The government of the province of Ontario in Canada on Thursday successfully sought a court order to freeze over US$8 million in funds made to the Freedom Convoy on the GiveSendGo platform.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered that all donations made through the “Freedom Convoy 2022” and “Adopt a trucker” campaigns on the Christian fundraising platform 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.”
Ivana Yelich, spokesperson for the premier, said the order “binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations.”
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.
The protest started in late January as a demonstration by truckers against the federal government’s requirement for cross-border truck drivers to be vaccinated, but has since evolved into a large movement joined by people from across Canada to oppose different COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
Vehicle convoys came to Ottawa on Jan. 29, and many have stayed in the city, with trucks and other vehicles parked by Parliament Hill. Since then, various protest convoys have been set up in different parts of Canada.
Protesters in Ottawa say they won’t leave until the government lifts COVID-19 mandates.
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.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.