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‘Save the Children Convoy’ Finally Ends, Leaving Farmer With Piles of Garbage, Rancid Food and Unpaid Bills

Leaders of conspiratorial ‘Save the Children Convoy’ end year-long protest by accusing one another of ‘smear campaigns’ and ‘disgraceful’ behaviour

All things must come to an end.

That includes the unlikely friendship between an Eastern Ontario farmer by the name of Chet Wiggins and a group of QAnon-adjacent anti-government conspiracy theorists who built a commune in his backyard.

A year after it first began, the so-called “Save the Children Convoy” has finally dispersed from a farm outside Ottawa where it was quartering through the arduous winter months while plotting its next moves against the federal government.

As first reported by PressProgress last year, the Save the Children Convoy was a far-right movement that revolved around anti-LGBTQ paranoia, pedophile conspiracies, secret plans to jail politicians and replace Canada’s democratically-elected government.

The convoy group’s belief system was equally complicated, drawing inspiration from dizzying sources like QAnon, New Age spirituality and sovereign citizen ideologies.

Their activities also led Toronto Police to shut down parts of downtown Toronto last year while their daily protests at Parliament Hill in Ottawa led to several arrests and one man being tasered in the middle of Wellington Street.

The group initially set-up a rural base camp 40 minutes east of Ottawa in Casselman, Ontario where over 100 vehicles were seen camping out and staging daily protests to Parliament Hill.

But as winter approached, the group dug into a location up Concession Road 20 at a property owned by local farmer Chet Wiggins.

Wiggins, who initially denied knowledge of the group’s extreme beliefs and claimed a group of travellers had simply offered to fix his barn in exchange for lodging, insisted no “hippie communes” would be built on his property.

Yet the farmer appeared to contradict those public statements and let the convoy group establish a ramshackle settlement with semi-permanent structures, including rusted trailers and teepees, in his back yard for the next seven months.

The free-spirited community came to a sudden end a few weeks ago, when unpaid hydro bills led to a falling out between Wiggins and the “freedom people.”

“They told us they would leave our property the way it was when they arrived last October 2023,” Chet Wiggins’ spouse, Danielle Goyette-Wiggins, wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post with photos showing a mess of garbage, rotting food and wrecked trailers strewn about her property.

Goyette-Wiggins’ post singled out several “freedom people” by name who had been camping out in their backyard, including Norman Blanchfield and Gordon Berry – two of the main leaders of the Save the Children Convoy.

“What a bunch of unforgivable humans that are fighting the government against being screwed but they screwed us more than anyone,” Goyette-Wiggins added. “Their mission was to live off of anybody’s backs.”

Danielle Goyette-Wiggins (Facebook)

Instead of helping fix their barn, Goyette-Wiggins says the Save the Children Convoy left her family with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.

“Hydro outstanding is over $3,000, not to mention damages, broken equipment, the clean-up, broken fruit trees and so much more,” Goyette-Wiggins told PressProgress.

Neither Norman Blanchfield nor Gordon Berry responded to PressProgress’ requests for a response to Goyette-Wiggins’ allegations, however, Berry broadcasted a lengthy livestream video directly addressing some of the allegations.

According to Berry, the farm’s “screwy” power bills led to a “huge blow up” one night.

“Chet came out to the trailer and we were all sitting in the trailer and Chet actually basically just went off the rails on Norm,” Berry alleged in his livestream. “It turned into a massive fight, massive screaming match, all this kind of shit, name-calling, threats, nose-to-nose, almost got physical.”

“All of us were kind of sideballed.”

Berry claimed convoy members were forced to sleep at a nearby gas station that night but eventually wandered back to the farm after Wiggins had time to cool off.

A week later, when the group woke up to go to Ottawa for one of Blanchfield’s court proceedings, Berry alleges they found themselves blocked-in.

“There were two vehicles that were parked across the driveways, like blocking us in the property,” Berry said. “There was a trailer lock, a hitch lock, put on the trailer that I was in.”

“I think Chet was paranoid that everybody was going to bail and he was going to be stuck with the bill,” Berry speculated. “Whether he should have done that or he didn’t, now you feel like you’re trapped in a bit of a prison scenario.”

Goyette-Wiggins’ recollection of events is different. While she and Berry agree their relationship deteriorated after an altercation between Chet Wiggins and Norman Blanchfield, in her version of the story, she alleges it was the Save the Children Convoy leader who was the real aggressor.

“When we asked for hydro money, Norm took one of his sissy fits, screaming at Chet, threatening to punch him in the face and threatened our property also,” Goyette-Wiggins alleged to PressProgress.

“Chet should have decked him, but he has more self-control,” Goyette-Wiggins said, adding they didn’t call police because they believe the police are “useless.”

“He was told to leave. We had enough.”

