Last Updated on February 8, 2022
On Tuesday, Justin Trudeau’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino stated that the Canadian government intends to target any American who may have donated to the Freedom Convoy protest effort. The grassroots movement raised $10 million dollars until GoFundMe took down the page and announced their plans to distribute the funds to left-wing causes. GoFundMe later backed down and refunded the donations after intense backlash.
“There have been numerous instances of intimidation, harassment, violence and hate,” Mendicino said without evidence. “Many residents have been effectively held hostage in their own city, blockaded by an angry, loud, intolerant and violent crowd,” he continued. Mendicino added that the convoy has “crossed the line of acceptable conduct,” and praised the Ottawa Police Service.
Following his baseless claims regarding the convoy’s conduct — which has been overwhelmingly peaceful — Minister Mendicino shifted his focus to donors who have supported the convoy, saying that Canada has a “robust” intelligence community that will flag all concerns of national security, as well as a separate branch within the RCMP with the same function. “That’s why I’m certainly confident that wherever there’s foul play of the sort, that we’ll be in a position to act appropriately,” said Mendicino. “If, for example, someone was contributing with the intent of either causing public harm or trying to undermine public safety, that would be something that would be against the law, and there would be appropriate sanctions for that, if proven in the court of law,” he said.
MPs on the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee have called GoFundMe to testify about the funds raised. “Important questions remain about how such a huge sum of money could be raised by anonymous donors and what their motivations were. People are rightly worried about American interference and what sort of standard is applied when donations are accepted,” reads a statement from the NDP’s public safety critic Alistair MacGregor.
It is unclear how the Canadian government would go about such investigations or whether the Biden Administration would assist them.
Ottawa’s Freedom Convoy protests entered their 12th day on Monday. Several Canadian officials — including Justin Trudeau — have referred to the overwhelmingly peaceful protests as an “occupation” while baselessly tying them to “hate” groups. Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has vowed to crush the protests with a “surge and contain” strategy while police have been confiscating food and other supplies intended for the protesters.