Patrick Allard, the owner of a renovation company in Winnipeg, was deemed essential early in the pandemic. He felt compelled to speak up for others who had not been so lucky and whose lives and livelihoods were impacted by the mandates and lockdowns.
So our next witness is Patrick Allard. Could you state your full name, sir?
Patrick Allard, P-A-T-R-I-C-K A-L-L-A-R-D
Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
How old are you sir?
Oh. Nineteen eighty-one: forty-two? Forty-one.
Where are you from?
I’m born and raised in Winnipeg. Winnipeg’s north end. Been there my whole life.
What kind of trade do you have or what work do you do for a living?
I’ve owned and operated a renovation company, a residential renovation company, for the better part of 20 years.
I understand you got quite involved in the community in Winnipeg during the COVID period, if we can call it that. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened in 2020 when all this started happening?
Yes, watching those videos that we just watched with Premier Pallister and Heather Stefanson, who’s our premier now, who used to be the health minister, and Bruce, in here. It brings back a lot of memories, probably for everyone watching. You could tell that they had no idea what they were doing. And I knew that when I was watching it, and I thought, somebody has to step in, somebody has to do something. And like a fool, I waited for my government to do what was right. That wasn’t happening. We saw these arbitrary closures of businesses. I mentioned I was in renovations. I was deemed essential. I didn’t know how insulting that was to be elevated amongst other Manitobans just because of what I chose to do for a living. I didn’t realize that the tattoo artist or the hair stylist, they also have mortgages and kids to feed. So how was I any more important than that? So I had to speak up for those who were deemed non-essential, those who were harmed. I decided to be very loud, public, put my renovation company on hold, and use my voice to stick up for the little guy.
I saw a lot of pain, a lot of hurt. I started being vocal on social media for starters in early 2020. I heard stories of people not being able to see their grandparents or their parents in a nursing home. And I didn’t just hear stories, but we had a family member of ours—a 95-year-old matriarch of my wife’s family—was locked away in a nursing home for three weeks and never recovered from that loneliness. And we had a funeral shortly after that. My family has pictures in their minds as to what their mother looked like, their grandmother, after being alone for three weeks. Mike Vogiatzakis testified about some of these people that he saw as well. So it’s not an anomaly. So speaking of the little guy—that I had to help protect and speak up for—was these elderly people who had no one to talk for them.
And then they shut the schools. They put placards on play structures. They were harming children mentally by making them feel that they’re going to harm their grandparents, they’re going to harm their friends by playing with them. The two segments of our society that we needed to protect are the ones that we did not. We alienated the elderly and locked them away to rot.
I keep saying they’re our most precious resource because they have stories and a lifetime of things in their minds that you don’t get until you get to their age. We pushed them away like they were yesterday’s news. And then our children, we were scarring them right from the beginning, scaring them, and that we’re going to have to fix for 10 years or so. Or it could take decades. I saw this very early.
So we organized our very first protest for May 9th, 2020, in front of the legislature. And I thought we were doing a good thing. I thought we were going to attract a lot of positive attention, but it was exactly the opposite. The Winnipeg Free Press labelled us as a bunch of right-winged extremists, racist, white, Anglo-Saxon, everything that they could do to try to get us painted in a negative light. And I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand, why is this? Why? Hasn’t protest always been an encouraged event, no matter what? And now we’re being labelled all these names. I didn’t quite get it. So that was May 9th of 2020. And that’s where the story really begins, I guess.
After being defamed in the paper, people started gravitating towards myself and Dr. Gerry Bohemier, who’s going to testify later today, who was part of that as well, took the face of that one. He took the brunt. I didn’t like them picking on Dr. Gerry, either. So I became somewhat the face of the opposition in Manitoba against these measures. It started going from there. We started holding rallies and attracting more people. People could see that they’re not alone anymore. And we were doing a good thing. That continued on.
There were more press conferences that Pallister went on and threatened on TV saying, “If you break the public health orders, you’ll get your name mentioned on TV.” Dr. Roussin mentioned about possible jail time. And we continued protesting. I continued awaiting these fines, these tickets. They were not happening. So I thought the government was just bluffing. We continued on.
November 4th of 2020 was when I was first ticketed for breaking the COVID health orders. That was for gathering in a public outdoor place with more than, I think it was five people. And we were more than five people. We were about 30. I got ticketed. And to my understanding, that was the first ticket in Winnipeg. There was another gentleman who was ticketed along with me. I believe the ticket fine was for $1,200 and $1,296. And it just continued on from there. November 29th, 2020, I heard that there was a church, Minister Tobias’ church, the Church of God, out near Steinbach that was going to hold a service. And because the churches had been locked down or shut down, I decided to go and— If I wasn’t going to get answers from the government, let’s see if we can get answers from God. And being raised in a Christian home, I decided I’m going to go and maybe this is the time to go back to church. So I went out there.