Goyette-Wiggins did confirm Chet Wiggins blocked-in the Save the Children Convoy and placed locks on Gordon Berry’s vehicle: “Yes, it did happen, but obviously, there was a reason for that. We don’t do things like that willy-nilly. We could feel that they were planning on screwing us.”

After the incident, Berry claims he paid Chet Wiggins the money he was owed, at which point Wiggins apologized to him and the two men made their peace.

“I gave them at that point in time $4,260,” Berry claimed. “Chet shook my hands, says: ‘You know what, you’re a man of your word, I apologize, whatever, it’s all good’.”

Berry is confused why Danielle Goyette-Wiggins posted photos of the mess in her yard which caused him to receive angry messages from convoy supporters.

“I’d just given them $4,260,” Berry said. “There was zero mention to me about the clean-up issues or any mess, none whatsoever.”

“All this stuff gets posted and blasted and then I get tagged in it and now I’m thinking ‘what in the holy fuck did I deserve that because I stepped in front of this to try to keep this all calm’.”

“This turned into a smear campaign,” Berry said. “A giant fucking smear campaign.”

Berry also took offence to being thrown under the bus by the “controlled op” groups and other leaders and influencers involved with the Save the Children Convoy.

“Ron Clark, Freedom George, Jason Lavigne,” Berry said, “given that we were all fucking in this together at one point, I would expect that at least you guys would have called.”

On their own livestreams, the other Save the Children Convoy personalities pointed fingers back at Berry and Blanchfield.

“I seen some pictures last night and going through some of the comments on there with Darlene (sic) and Chet,” convoy influencer Ron Clark said in a livestream.

“The way that camp was left after everybody left was absolutely shameful,” Clark said. “That doesn’t represent who we are as people, that is just a disgrace.”

“I’m disgusted,” added convoy influencer “Freedom George,” whose real name is George Billings. “This is not how you are supposed to treat people, they did nothing to you except give you hospitality and a place to stay and a place to clean-up.”

“There’s no excuse for that, I don’t care what the stories are.”

Freedom George said the garbage and waste left him particularly troubled.

“I’m also wondering why you kept on taking donations of stuff you didn’t need?” Freedom George asked. “It’s not a flea market, it’s not a dump, why would you need all those clothes, like bags and bags and bags of clothes?”

“If you’re going to be out protesting, building camps or anything else, you gotta clean-up after yourself,” said Freedom George, who was criminally convicted for his role in the 2022 Freedom Convoy occupation of Ottawa.

“All the food that was left? Why didn’t that go to a homeless shelter? Why didn’t that go somewhere? It just went to waste?”

“At home the chickens get it or the dog gets it,” Freedom George noted. “If we’re harvesting an animal from the wild, the wolves and the coyotes and the cougars and the birds, they get the bones and everything else, nothing goes to waste.”

Berry denies leaving food to spoil and suggests this talking point is part of a broader “smear campaign” designed to discredit him and the Save the Children Convoy.

“None of us fucking unplugged freezers and fridges,” Berry insisted. “There would be no reason for anybody to do that, that’s bullshit. And I know one of them freezers wasn’t even working.”

In October, Freedom George told his followers that the Save the Children Convoy was building a permanent, self-sustaining community at Chet Wiggins’ farm, adding that come spring, they hoped to “plant seeds and garden.”

“The fellow that owns this,” Freedom George said, referring to Chet Wiggins, “he actually wants us to stay and build a community here, a safe place, so come spring time, there’s going to be gardens being planted and stuff like that.”

At the time, photos and videos showed convoy supporters stockpiling large quantities of food and supplies in Chet Wiggins’ barn.

Seven months later, video posted by Goyette-Wiggins showed volunteers gagging and nearly vomiting as they attempted to clear rancid food from the same barn that was used by the Save the Children Convoy.

Despite Berry’s defiant talk, Goyette-Wiggins acknowledges the Save the Children Convoy leader got burned by his friends.

“For the record, Gordon got stuck with the hydro, all of it,” Goyette-Wiggins told PressProgress. “Gordon was left by Norm to pay all of the hydro throughout the 8 months they were here.”

“He was paying up until one month ago. He never answered my call or texts, so my mouth became open. All he had to do was call us.”

At the end of the day, Danielle Goyette-Wiggins says she “1000%” feels Chet Wiggins was taken advantage of by the Save the Children Convoy leaders whom they made the mistake of welcoming into their home.

“The people that were here were so grateful and appreciative that we opened our home to them that they dumped their septic tanks on our grass, yard and property.”

 


 

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include additional comments from Danielle Goyette-Wiggins which were received after publication confirming allegations Chet Wiggins blocked-in the Save the Children Convoy and placed locks on Gordon Berry’s trailer.

 

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Luke LeBrun
Editor
Luke LeBrun is the Editor of PressProgress. His reporting focuses on the federal political scene, right-wing politics as well as issues in technology, media and culture.

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