An Opinion Piece on Iconic Cafe owners' display of strength and courage by Selena Paley

Enrico Kuhn, a seemingly ordinary man, and owner of the Iconic Cafe, did something rather extraordinary in the wake of the federal government's invocation of the Emergencies Act. He stood up to Goliath. And won.


In the days that followed the invocation, Enrico and his wife Debra, were witness to the tactics employed by officers to clear the streets of Ottawa, including arrests, towing of vehicles, threats, intimidation, impersonation, and aggressive language, directly outside of their modest cafe at 123 Slater Street. In a live video captured by Kyle Cardinal, the officers on Slater Street are first seen arresting James and Sandra Bauder in what Enrico describes as "gestapo-like fashion".

The Canada Unity motorhome is towed away following the arrests of James and Sandra Bauder.
The Canada Unity motorhome being towed from Slater Street

Several tow trucks are also seen driving by, pulling snow-covered semis and trucks. Once James and Sandra are taken away in police cruisers, the Canada Unity motorhome is hoisted onto a tow-truck bed and taken away. Enrico is heard saying "they will probably come for us next". And that's just what they did.


Several minutes later, police are seen circling the restaurant like hungry sharks, taking photos of the people inside, and gathering outside the front door. The tension and frustration from those inside the restaurant is growing, as the police inch closer and closer to the front door.


A large masked officer pulls on the front door. It's locked. Then he knocks on the glass window and motions for Enrico to come over.


This is where it gets interesting.


Enrico, a self-described 'person who follows Jesus', walks over to the officer standing outside his cafe with an unequivocal self-confidence one can only obtain through the trials and tribulations of life. The stand-off had begun, and it was only a matter of time.

Enrico and Debra threatened by officers outside the Iconic Cafe

In the video, the officers are overheard threatening the owners, first that they will smash their way in by breaking the glass, and failing that, will take their business license away.


After the officers' threats, and attempt to pass themselves off as by-law officers there for an inspection, Enrico says courageously with both his voice and body language:


"I am the person that follows Jesus. I do not follow your system and I do not bow down to the beast."


The officers eventually leave, but the story doesn't end here. Shortly after the stand-off, the Kuhns receive an eviction notice for failure to pay rent. Prior to the trucker convoy, Iconic Cafe was on the brink of closing down. In January 2022 Enrico says they were making about $150 per day.


The lockdowns, coupled with the constant threats and harassment from local residents had eroded the once bustling cafe, which was the pinnacle of hope and unity during the trucker convoy. When most restaurants closed their doors, the Iconic Cafe stayed open, providing an inviting, hospitable, welcoming, and non-discriminatory safe haven for truckers and Canadians.

The Iconic Cafe during better times

As heart-wrenching as it was to close his doors, Enrico is grateful for the experience. In an exclusive interview with Freedom Central Canada, he says the truckers came to help us become a stronger voice, and describes their arrival in Ottawa as 'heaven on earth'. He recalls the day they arrived that something big was about to happen, and was grateful to be in a position to offer a place for people to go, where they could get a hot meal, stay warm, and use the washrooms.

With the vaccine restriction program in full effect, Iconic Cafe did not turn anyone away.


Today, the Iconic Cafe sign is gone, and the windows have been covered in paper. Garbage litters the front step. The once

The Iconic Cafe today

bustling safe haven during the convoy protest may be gone from 123 Slater Street but the legacy of the Cafe and what Enrico and Debra provided for the truckers and citizens during the convoy protest will not be forgotten. The story of Enrico and Debra remind us of the courage in our hearts when faith is placed completely in God. Their faith became evident when they did not cower under the threats, but instead showed us that with faith, the armor of God is sufficient, and in the end love always wins.

Enrico with his son Nathanial visit with FCC. From l to r: Cody Kuntz, Enrico Kuhn, Nathanial Kuhn, Selena Paley


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