC, Saint John Chapter. “The freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication, which is what we’re going to do.”
Wallace is also the chairman of The Atlantic Confederation of Clubs (ACC), the host of Saturday’s Unity Ride, which began in Amherst and wrapped up Saturday afternoon at Province House in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
The ACC includes motorcycle club members, independent members and military veterans who ride motorcycles.
During the meeting at Teazers it was said that ‘lawyering up’ has proved too costly and ineffective in a battle against slanderous statements made against members of motorcycle clubs. It was also pointed out that those statements have led to bikers losing their jobs and their businesses, so, instead of getting lawyers, the bikers have decided to go directly to the people through the media.
“We’re going to put an ad in the paper stating our claim,” said one of the bikers in attendance.
The bikers quickly passed a motion stating that they will place an ad in local newspapers whenever there is unwarranted negative media attention from the government or from the police against motorcycle clubs and their members.
“If they’re saying all this about us and we’re people of the community, when the mayor decides to run for election you (the voters) can ask if they want this bias person representing the people,” said the biker. “We’re going to spend money on newspaper ads, get it on facebook and share it with friends. That’s how you persuade them.”
One person standing out on Victoria Street looked across the parking lot at all the motorbikes, glanced at the cops and said, “Why are they paying so much attention to them. They’re not doing anything wrong.”
That echoed Wallace’s thoughts exactly.
“We are all gentlemen. We like to have a good time and socialize and ride motorcycles and not be profiled and discriminated against,” said Wallace. “But this is the norm for us. It would be nice to arrive some place and not be so important.”
The Canadian Charter of Rights also allows for the freedom of peaceful assembly, and that’s exactly what the bikers did as they hopped on their bikes and headed to Charlottetown, P.E.I.
“We’re heading to Province House,” said Wallace. “The NDP will speak and veterans will speak about being profiled.”
This was the second year in a row the bikers have met over breakfast at Teazers.
““They’re biker friendly, so it’s very hospitable here,” said Wallace.
Raymond Jones, manager at Teazers, said the bikers are welcome back.
“They came in and had their meal, they had their meeting, and then they left,” said Jones. “Everything went very smooth.”
Other topics covered at the Teazers meeting included the 50/50 draw and the $787, which was raised for charity at a swap meet barbecue.