Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis says government and industry should be independent of each other, after GoFundMe cancelled a fundraiser for the trucker protest in Ottawa that had garnered almost $10 million in donations.
“I certainly hope that GoFundMe’s decision to defund the Trucker Convoy was not politically influenced. Governments must be independent of industry, and vice versa,” Lewis said in a Twitter post on Feb. 5.
On Feb. 4, the crowdfunding platform said it would block the release of the money raised for the “Freedom Convoy” protest and would instead give the money to “established charities verified by GoFundMe.” The following day it said would automatically refund all the donations.
GoFundMe said its reason for cancelling the fundraiser was that it had evidence from law enforcement of “violence and other unlawful activity,” without giving details of the allegations.
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms which represents the convoy organizers, told The Epoch Times in a previous interview that the claim of violent or unlawful activity on the part of the protesters is unfounded.
“I would like to see what evidence there is,” Carpay said. “That’s political spin.”
In a Feb. 4 Twitter post, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson thanked GoFundMe for “listening to the plea made by the City and the Ottawa Police to no longer provide funds to the convoy organizers.”
“I’m hopeful that limiting their access to funding and resources will restrict their ability to remain in Ottawa,” Watson said.
On Feb. 3, the House of Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security voted unanimously to have GoFundMe testify about the source of the funds raised and what safeguards were put in place to ensure the money wouldn’t be used to “promote extremism.”
GoFundMe’s initial announcement that it was closing the convoy fundraiser and giving the money to charity raised concerns among several U.S. Republicans.
On Feb. 5, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that it was “a fraud” for the platform to “commandeer” the money and give it to causes of their own choosing. DeSantis said he would work with the state’s attorney general Ashley Moody “to investigate these deceptive practices.”
The same day, GoFundMe announced that it would refund the donations.
Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette M. Nuñez also voiced support for the Freedom Convoy and denounced the cancelling of the fundraising account.
“The same @gofundme that supported Antifa, BLM, and CHAZ/CHOP just shut down fundraisers for the Canadian truckers protesting against vaccine mandate,” Nuñez said on Twitter. “Florida stands with the Freedom Convoy.”
The same @gofundme that supported Antifa, BLM, and CHAZ/CHOP just shut down fundraisers for the Canadian truckers protesting against vaccine mandate.
Florida stands with the Freedom Convoy.
— Jeanette M. Nuñez (@JeanetteNunezFL) February 5, 2022
The attorney general of Louisiana Jeff Landry, and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, said they would look into whether GoFundMe had violated their states’ laws.
After GoFundMe cancelled the fundraiser, the Freedom Convoy organizers set up an account with GiveSendGo. As of Feb. 6, it had raised over US$3 million.
The Epoch Times reached out to GoFundMe for comment but did not receive a response.