By Western Standard
March 7, 2022
GoFundMe froze Freedom Convoy truckers’ money when they were told by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, a longtime Liberal, the protesters committed violence, damage and destruction, according to the crowdfunding site’s lawyer.
Blacklock’s Reporter says Watson was referring to neighbourhood allegations and not criminal charges, a spokesperson explained.
“We reached out and received credible consistent information from members of law enforcement and members of the Mayor’s Office,” Kim Wilford, general counsel for GoFundMe, testified at the Commons public safety committee.
“We heard that there were issues around violence, harassment, damage and at that point we reassessed the campaign.
“We all discussed the information being received stating there were acts of violence, damage, destruction and harassment.”
The claims were alarming enough that “we made the decision to remove this from our platform,” she said.
Watson at the time never publicly accused Freedom Convoy truckers of violence or destruction. Of 197 protesters subsequently charged by police, most were accused of mischief.
“Before Mayor Watson met with GoFundMe on February 3 fights had already broken out, residents were being harassed and masks were being ripped off citizens,” said Patrick Champagne, press secretary to the mayor.
However, police records show of two men charged with the most serious offences, carrying a concealed weapon and uttering threats, neither were convoy members. Police at the time instead charged eight truck drivers with offences like horn honking, transporting fuel cans, ignoring traffic signals and other traffic-related offences.
“I was here,” Conservative MP Doug Shipley (Barrie-Springwater, Ont.) told the public safety committee.
In all security briefings given to MPs none mentioned that truckers were violent or destructive, he said.
“We were all given briefings as this was going on about attending work, walking to work for employees and for us, and nowhere ever did I see in any of the reports shared that there was violence, threatening behaviour and damage and destruction,” said Shipley.
“I did speak to the mayor myself,” replied Wilford.
“We did hear reports of harassment, violence, damage occurring. Based on this credible information we made informed decisions that this campaign no longer complied with our terms of service and we removed it from the platform.”
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