Growing up, my father always told me that the police are your friend. If you need help, you can go to the police. I showed up there in Steinbach. And on the side of the road, as Minister Tobias testified, there was about 30 police vehicles, probably about 40, 50 police officers, RCMP officers, all in a line with masks on, and preventing these churchgoers from going to church. It was at that moment that I realized the police are not always your friend.
The RCMP, at that time, were on the wrong side of the law. And that’s really the moment when I realized—I think the gloves are off now.
So I continued being a loud voice, continued protesting. We held many wonderful rallies. We had mental health rallies because as Mike Vogiatzakis has testified yesterday, mental health was on a huge decline. He’s seen a high rise in suicides. We heard Ms. Vickner talk yesterday about her thoughts of despair. And we had mental health rallies, just to get people together to hold hands, to sing, to hug, to shake hands, to know you’re not alone.
For those efforts, I was ticketed as well and I was dragged through the media. I asked for all of this because I knew the good that was coming out of it was, I believe, worth it. The joy I would give people just to make a post that there’s going to be a rally, that they get happy for 20 minutes of their life: I think it was worth it. And from that point on, from the Church of God incident, I believe I received another 14 tickets. Kyle, you might know better. You might have it there. But all for gatherings.
And after about 10 tickets, the promise of Premier Pallister about getting your name mentioned on TV was brought to fruition when the Winnipeg police put out a press release saying that there’s been an arrest warrant set out for five Manitobans plus another visiting individual. And out of that, we became the infamous Manitoba Five. Five of us were arrested for breaking COVID health orders—put in jail. The police exercised a warrant. I was put in a cell, just treated like every other criminal, I guess. But my crime, as per the police officer’s disclosure, was that Mr. Allard was seen shaking hands and hugging people. This was the extent to my criminality because they didn’t have anything else.
To be the police officers to write that, I don’t understand how they could even do, how they thought like that. I might be missing parts of the story, but I know you’ll refresh my memory. But that led me to having some bail restrictions. And I was, like Sharon talked yesterday, she was not allowed to communicate with certain people. The five of us that were arrested with those warrants, I was named on that as well. Thankfully, I have a family that I could speak to, but some of the other people didn’t and were left alone.
One of my bail restrictions was that I do not plan, promote, or incite gatherings that fall contrary to the public health orders. So it kind of put a stifle on my protest planning. So when Dr. Roussin allowed 150 people to be present at a private or a public outdoor location—unless you were at the time vaccinated because there was no limit for vaccinated individuals—and so we were allowed, if we weren’t checking vaccine passports, to have a group of 150. So I made a Facebook post asking for 150 people to block the road to the Winnipeg Blue Bomber Stadium. I think it’s a dumb move to block any road, but I was angry that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were hosting a game with 40,000 people—could be 30,000, 40,000 people, vaccinated individuals only—when people like me were not allowed in. So I wanted to put a wrench in their works.
I got a knock on the door,
plainclothes police officers. What that means, those are detectives. They announced themselves as the major crimes unit. People who arrest murderers, rapists, drug dealers, all the worst crimes you can imagine in your life, show up at my door, and I’m in a towel. They said I’m under arrest for the Facebook post. And I said, “Well, would you allow me this—” Shawn just talked about a similar story. I asked, “Would you allow me the decency to get dressed?” And they said, “Nope.” They shoved me against the wall and my towel dropped down, outside on my front steps. And thankfully, I was wearing some undergarments. But nonetheless, that’s quite tough for the neighbours to see. Quite tough for me to have the neighbours see. My daughter sees this. And she’s seven now, and that’s the first time that I spent the night away from my daughter. She remembers this. Why was Daddy gone that night? Because I spent the night in jail with wet underwear. They were wet because I was in the hot tub. I should clear that up; they didn’t let me get dressed. They pulled me away, and I spent the night in jail. And once again, got out on bail restrictions.
I think shortly after, restrictions were removed, and it kind of gave me a little bit of freedom. I was treated a little bit like all the other unvaccinated people. I wasn’t discriminated against as much. But then that led me to filing some Charter challenges. We were in court. We had our challenge dismissed because of a previous court ruling in the Gateway challenge. We’re at the appeal process with that.
Through this all, I also received two mask tickets. One was shopping without a mask. One was going to the law courts without a mask. And I got to say, I brought up my daughter. She was the only kid in her whole school of 600 that never wore a mask. And people asked me, “How did you do that?” And I said, “Well, I went and spoke with the principal. And I kindly mentioned that my daughter does not wear a mask. And we had the conversation respectfully.” We have to respect people, even if they disagree with you.
And she was allowed to participate in two years of school with no mask. His deal was that she was going to set her off into the corner and have her own little workstation. And I said, “Well, if you put the other individual that looks a little bit different than the rest of us in that corner, you put the disabled child over there, and you can put the person with dark hair over there, and then you can put my daughter in the fourth corner.” And he said, “Well, that doesn’t sound appropriate.” And I said, “You’re right.” So she got to spend the two years with all her friends like a normal kid treated like all the others, even though she didn’t have a face covering. I understand, listening to Mr. Attallah yesterday, that not all the children had that luxury of being able to do that. And that hurts me.
