Over the past 2 months, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Before that, I didn’t even know they existed.
Deep dive after deep dive, with the guidance of ex PBCC members Richard Marsh and Cheryl Hope, I have discovered that this organization, this cult, has been a force to be reckoned with for decades. Under the surface, a veneer that includes volunteer work and claims of charitable deeds, members of this church work hard to nurture political relationships, boasting a network that includes a sizable amount of conservative operatives, MPs, and even one prime minister.
— James DiFiore (@jamesdifiore) June 29, 2022
Simultaneously, the PBCC have tried to hide their dark side.
Like a perverted mix of the worst attributes of Catholicism, Scientology, and Mormonism, the PBCC have a brand of radical, religious extremism that terrorizes ex-members, often using the assistance of their impressive political connections to assist them in that process. Not to mention, this group has had to contend with various members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault, rape, and attempted payoffs so that victims would never tell their stories.
For example, Marsh was being hunted by the PBCC with the help of former Conservative Party of Canada general counsel, a man who once counted Stephen Harper himself as a client, Gerald Chipeur. Whistleblower David Wallace revealed through the Klondike Papers that he was hired by Chipeur to find Marsh, another whistleblower who blew the lid off an alleged PBCC scam in the UK. The group somehow secured lucrative contracts from conservative provincial governments in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario as well. These contracts were worth tens of millions of dollars.
But how did the PBCC become such a major player in Canadian politics, and when?
— James DiFiore (@jamesdifiore) June 30, 2022
The answers are murky, inconclusive, and, most importantly, have never been sought out by Canadian media. When the Klondike Papers were released by Marsh and Wallace, it gave a small glimpse of the deep ties between the Conservative Party of Canada and the PBCC. Those glimpses have been there for at least 16 years, we just didn’t know what we were looking at back then.
When Harper became prime minister in 2006, the typically long list of immediate prime ministerial decisions soon followed. These included the following;
- Stephen Harper insisted on swearing his oath of office on his “personal Bible.” That Bible was in fact a Plymouth Brethren Christian Church Bible, according to Marsh who claims to have witnessed various PBCC members become overjoyed when they saw him take the oath
- Pierre Poilievre, also part of Gerald Chipeur’s network (and possibly related, according to some), inexplicably became Prime Minister Harper’s principal secretary at age 23. It was his first election win, and did I mention he was 23?
- 5 prominent members of the PBCC were seated in the front row of Harper’s 2011 victory, and the live footage showed Harper finish his victory speech, walk from his podium directly towards the PBCC members, and shake the hand of Chuck Truan, a very prominent American leader of the PBCC
At the time, none of these details seemed all that important, but with the benefit of hindsight, especially for those of us who had only recently become aware of the PBCC, all of those decisions are now in the public interest. That there is yet another example of the intersection of religion and politics isn’t the story. As always, the story is how a supposed belief in an omnipotent being, in this case one who oppresses women, tries to cover-up sex crimes, and whose affiliated companies are the consistent recipients of various government contracts in several different countries, can help the PBCC skate free of any and all scrutiny.
What do these details tell us? Fuck if I know. But since I am in the midst of helping uncover far-reaching sex abuse cases within this group, I think it’s maybe time to ask some questions.
- How much money have PBCC members donated to the federal conservatives, and each conservative provincial party since 2006?
- Why is no legacy outlet even talking about the PBCC? Remember when they couldn’t get enough of both #metoo stories AND stories that excoriated religion? Can you imagine the difference in coverage if this were the Catholic Church, and any mainstream Christian sect?
- Is their allyship a quid pro quo, where donations are exchanged for promises on social issues, or is it a donations = government contracts type thing?
- Do conservative politicians share a belief system similar to that of the PBCC?
- How does the PBCC manage to maintain a charitable status when they make themselves and their partners so much money
Maybe, instead of hiding behind Jesus’ dress and scoffing at the possibility of being scrutinized by the media, they can just give us the answers to the questions above.
The only other question I have is for the media, but I don’t care enough about their answer to even bother asking them in the first place. Besides, Marsh and Hope are both credible witnesses, and the supporting documents should be more than enough to warrant an investigation into how this cult find itself at the upper echelon of power, where some of the most powerful conservative politicians are keen to support them.