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Guelph quest: Scientology sets up temporary shop in Canadian town and faces stiff opposition

[Scientology’s new home for its CLO in Guelph]

Rod Keller keeps an eye on Scientology’s real estate moves around the world. And he’s got an update for us on what’s happening Canada…

Scientology has rented offices in the city of Guelph, Ontario and announced plans to open a Continental Liaison Office (CLO) there. “The Royal City” of Guelph holds about 120,000 residents and this would be the first Scientology presence there. Residents plan to protest against the site, and they worry about how this expansion will affect their community. Rumors abound that Scientologists have been seen distributing literature and have started recruiting. While it’s always worrisome when Scientology comes to town, this is likely a temporary facility and not one designed for recruitment efforts.

Guelph Stands Against Scientology is a group of residents alarmed by Scientology’s presence in their community. They are holding a protest on October 28th from 2:00-4:00 PM at the CLO building, 40 Baker Street. Estimating turnout is difficult, but organizers hope to attract 200-300 protesters. Reports in their Facebook group of Scientology recruiters on the streets of Guelph appear to be a case of mistaken identity. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unlike most Scientology facilities it would be very unusual for this group to recruit or distribute literature. A CLO is not that kind of Scientology org.

A Continental Liaison Office, or CLO, is a management org. Its purpose is to serve as a middleman for communications between international management and local orgs in one of Scientology’s continents, and despite the geography Canada counts as a continent. The staff are all Sea Org members, having signed the billion-year commitment to Scientology and a CLO is known as a “Sea Org Org.” The new CLO outside Copenhagen bears the laurel and star symbol of the Sea Org. There is no Scientology bookstore inside, there is no Testing Center or video booths, auditing rooms, course rooms, or any of the required parts of an org that serves public Scientologists or recruits. It is one of a series of Ideal CLOs that have been opened with great fanfare in recent years.


[CLO Europe in Glostrup Denmark]

A similar CLO was established in Chatswood, Australia, and two are planned for South Africa and Mexico City.

For decades Scientology operated a CLO for Canada inside the Toronto org at 696 Yonge Street. It’s a main arterial street connecting the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe. High traffic and visibility made it perfect for Scientology’s use. In 2013 the building was boarded up and plans were announced for an Ideal Org to be created there. Since then, it has deteriorated noticeably.


[Decaying 696 Yonge Street Org]

Scientology’s Ideal Org program is well known for the purchase of new buildings, but some old orgs were renovated instead. New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Hamburg and Berlin orgs were all renovated to the Ideal Org standard. That never happened in Toronto, and the building is now a decaying eyesore. Scientology maintains it will open an Ideal Org there eventually and several plans have been released.


[Designs for Toronto Ideal Org]

As for a CLO, Scientology had announced that it planned to build one in Mono, Ontario. The site is the former Hockley Highlands Inn, where it would share a base with the planned Advanced Org Saint Hill Canada, or AOSH CAN. (An Advanced Org, or AO, delivers high level auditing for Scientologists who have gone Clear and are advancing into the Operating Thetan or OT levels where they claim to be able to manipulate matter, energy, space and time.)


Mono has been rumored to be operating as the CLO for several years, in advance of an official opening. Renting space in Guelph indicates something has changed there, probably renovations or repairs. Scientology doesn’t rent Sea Org bases they intend to keep, they purchase them and the investment has been made in Mono.

But for some reason, Scientology is now renting temporary space in Guelph. In addition to the office building, there will be a “berthing” rented or purchased nearby. Sea Org members live in crowded conditions in bunk beds, sometimes housing a dozen in a space intended for one or two. A large house or small apartment building would be enough for a berthing for the 30 or 40 Sea Org that will work at the Guelph CLO.

Guelph residents can take some comfort that this is probably a temporary facility and it’s unlikely there will be recruiting as they continue to prepare for their permanent Ideal CLO in Mono. But Scientology sometimes moves at glacial speed and Guelph may have Scientology neighbors for years. Having a group of Sea Org workers that are paid less than subsistence wages and are not allowed to leave raises moral questions of slavery and human trafficking in addition to the potential impact on the community. Guelph Stands Against Scientology hopes to raise awareness of the church as the city takes its place among the few places home to a Sea Org Org.

— Rod Keller


We are the IAS

Thanks to our tipsters for sending in various images that Scientologists posted to social media from Friday night’s big IAS annual gala in East Grinstead, England. Our correspondents who were on the ground outside Saint Hill Manor and who have been watching this event for years tell us that from counting cars and the people in them, their samples were way down from previous years, and they estimated an attendance of only about 1,000 — a shockingly low number, if true. Scientology itself is claiming 5,000 under its giant tent which, given their past record for exaggeration, does point to a serious downturn this year. Still, the images look like a posh party was put on, if you enjoy sitting through a 2-hour David Miscavige speech.


And here are some shots from last night’s “Patron’s Ball,” where Scientology’s whales get rewarded for their largesse.



Chris Shelton and Jeffrey Augustine on petitioning the IRS

Chris and Jeff discuss the online petition Jeffrey started to compel the IRS commissioner to re-examine Scientology’s tax-exempt status.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,896 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 42 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,105 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,879 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,653 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,999 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,493 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,533 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,245 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 771 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,860 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,000 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,320 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,295 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 651 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,953 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,059 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,462 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,335 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 916 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,421 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,665 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,774 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 8, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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