For the first time, the Canadian government invoked the Emergencies Act in a bid to restrict the flow of funds to truck drivers protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions. Under the act, the government can freeze bank accounts without going through the court system and take a number of other actions to force an end to the demonstrations. Many protesters across countries these days are now relying on cryptocurrencies as they are anonymous and difficult to track.
“We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financial rules.”
“We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financial rules, so they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment providers they use,” Canada Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said during a press conference today. Freeland, who also serves as finance minister, added these actions would also cover cryptocurrencies. The move to freeze funds comes after weeks of protest by a group of truck drivers dubbed the “Freedom Convoy,” which has taken to blocking roadways, flouting mask rules, and honking their horns to voice their displeasure with vaccination mandates.
The group’s GoFundMe account was shut down.
The group’s GoFundMe account was shut down on February 4 after pressure from the Canadian government, at which point it turned to alternative funding methods, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Though Emergencies Act measures take immediate effect, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has one week to receive support from both of Canada’s legislative bodies: the House of Commons and Senate.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, the authoritarian-leaning leader who pushed through a law making Bitcoin legal tender last year, wrote, “Are these the people who like to give lessons to other countries about democracy and freedom?”