Sorry if I’m rambling. But I just saw a need to speak up, especially when I knew from very early on that this was a— they say, “trust the science,” this was political science. Before it came to Canada, there was COVID deaths in Italy, in nursing homes. I thought, that’s very sad that people are dying in the nursing homes. Of course, it is. But this is a fact of life. People do die. What are the numbers? And I started doing some comparisons, and I compared the numbers of deaths in the Italian nursing homes year over year over year, month over month, and it never changed. So I thought, what’s going on?
I knew that this wasn’t an unusually deadly killer, like people bring up the Spanish flu. This was nothing to do with that. So I don’t understand the government—what they did, how they jailed me, how they ticketed me, how they treated everyone else for just going shopping without a mask, getting together, going for church. Yeah, I got so many stories to tell, so many things to say, but I don’t want to ramble on too much. I kind of want to give you the gist of—
Mr. Allard, I know that you attended a lot of rallies in Winnipeg. There’s a lot of different gatherings that were going on. Do you recall your observations about what was taking place at those rallies and the enforcement that was taking place?
If you were protesting the COVID orders, you would be ticketed. You would be fined; you could be jailed. But if you were protesting other events, perhaps Black Lives Matter, Every Child Matters, these seem to be accepted. Some members of our legislative assembly here called for our arrest for protesting. Then the very next day, they would participate in a protest for the Manitoba Hydro Union or the Black Lives Matter rally, and that was okay. The rule of law is supposed to apply to all, I thought.
Were you present at these other gatherings?
So you had firsthand observation, is that right?
I was actually identified by police officers and asked me why I was there. I said, “Well, I heard there was a rally and I’m the rally guy.” So they pointed me out, and I made a point of this because now I was participating in a rally that was approved, still against the COVID orders. They knew me, and I’d already been ticketed at this point, but they didn’t give me a ticket for that one. Only if you protested the COVID orders.
Thinking back about everything that’s happened, how do you think society should have responded to this COVID phenomenon?
Well, I think we could have taken Dr. Jay Bhattacharya’s advice with his Great Barrington Declaration, and instead of locking away and forgetting the elderly and the vulnerable, we should have protected them. We should have allowed the rest of everyone to govern themselves how they see fit: to raise their families the way they want to raise them, to live their life they want to live. The government should be there not to take our rights away but to protect our rights. And they should tell us when there’s a danger, tell us what the possible issues could be if we take the danger into our own hands, and that’s it. We understand that by going out, we had the potential of being sick or whatever, we took that on ourselves.
But we learned in the Gateway challenge that the government themselves had zero evidence: the government admitted this under oath that they had no evidence to suggest there was any outdoor spread. That’s how I interpreted it. And yet, they still put a prohibition on outdoor gatherings. We also found out in that same Gateway challenge that the PCR test that allowed all of this to happen— Dr. Jared Bullard from Cadham Laboratory, who did the majority of the COVID tests in Manitoba, testified under oath that 56 per cent of the PCR tests were false positives. So if they told you there were 1000 cases, that’s only 460. So it was not as severe as they were telling you. They were not following the science themselves. That’s what we could have done. We could have followed the science, the real science. But I fear that we’ve gone down this path, and like Shawn said at the opening, we may go down this path again and there’s really nothing that we can do
besides just stand up and say no. And without rambling any further, if you have any other questions, Kyle.
I don’t think I have any more questions, maybe some of the commissioners do. Okay, thank you very much for your testimony.
Thanks a lot.
Final Review and Approval: Margaret Phillips, August 10, 2023.
The evidence offered in this transcript is a true and faithful record of witness testimony given during the National Citizens Inquiry (NCI) hearings. The transcript was prepared by members of a team of volunteers using an “intelligent verbatim” transcription method.
For further information on the transcription process, method, and team, see the NCI website: https://nationalcitizensinquiry.ca/about-these-transcripts/
Patrick Allard, the owner of a renovation company in Winnipeg, was deemed essential early in the pandemic. He felt compelled to speak up for others who had not been so lucky and whose lives and livelihoods were impacted by the mandates and lockdowns. He put his business on hold and became very vocal on social media and through rallies and protests.
He did a lot of research and felt the data did not justify the actions of the government. He was disappointed and appalled by the actions of local police and the RCMP. He tells about the unfair measures applied for covid protests and those for other issues.
His name became known and he was soon presented in a very negative light by the press as one of the infamous “Manitoba Five” (five Manitobans who the news talked about as “flouting COVID restrictions” – breaking outdoor public gathering limits in 2020 and 2021). He received almost $35,000 in fines for disobeying the mandates, and was actually jailed at one point.