As Canadian authorities managed to curb the anti-COVID restrictions protests, the government is now moving to seize the bank accounts of those involved in the demonstrations.
Canada’s police go after bank accounts of protestors
The deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for federal policing, Michael Duheme, stated police need to “choke off” the finances of protestors in order to stop future protests.
This came after the unprecedented use of authoritative powers by Canadian leftist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who invoked the Emergencies Acts of Canada for the first time in the history of the country.
Consequently, these acts empowered police authorities with sweeping powers of snatching the finances of those involved in the protests.
According to the New York Times, the consequences of these powers have already started surfacing against protestors.
Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of the protests who was arrested last week, appeared in front of a judge on Tuesday. She claimed she is unable to pay the 5,000 Canadian dollars (CAD) bail, due to the blockade of her accounts.
Canada has begun to freeze the bank accounts of people who donated to the truckers. Imagine if Trump had done this to BLM protest donors. Yet Canada does it to people donating to truckers & most in media pretend it isn’t happening. pic.twitter.com/EUwG9vJtUW
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 17, 2022
By denying her bail, Justice Bourgeois said she had enough opportunity to distance herself from the protests when they were happening and stop others from participating, but she chose not to.
She is likely to serve a lengthy jail term if she is convicted. Lich was the primary organizer behind launching a crowdfunding project on GoFundme, which helped her raise over 10 million CAD.
However, the company shut down the campaign when only about one million CAD was transferred to her.
This encouraged conservative public figures of America to warn GoFundMe. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to investigate the crowdfunding organization for acting along political lines.
Police now a mouthpiece of liberal government in Canada
Since Trudeau invoked a rather liberal emergency act, the police have become his mouthpiece in curbing conservative protests. Thus, Canadian conservatives criticized the decision for giving authoritative powers to the police.
On Sunday, the Canadian police stated they froze as much as 219 “financial products,” multiple bank accounts having accumulative funds of over 3.8 million CAD belonging to protesters, and 253 Bitcoin addresses.
While the government has the authority to shorten or lengthen the timeframe for account blockades, they are supposed to be frozen for 30 days under the emergency act.
A national security law professor in Ottawa, Leah West, said this move could have lifelong consequences for protesters.
She stated even if the sanctions are lifted, commercial banks can decide not to give their services to protesters anymore to avoid legal complications. This can ultimately choke the financial structure of the affected families for their lifetimes.
Governments claiming the authority to *freeze people's bank accounts* because they want to crush a protest movement is tyrannical and obscene. If you would oppose China or Russia doing it, you must oppose Canada doing it.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 20, 2022
Even those protesters who escaped arrests are at risk of getting their finances blocked soon.
Ottawa police chief Steve Bell noted police could work “for months” to trace the protesters and implement financial sanctions on them.