It has emerged that the Canadian government froze about 210 bank accounts holding almost $7.8 million to put financial pressure on the ‘convoy occupation’ participants.
The unfreezing only affects protesters who have left the blockade area in downtown Ottawa.
The government’s action was confirmed by Canada’s assistant minister of finance, Isabelle Jacques, who appeared before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, February 23, 2022.
“Information was shared by the RCMP with financial institutions, and we were informed yesterday by financial institutions that they were unfreezing the accounts. The vast majority of accounts are in the process of being unfrozen, subject to any new information that the RCMP may have,” said Jacques.
The official clarified that it should not be misunderstood that the affected individuals could not access their money since they may hold other accounts.
The report comes after some MPs stated that their constituents complained that their accounts were frozen after offering support to the protestors.
However, according to Jacques, the Emergency Act was initiated on February 15 to press the protestors to go home. In this line, she clarified that the measure did not affect individuals who supported the demonstrator before February 15.
She acknowledged that the government has no right to freeze bank accounts, but the Emergency Act was the last resort move in cases of suspected financial crimes.
Emergency Act invoked for the first time
Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act for the first time since it was introduced in 1988. The government moved to contain the protests by acting against crowd-funding sites and payment providers used to support the organizers. The order also affected crypto transactions.
With scrutiny on cash donations, the truckers began receiving tips in cryptocurrencies. In this line, a total of 34 cryptocurrency wallets allegedly linked to the Freedom Convoy 2022 campaign were reportedly blocked by Canadian police.
However, despite government interventions, blockchain analysis indicated that the Bitcoin donated to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ was on the move, going against the state order to freeze the accounts.