Self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada” Romana Didulo — known for her QAnon beliefs — and her followers have left the Richmound, Sask., school they’ve been staying at for more than two months.
Mayor Brad Miller said the cult left the school early afternoon on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, villagers discovered through online coverage of the “Kingdom of Canada” cult’s regular live streamed videos — which it posts on the app Telegram — that the group had a heater propped up on a propane tank in the school.
That, the mayor said, is a fire code violation.
The village sent the fire chief, a building inspector and a bylaw officer to the school on Wednesday, but Miller said the extremist group would not let them enter the school.
However, Miller said Didulo and her followers quickly packed up their vehicles and left the school after the visit.
“Right after that they were scurrying around just like bunch of little chickens, or whatever. And they’re going nuts actually, just hooking up RVs or the camper trailers,” Miller said.
They didn’t go far.
Miller said they are camped out only 11 kilometres east of the village in the Rural Municipality of Fox Valley on unused farmland after being given permission to stay there by the landowner.
Miller said he was relieved to see them leave the village, but he’s not celebrating too much just yet.
“I’m still thinking they might come back and, if they do, it’ll be a letdown. But when I see them take off, there will be the biggest party ever.”
He said the village is breathing a little easier at the moment.
“It gives you relief. You don’t know the feeling until you’ve lived with it. But they’re still seven miles away. We’re going to keep working, trying to keep pushing them. I don’t care where they are, or whatever. Get them out of here.”
Meanwhile, Ricky Manz, the owner of the old Richmound school who invited Didulo to stay in the first place, missed his court date in Leader, Sask., on Thursday for an assault charge. This information was confirmed to CBC by the Swift Current Provincial Court office, which operates as the registry office for the Leader court.
The court office said a warrant is now out for Manz’s arrest. Saskatchewan RCMP told CBC on Friday afternoon that Manz had not yet been arrested.
2 months of tension
After the cult moved into Richmound on Sept. 15 they followed residents around, taking video of them. Miller said this behaviour caused people to be stressed and fearful, and affected their mental health.
Didulo’s followers also sent out many “cease-and-desist” letters, threatening individuals in the community with “public execution” if they didn’t adhere to the the Queen’s “decrees.”
Dr. Christine Sarteschi, a professor of social work and criminology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has been following the movement of the “Queen of Canada” for years.
In October, she told CBC the cult has made similar “public execution” threats before, but to her knowledge have never actually carried out violence. She says that does not mean threats against the people of Richmound should not be taken seriously.
“We don’t know what they’re capable of, but they’re very active,” said Sarteschi.
Residents of Richmound held a two-day protest on the weekend of Oct. 14, calling for the cult to leave.
Miller told CBC on Friday that, since then, the group has stopped filming residents and has been pretty quiet. Miller and one of his council members did both receive new “cease-and-desist” letters last week, but he said they did not threaten their lives.
In the meantime, Miller said Richmound is exploring some new legal avenues that may keep the cult out for good but he couldn’t share those details at this time.