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How the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Canada’ causes true harm to her subjects

An American criminology professor describes Romana Didulo as a 'mixture of QAnon conspiracy theories, pseudo-legal sovereign-citizen beliefs and new age spirituality'

EDITOR'S NOTE: An influential QAnon figure — Romana Didulo, a.k.a. "Queen of Canada" — has been in Sault Ste. Marie for more than a week. This weekend, she met with various followers at a fenced-in property on Landslide Road. Christine Sarteschi, a professor of social work and criminology at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, has been closely monitoring Didulo's movements for several years. Below is a June 2022 article she wrote for The Conversation, an independent and non-profit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. It is being republished here under a Creative Commons license.

The sovereign citizen movement is expanding rapidly, and can now be found in at least 26 countries

The movement is anti-government in nature, and its followers believe they’re immune from the laws of their government. They also have a proclivity for violence, as demonstrated by a number of high-profile incidents, including an armed standoff in Massachusetts in July 2021.

As a behavioural scientist and researcher of this movement, I have been monitoring Romana Didulo, a conspiracy influencer based in British Columbia, who has proclaimed herself “Queen of Canada,” “commander-in-chief,” “Head of State and Government” and “president and national Indigenous chief of the Kingdom of Canada.”

Recently, Didulo has promoted herself to “Queen of the World.”

She tours Canada in a recreational vehicle, accompanied by an entourage. They hold “meet and greets” where Didulo speaks formally. These are recorded and posted on multiple channels on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app.

Didulo has nearly 66,000 followers, known as “I AMs.” They are currently raising funds to purchase a new $65,000 RV for their queen.

Didulo is a sovereign citizen of a different variety. She espouses a dogma comprised of a mixture of QAnon conspiracy theories, pseudo-legal sovereign-citizen beliefs and new age spirituality.

She tells her followers of her supernatural abilities. She claims she can become invisible by “cloaking” herself. This power is not unusual for beings of her race, she says. She is not of this Earth. She is a member of a highly advanced, alien race — an Arcturian, an alien being with special celestial powers.

They possess “med beds.” Med beds, according to Didulo, are advanced healing chambers that cure medical ailments, regrow limbs and organs, reverse aging and can even make one immortal.

She promises full access to these beds, complete with their miracles, to all of her followers. Telegram posts suggest that many of her followers are fervently awaiting her promised technology, possibly delaying legitimate medical care.

Didulo’s speeches are filled with fantastical stories, including how she became the reigning monarch of Canada. She claims the Chinese military had clandestinely invaded secret, underground tunnels that criss-cross Canada. With great difficulty, she commanded her forces and cleared the tunnels of the Chinese communists.

She also claims to have access to the billions of dollars stored at the Vatican. She claims to be a “shape shifter” who can assume any physical appearance she chooses. The “U.S. commander-in-chief” has assigned Didulo to end the war in Ukraine by acting as the “mediator” between United States and Russia. She claimed recently that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close friend, had personally gifted her an autographed watch.

It’s tempting to take Didulo lightly, but she is not an innocuous figure. She has strong influence over her many followers. Most recently, she has “decreed” that in Canada, all utilities are free, taxes are optional and all debts have been wiped clean. In response, some followers have stopped paying their bills, have had their utilities shut off and lost their homes.

Two years ago, she instructed her followers to send “cease-and-desist” letters to school and health-care officials involved in COVID-19 testing, vaccines or masking efforts.

Didulo believes that anyone who received the COVID-19 vaccine has had their DNA restructured and is slowly, but inevitably, turning into a controllable robot. She does, however, offer a cure that requires listening daily to sounds at certain designated frequencies.

In 2021, she was detained for allegedly encouraging her followers to “shoot to kill” anyone involved in vaccinating young people against COVID-19, adding that the “traders” — or traitors — will face a military tribunal punishable by “fire squad or hanging.”

One of her followers was subsequently arrested after posting online threats aimed at his daughter’s school.

Didulo seems to have a vindictive streak. She brags about being a dictator. Anyone complaining that her decrees are ineffective will be banned from her Telegram pages. Ex-followers report that she has threatened to shoot them or “hang them …from military helicopters” and hover them “above a volcano or commercial crocodile farms…”

She commonly refers to herself in the third person, often proclaiming her importance. She says she renamed the city of Victoria “Queen Romana City” and Prince Edward Island to “Province of Queen Romana.”

Didulo is deceiving her followers. Her decrees are hurting them. Nothing she suggests is legal or true. Her followers are hurt, but they are not blameless. They are drawn to her because of greed. They want something for nothing. She promises them free money, no bills, no taxes and all they have to do is believe.

In reality, they are trying to steal gas, electricity, water and to refrain from repaying the money they’ve borrowed from banks. As they see it, they are entitled to free money and utilities. They want gas without paying for it. They want to stop paying the mortgage company, but still hold onto their homes.

For people motivated by greed, her philosophies and teachings offer a justification for thievery. All they have to do is believe that the real leader of Canada and the world is a shape-shifting alien, a starseed from Arcturia.

Like most followers of conspiracy theorists espousing outlandish falsehoods, Didulo’s disciples will learn the hard way that they’ve been duped. In the meantime, they can cause serious real-world problems, and even terror, for their fellow law-abiding citizens. That’s why Didulo’s rise must not be ignored.

Her tactics and edicts are nonsense with no basis in reality. They do not work and will never work. They are not legal, and there are no loopholes that excuse people from being good, responsible citizens.

Christine Sarteschi, Associate Professor of Social Work & Criminology, Chatham University.

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