“I’ve decided to step aside,” Marcus Ray told SASKTODAY.ca in a phone interview late Wednesday.
Ray said other freedom activists and groups have chosen to “crucify” him on social media and it’s hurting the movement.
“What they are doing is going against the team that has been working so hard,” he said. “They’ve chosen to single me out. And they’re lying. They’re lying. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t do anything about the lies.”
The groups have attacked Ray personally.
“I have not done everything right,” said Ray. “I have made numerous mistakes but you know life is just a series of experiences that ends up adding up to you.
“I’ve had my ups and downs, unfortunately, mostly downs,” he added. “And it’s taught me a lot in life. I’m 60 years old now and I’ve fought to get where I am.
“I don’t argue on social media. I don’t argue with anybody. I don’t fight with anybody. One thing I’ve learned in life is, if you’re going to to talk about me in a derogatory manner without knowing me or talking to me face-to-face, then anything you’re saying means nothing to me.”
Ray said that the accusations against him that he has been promoting violence aren’t true.
“As far as me planning violence, that's ridiculous,” said Ray.
Ray said his words at 100 Mile House that were video recorded and put onto social media were said at an emotional time.
Earlier this year Ray gave a speech at 100 Mile House in British Columbia in front of a log cabin that hinted there would be aggressive action against leaders in Canada. He made those comments when he was with a group of his ex-military and former police officer friends and there was a lot of emotion after one of their children had died, which they believe was caused by the vaccine.
“We had a very emotional moment,” said Ray. “I regret every word that came out of my mouth. But I can't take it back. I have to live with it.
“I have to step aside because they're making a mess out of it. They're the people that are attacking.”
Ray said all the freedom movement groups are fighting each other and he has faced intense criticism from freedom activists and groups.
Mark Friesen, Saskatchewan PPC candidate, took to social media condemning Ray telling him not to come to “his province,” on Sept. 11 and that he isn’t wanted here.
Freedom Fighters Canada announced Wednesday they won’t support Ray’s event on Sept. 11.
On their website, Police on Guard warned Canadians not to join Ray’s movement and removed him from their membership.
Ray said another one of his biggest critics was B.C. Freedom activist Kari Simpson, from the 300k movement.
Veterans 4 Freedom publicly stated that they don’t support Ray’s Sept. 11 event and attacked Ray personally. In a video, V4F said Ray’s event raised concerns about a false-flag event or other threats to public safety. V4F warned that the protesters could be lured into violence and that the government is looking for excuses to go after the freedom convoy.
Ray said he’s been accused of everything from wanting to kidnap and execute people to being an undercover RCMP officer working for the government.
He called it all “insanity” and that it doesn’t make any sense.
He said he and his girlfriend together have seven children and six grandchildren and he wouldn’t risk his family for anything.
“I don't know too many people that would risk their family like that. So I think it's an idiot thing to say. And I've never defended it because I can't defend idiocy.”
Daniel Bulford – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal RCMP sniper who resigned in protest of forced vaccinations and joined the Freedom Convoy – also warned Canadians not to join Ray.
Ray said even though Bulford spoke out against him, he still has the highest respect for Bulford.
“He's a great man and I have nothing but the highest respect for him,” said Ray. “He’s genuine. He’s a good man. As far as I’m concerned, what he did, walking away from his career, was one of the bravest things I’ve seen yet in the freedom movement.”
Ray, however, said he didn’t have any respect for POG or V4F.
“They scare people away from fighting for their own freedom.”
Ray also said he's been called a scammer but pointed out that he hasn't profited from the freedom movement and in fact, he had to sell his motorcycle to come up with gas money to travel across Canada. He added that his girlfriend has also put a lot of her own money into the movement.
"I just wanted to give people hope," he said. "I saw too many suicides."
Protests may still go ahead
Ray said that a group of five people from across Canada are taking over his leadership and he’s concerned the other freedom groups may want to make a “spectacle” of them.
“It would not surprise me a bit,” said Ray. “So I want them to be cautious. It was really heart-wrenching for them to try to keep me in [leadership] no matter what everyone is saying. They said that they would stand up to any of these idiots. That's their language. And I had to convince them in the end, that the freedom of the Canadian people and the safety of our children is more important than me.
“So let's focus like we always have. Let's focus on the goal and that's what's important.
“My reputation,” added Ray. “I don't care. You can't hurt me. My skin's like a rhinoceros.”
Ray said even though he’s stepping back he will continue to encourage the freedom movement and all he has ever wanted to do was give people hope.
“I'm going to encourage these people. I'm definitely going to help them in any way I can.
“The message is strong, clear, and peaceful,” added Ray. “And I think that once I remove myself out of the way, I think we'll get back to that. I really do. I think that's where we need to get to.”
Story updated to include V4F warns that the protesters could be lured into violence.
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