Local Darksiders member accuses Bathurst's mayor of fear mongering
A member of the local Darksiders Motorcycle Club wants to clear up misconceptions about his group following statements made by Bathurst mayor Paolo Fongemie earlier this week.
Fongemie told Radio-Canada that citizens are afraid of the group and that he wants to work with neighbouring municipalities to limit the club's activities in the Chaleur region.
He's also calling on the Gallant government to follow PEI's lead in enacting provincial legislation to control the presence of biker and organized crime groups in that province.
The mayor also alleged that the club was in the practice of recruiting high school students and young adults and questioned where money earned from selling clothing went.
In an open letter to the mayor, Dominic Doucet says allegations that Darksiders recruit high school students and young adults are false and that money used from the sale of the club's clothing line are used for club-house expenses like electricity and cable.
He accuses the mayor of fear-mongering and says that his club is made up of a small group of individuals held to a high standard of truth, honesty, integrity and open mindedness.
Doucet says bikers are generally used to being misunderstood, but worries about the implications the mayor's comments could have on other minority groups.
"Dear Mr. Fongemie, City Council, Citizens of Bathurst and surrounding areas.
This is a response to a recent news article about the local Darksiders Motorcycle Club.
I am not a writer nor am I that well spoken, but I do feel very passionate about this and felt I needed to write this letter to hopefully “educate” the population like you mentioned. So here is some factual information from an actual MC member.
It worries me to see such accusations be thrown our way without any fact checking, so I would like to take the time to correct some of these false comments.
You say we recently added “MC” to our vest. From day one (September 2014) we have been wearing the exact same MC patch that you claim we recently added to our jackets. To add to this, our chapter in Dartmouth Nova Scotia has been wearing theirs since April 2009. Again, the same exact patch we still wear today. Cause for concern? Yes, the fact that you spill false information in a position of authority like yours.
The letters “MC” belong to no one. No copy rights, no special meaning, it is a simple designation that means MOTORCYCLE CLUB (not gang). There are many other clubs that also have an abbreviated patch: RC (riding club), MRC (motorcycle riding club), veteran clubs, independents, HOG (Harley owners group) WRC (women riding club) etc… and guess what? There are also COP CLUBS that only allow police officers or retired officers and they wear the letters MC on some of their vests, cuts, jackets. The exact same letters we wear. Don’t believe me? Look up the Blue Knights MC, Blue Breed MC, or the Defenders MC just to name a few.
All these letters mean is implication at different levels, just like the local hockey teams. Some are beer leagues, junior leagues, men’s leagues, senior etc… They all come with different levels of commitment. Some play once a week, others play 3-4 times a week. Some make bigger financial sacrifices and also some put more time into it because they are passionate about it. We are the same. We, as an MC, ride every day, spend lots of time planning our personal and public runs. We make our club a priority in our lives.
I know and understand how we can be misunderstood and we unfortunately are used to it. It usually just rolls off of our backs. But this article is cause for concern for all, not just MC’s. If they can spread slander about a small group of men, imagine the rest of the minority groups.
To your other comment about people being afraid of us: that also is unfortunate. But instead of going with facts, you choose to instill fear mongering in our population. None of us have criminal records. And even if someone did, like the other 10% of Canadians that do have one, would you base your judgment on one mistake in the person’s past? IF so then you might as well shut the city of Bathurst down. I won’t list the City’s past mistakes because they are just that, past mistakes, and we trust you all to move on.
You stated you hope to introduce a bylaw to ban bikers from wearing their colours in bars. Would this also apply to other public places? Restaurants? Grocery stores? While getting gas? If any local merchant has ever felt mistreated by any club member, Darksiders or other, they hold the right to decline service to anyone at any time. We've never had a problem with anyone, and we want to keep it that way. Supporting local businesses is very important to us.
The term “outlaw motorcycle gang” was also used in the article you decided to endorse. This term has and never was used by any clubs like us to describe ourselves. This term is invented by the media, police forces and politicians to make reading about motorcycle clubs more “exciting,” “scary,” and sensational. A simple MOTORCYCLE CLUB is what we are.
You also stated that the Phantom Biker Bash was cancelled because of us and other groups that attended. If I remember correctly, the organization committee reached out to us for help, not the other way around. We were happy to help with the event to a certain extent to promote our region and local businesses. It was not a success, but blaming it on the couple of guys who asked nothing in return and did nothing but offer help is sad. Also to my recollection, the city was not sure about funding for the second edition of the biker bash (2016) we put forward many ideas to cut the cost down on this event. Don’t believe me? Release the numbers comparing 2015 investment in the event compared to 2016. You’ll notice quite a difference in price (tax-payers money).
If I follow your reasoning on the basis that the event was cancelled because of criminal bikers scaring people, maybe we should cancel all events, including the hospitality days. I heard there might be a few people attending the event with criminal records of various charges. And even some of the musicians performing. Someone might get hurt or worst be exposed to possible criminals. I could also paraphrase the local police fiasco, not sure citizens feel safe knowing certain police officers might be patrolling again, but let’s not open that can of worms. And like I stated before we should move on of past mistakes.
You made the comment that we recruit high school kids and college students. Well for one I have yet to see a high school student with a Harley Davidson and very few college students.
Secondly, we do not recruit. Never have and never will. We will not approach anyone and ask them to join. People ask us. More than likely the answer they will receive will be no. How do you expect a high school student to ride thousands of kilometers with us out of province with a bike he does not own and money for hotels, gas, meals he most probably does not have?
This is a Brotherhood of close friends. I share this club with men I hold in high regard. These men are held to a high standard of truth, honesty, integrity and open mindedness.
As for selling clothing online, I would love to see the website you speak of that we Darksiders sell shirts with numbers on them. We do have support gear that says “support your local Darksiders.” The small donations we receive from these shirts help pay for our cable, electricity etc… Yes, bikers watch TV in their clubhouse.
In conclusion, myself and the rest of the Darksiders Motorcycle Club North Shore chapter love this region dearly, and we will keep loving it regardless of any slander you throw our way. We choose to raise our kids and grandkids in this area. We have our families who contribute countless dollars and time to see this great region prosper. We are people like anyone else: with passions, faults, hopes and dreams.
Mr. Mayor and Council members, I know I will unfortunately not change your minds, and this is in no way an attack on anyone. We simply wish to clarify some things and hope that the truth comes out. Admitting faults is a sign of great leadership.
Remember this: Compassion, Truth seeking and diversity builds the strongest communities. Hopefully someday being Marginal will not be associated with criminality.
Nobody will destroy our culture.
Proud Darksider Motorcycle Club member.
P.S. We will not be responding to comments."