Ontario Premier Doug Ford is using authoritarian tactics to smother the Freedom Convoy
Canadian Province of Ontario Declares State of Emergency in Response to Trucker Protests
By: Andrew Chen
February 11, 2022 (TORONTO): Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in the province over the ongoing trucker protests in Ottawa and the border blockage in Windsor, Ont.
He says he will enact orders making it “crystal clear” that it is illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people, and services along critical infrastructure. Ford says that includes protecting international border crossings, 400−series highways, airports, ports, bridges, and railways.
He says fines for non−compliance will be up to $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment.
The trucker protests started as a movement against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for cross-border truck drivers. The movement grew larger as various people from across the country joined to oppose COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. The first convoys converged in Ottawa on Jan. 29, with many protesters indicating they will stay until COVID-19 mandates are lifted.
Separately, convoys of trucks and other vehicles have set up blockages at major Canada-U.S. border crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor to Detroit, the Emerson border crossing in Manitoba, and the border crossing by Coutts in southern Alberta.
On Feb. 10, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered that all donations made through GiveSendGo platform to the “Freedom Convoy 2022” and “Adopt a trucker” campaigns be frozen until further notice, according to a statement from Premier Doug Ford’s office.
The statement said Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey brought the application for the restraint order, in which 490.8 of the Criminal Code was cited as grounds to freeze the funds. The section reads, in part: “The Attorney General may make an application … for a restraint order … in respect of any offence-related property.”
In a statement on Twitter, GiveSendGo wrote in an apparent response to the court order, “Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo.”
It adds, “All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.”
John Carpay, president of the legal group Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is providing legal help to the Freedom Convoy organizers, told The Epoch Times that their lawyers are looking into the issue.
More than US$8 million had been raised through GoFundMe before the platform said on Feb. 4 it would stop payments and forward the money to charities instead, before changing course on Feb. 5 and announcing it would automatically reimburse the funds to donors. Following the GoFundMe announcements, protest convoy organizers set up the “Freedom Convoy 2022” fundraiser on GiveSendGo.
Several U.S. Republicans subsequently raised concerns about GoFundMe’s removal of the funds for the trucker protest.
Source: The Epoch Times and The Canadian Press