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Cabbie allegedly threatens Uber driver: 'You're dead meat'

Technically Incorrect: A YouTube video currently roaming the Internet at speed appears to show an Ottawa cab driver verbally assaulting an Uber driver outside a fancy hotel. It isn't pretty.

In July, cabbies took to the street in Toronto to block traffic, in protest over Uber's presence in Canadian cities. Giordano Ciampini/Demotix/Corbis

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Worldwide relations between taxi drivers and their Uber counterparts have enjoyed some rocky times.

In France, for example, even rocker Courtney Love was stunned by the ferocity of taxi drivers' protests.

The latest unpleasant altercation comes from Canada. A YouTube video already making its self-driven way around the Web appears to show an Ottawa cab driver in a denim jacket berating an Uber counterpart on Saturday night.

It's unclear who posted the video. However, the poster included the cab driver's company and number.

As filmed from inside the Uber car, the taxi driver exhorts the Uber driver: "If I see you again, you're dead meat. Go follow the law and get a real job. I'm not joking with you."

He accuses the Uber driver of having no insurance. After the Uber driver says he'll call the police, the alleged cabbie threatens to call them himself. Which seems a curious thing to do when you've just uttered the phrases "You're dead meat" and "I'm not joking with you," in quick succession and you've been filmed.

I should warn you that the phrase "Shut the f*** up" was uttered quite a bit in this exchange.

Things become a touch unhinged when the cab driver then opens the passenger door of the Uber and suggests: "Take a real taxi you, f---ing cheapskate."

It's true that there might be some cost advantages with Uber. Unless, of course, it's pouring with rain and a price surge occurs.

At the time of writing, it appears that no one has yet made an official complaint about the incident. However, an Ottawa Police Department spokesman told me Monday that the cabbie "has not been identified and our investigation in ongoing."

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Boudreau took to Twitter to announce: "The @OttawaPolice opened up a file on this incident when it was brought to our attention."

For its part, Uber Canada spokesman Xavier Van Chau told me: "Taxi and ridesharing can and should coexist in Ottawa to better serve local riders and drivers as is the case in hundreds of cities around the world. It's unfortunate to see ongoing intimidation tactics by taxi in Ottawa and we remain committed to supporting our driver partners and passengers."

CBC News reports that it all happened outside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a very fancy hotel. (I can confirm this. I was once best man at a wedding there.) The hotel told CBC it had given the police some surveillance camera footage to help with its inquiry.

Ottawa has seen quite some conflict between Uber and taxi services. Uber drivers apparently function without required licenses. CBC says that more than $20,000 in fines have been levied against Uber drivers.

While Uber in Canada has said that it favors dialogue about the matter, some cab drivers have been calling Ubers and posting video of their experiences as passengers, as if they were pursuing a vigilante approach.

Jim Watson, Ottawa's mayor, described some of these taxi drivers as "thugs." Some of the cab drivers retorted that Watson was "a puppet of Uber."

Watson's response to this latest video is to say on Twitter: "We have fast tracked taxi bylaw review. These cabbies are hurting the reputation of all by their bullying."

Oddly enough, similar accusations of bullying and intimidation have been leveled at Uber in the past.