Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has announced he will repeal emergency powers used to freeze $8 million from 210 bank accounts connected to Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ protestors, according to CBC news.
On Feb. 24, Trudeau stated in a televised press conference that “we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency” and said that his special powers granted by the Emergencies Act would end. He added: “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.”
Today, after careful consideration, we’re ending the use of the Emergencies Act. Existing laws and local law enforcement authorities can keep people safe, and we’ll continue being there to support provincial and local authorities to protect Canadians.
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 24, 2022
Freedom Convoy protesters had blockaded streets and demonstrated to end Covid mandates and restrictions for weeks in front of Ontario’s Parliament Hill since last month. The action to freeze accounts was taken under the Emergencies Act. On Feb. 23, the Trudeau government began unfreezing bank accounts.
Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance, told a committee of MPs: “The vast majority of accounts are in the process of being unfrozen, subject to any new information that the RCMP may have,” she said, referring to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
After being blocked from traditional crowdfunding platforms GoFundMe and GiveSendGo by the Canadian government, protesters turned to fundraising with Bitcoin on Tallycoin and raised 21 BTC valued at about $902,000 at the time the event ended on Feb. 15. The organizers of the event then moved the BTC to a new wallet with separate key holders.
I have been on the phone with Canadians all day.
This is not a drill.
Bitcoin. Get on the mission.
– Alex Swan.com ∞/21m (@alexstanczyk) February 22, 2022
The decision to freeze bank accounts outraged some major crypto industry players who spoke out against the action. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell responded to the bank freezes by tweeting on Feb. 18: “Due process is for plebs. Might makes right in Canada.”
Powell later told Forbes on Feb. 23
“People…ought to think about whether the government is always going to have their best interests in mind, or that it would never go to this extreme of confiscating bank accounts without due process.”
Concerning to see stuff like this happening in any country, especially such an economically free place like Canada.
– Brian Armstrong – barmstrong.eth (@brian_armstrong) February 15, 2022
U.S. Senator Republican Rand Paul also voiced concerns about the encroachment of government authorities, and sounded the alarm about the possibility of a similar situation happening in the United States. He appeared on the Based Politics podcast with host Hannah Cox on Feb. 20 and sai:
“We have the same sort of statutes here, and I have long-time been an opponent of these. We actually have in the United States an Emergency Act that allows the president to shut down the internet.”