March 8, 2022
Hundreds of Freedom Convoy protesters who had their assets frozen under the Emergencies Act for donating to the movement’s fundraiser will have their bank accounts marked for life, a Commons finance committee has heard.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) told parliamentarians at the committee that alongside the 257 names provided to them by the RCMP, banks relied on their own resources to flag additional individuals for freezing.
“We primarily relied upon the names provided by the RCMP but there were obligations under the order separate that required banks to make their own determinations. We did not rely on external information,” said general counsel for the CBA Angelina Mason.
When asked by Conservative MP Adam Chambers what would happen to their bank accounts once they were unfrozen, Mason said that a permanent fingerprint would remain indicating that a freeze took place.
“Once an account is frozen and eventually unfrozen are there any permanent markers or indications on a client’s file that would indicate they have had their accounts previously frozen?” asked Chambers.
“There would be something in the file indicating a freeze had taken place,” said Mason.
Additionally, Mason said that no consideration was ever given to joint accounts including those that had to make child support or rental payments.
“If in fact they illegitimately froze a bank account they would face zero legal consequences. It is clear from the legislation,” said Conservative MP Philip Lawrence.
The freezings began on Feb. 14 after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to quash protests calling for an end to COVID-19 measures in Ottawa and beyond.
Under the order, financial institutions were required to flag and temporarily seize the assets of those believed to be involved in the Ottawa freedom convoy. Estimates show that around $7.8 million in funds were frozen, affecting 206 individual accounts.
The legislation also extended to fundraising platforms and 170 cryptocurrency wallets.
Despite claims by the Trudeau government that foreign extremists were funding the convoy, officials with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada said that donations came from fed-up people, not terrorists.
GoFundMe and GiveSendGo executives also confirmed last week that the overwhelming majority of donations came from Canadians inside Canada.