Several Montreal-area McDonald’s restaurants vandalized, police in the dark

One franchise on downtown Peel Street closed its doors in April, claiming a 300-per-cent hike in rent. The employees of that franchise received union accreditation in November of last year, and union leaders accused the owner of the franchise of union bus

National Post
July 8, 2001

Several Montreal-area McDonald’s restaurants vandalized, police in the dark
Canadian Press

MONTREAL (CP) - Small fires set within a half-hour at seven McDonald's restaurants across the city on
Saturday morning have police puzzled. "What seemed to have happened was someone dropped what could have been a small flare into the wastebaskets, starting the fires," said police spokesman Christian Emond.

"No one was injured, (there are) no suspects, and obviously our arson squad has taken over the investigation."

Police have very little evidence to link the fires with any group, since nobody has come forward to claim responsibility and no letters were left at the scenes.

"For the seven fires to have been started in such a short period of time in the seven different restaurants, it had to be several people who had concerted their efforts in order for all of this to happen at the same time," said Emond.

"All the fires seem to have been started in the same fashion," said Emond. "It leads us to believe that it's the same organization, but anything further than that would be pure speculation."

The fires, which caused little damage, were set in garbage cans, flower pots and bathrooms between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. EDT.

None of the seven restaurants involved were forced to close their doors.

Regional McDonald's executives were not available for comment. The managers of the vandalized outlets were told not to comment, though one said the fire was, "just a little bomb, or something like that. It really wasn't a big deal."

Montreal-area McDonald's restaurants have been engaged in a long-running battle with the Confederation of National Trade Unions, which is attempting to introduce unions to the multinational fast-food chain.

Union president Marc Laviolette denounced Saturday's vandalism.

"The CNTU does not want to be associated with these acts of vandalism in any way, it even denounces them," said Laviolette. "We don't support any violent action."

One franchise on downtown Peel Street closed its doors in April, claiming a 300-per-cent hike in rent.

The employees of that franchise received union accreditation in November of last year, and union leaders accused the owner of the franchise of union busting.

Had it not closed, the franchise would have been the lone McDonald's union shop among its 15,000 North American outlets.

Another McDonald's restaurant was involved in an incident Saturday afternoon in which three subway stations had to be evacuated due to the release of what is believed to have been pepper spray. Though the gas was released near a McDonald's outlet, police believe the incident is unrelated.


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